As Dave has just posted, next week we’re relaunching Elgg.net as a fully-fledged community site for education. As part of this, there will be a number of sponsorship opportunities; more importantly, it represents a renewed focus on the site itself, and a commitment to maintain it as a flagship service.
So what else is going on?
In the next couple of weeks we’re going to launch Elgg Spaces, a turnkey Elgg installation site. Anyone will be able to come along and sign up for their own private Elgg installation, which can either be a walled garden or public to the outside world. You’ll be able to provide a default theme for the site, skin it how you like, and customise the system without any programming or pesky server configurations; hosted sites will always be upgraded to the latest version of Elgg and it’ll be directly supported by the folks who wrote it to begin with. You’ll be able to attach your own domain – e.g. yourinstitution.org or elgg.somecollege.edu – or use one of our subdomains. Should you then want to graduate to an installation hosted on your own servers, we’ll help you move everything across.
Of course, the software itself will always be free and open source. There are major developments there too; Bill Fitzgerald wrote yesterday about the upcoming OpenID integration being headed by Kevin Jardine. OpenID is a lightweight, standards-based single sign on solution; it’s already present in MediaWiki, Livejournal, Drupal and a growing collection of other software. You’ll be able to use Elgg as your central identity, or log into an Elgg system using an OpenID based on another server. Once it’s integrated into Elgg we’ll roll it into an open source release, enable it on Elgg.net and allow it as an option on Elgg Spaces, as well as make it available in some very important forthcoming projects.
As I hinted at above, there are other, very major Elgg-based projects in the works, which I’ll be talking about as soon as I can. Watch this space …
I’m really excited about where things are going, and what’s really cool is that we’re able to do it without losing sight of the ideals that got us here to begin with. The things that originally motivated us to work long hours for no pay are still motivating us now that this is our full-time job. From Dave and my original collaboration to a much larger group of people all feeding ideas and creating new implementations and ideas, this has been – and continues to be – one hell of an adventure. Thanks to everyone for sticking with us.