Showing its support for open source development in higher education, Sun Microsystems said it would redouble its support of the uPortal code.
uPortal is a set of Java classes and XML/XSL documents that university and college IT departments use to produce a campus portal.
The collaborative development project is shared between several Java in Administration Special Interest Group (JA-SIG) member institutions and a number of universities, including Princeton, Pepperdine, Yale, and Columbia.
The software will run on any platform that has a Java 2 implementation available for it. JA-SIG members are running uPortal for development and deployment purposes on a number of different platforms, including Microsoft Windows, Solaris, Linux on three different architectures and MacOS X.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based networking giant, which has long supported open source causes, said the announcement makes the company the first platform vendor to evaluate the code. The idea is to standardize practices and design patterns of Java development.
"The uPortal has seen great adoption among educational institutions and government agencies world wide and Sun is focused on helping these institutions take advantage of this technology to develop superior open source portal solutions and Web based services to their students that meet their unique needs. The uPortal is an industrial-strength framework and Sun has proven it can handle the requirements, providing greater scalability than ever before," said Sun vice president of global education and research Kim Jones. "We view the uPortal as a critical technology advancement for the higher education community and will continue to support the efforts of open source community, such as the JA-SIG, which are committed to advancing open computing in the education market."
The company said by streamlining the J2EE-based uPortal framework for the Sun hardware platform, Sun, with its open Sun ONE architecture (including the Sun ONE Web Server, Sun ONE Directory Server, the Sun ONE Application server and the Sun ONE Calendar Server), gives schools a solid platform that can unify the digital campus.
In addition, Sun and the JA-SIG are working together to align future versions of uPortal with JSR-168, Java Specification Request 168- the industries first portal API standard. By aligning the two, Sun said uPortal will be able to support the emerging standard for portlet-based integration of content and application into portals enabling compatibility between the Sun ONE Portal Server and the uPortal offering.
"The use of the open source model and the sharing of resources and components is obviously very beneficial to academic institutions, particularly in terms of cost," said Carl Jacobson, Director Management Information Services, University of Delaware. "As a member of JA-SIG and an active contributor to the uPortal framework, University of Delaware is dedicated to leveraging open source methods and standards-based technologies to transform the way our institution works. The Sun ONE architecture, in conjunction with the uPortal framework, has played an important role in helping us achieve our portal strategy."