If you haven’t already had the chance, Unicon has made it even easier to have a look at Sakai 2.1 (just released on December 1, 2005) through their new “Test Drive” sites. The sites, available for free for 90 days, give you access to a demo course and worksite and allow you to change roles so as to see the system from various user perspectives. The background here is that Unicon once developed a CMS on top of uPortal called Academus, but appear to now be piggybacking on offering Sakai support and other uPortal support based on their years’ of experience.
This will not change anyones’ mind who had already decided they were not down with the ‘course managed’ approach, but for those looking for an alternative to their current CMS, this provides one more method to kick the tires, and just in time for Christmas! – SWL