Release Notes for Equella 6.5-Stable

6.5-Stable is the initial Open Source version of Equella, coupled with features and bug fixes that have been worked on over the past year. Open Source changes have focused on scrubbing the code to align with open source licensing. The build process was also overhauled to use sbt (Simple Build Tool) and not require an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to build / develop code.

This document is meant to detail the functional changes exposed to the user experience. Backend changes and testing notes are in the release-testing-guides for this release - see 6.5-Stable Release Testing Guide.

Office Integration Download Removed

Tracked in issues #98 and #102. Equella has the ability integrate with Microsoft Office products to enable a smoother editing experience. Due to licensing issues, and the inherit issues of using an older interop DLL on more modern installs of Office, the download of the Office Integration msi package has been removed from the Equella Web UI, and the DLL in question have been removed from the git repo. The functionality is still useful, so conceptual documentation has been provided for users to build and access this functionality as needed.

Centralized Documentation

Tracked partially in issues #25, #101, and #104. All Equella documentation has been moved into the repo. This includes the integration / scripting pack historically available from the Server Admin Download page

HTML Editor Plugins

Tracked in issue #100. These plugins have been moved into the under example scripts.

Start Scripts are by Default, Executable

Tracked in issue #96. The Linux scripts to run Equella now automatically are set to be executable.

Backend changes to build process, dependencies, and commercial terminology

In order to create a more streamlined application that is not tied to an IDE, the Equella build process has been changed from ANT to SBT. In order to align with the open source model, several dependencies were removed or changed, as well as hard-coded words denoting the last commercial owner and last commercial website of Equella were removed. Any functional differences have been called out in this document.

Check for new EQUELLA versions

The “Health” tab of the server administrator pages contains a check for newer versions of EQUELLA.

Conversion Service Library Changed

Tracked in issue #56. The conversion service for Office MIME types has been switched to a different solution (Tika) to align with overall licensing goals. The conversion results are not as clean as they used to be, so enhancements are welcome!

The ‘do not reply’ Email Address of the Equella Mailer can now be Configured

Tracked in issue #72. System admins can now configure the ‘do not reply’ email address via the Server admin pages

Hosted Site for Upgrade Binaries Removed

Tracked in issue #74. Historically, the Equella Manager had the option to pull Equella upgrade binaries from a centralized server. This functionality has been removed. Upgrade binaries will be tracked in the github Equella releases tab.

Default LTI External Tool Contact for Equella is now Configurable

Tracked in issue #71. When an LTI attachment is added to an item, at times it’s considered ‘default’, and historically, a default consumer contact email of was used. Now, you can configure this behavior by adding into

Kaltura is Optional

Tracked in issue #55 / #107. The Kaltura Java client API is not Apache-license-friendly. It was moved into it’s own repo, but can be integrated back into Equella per client by building the Equella and Kaltura source repos together into an upgrade binary. Additional effort is noted to turn this into truly a ‘drop in’ plugin.

Oracle DB Driver is Optional

Due to licensing issues, the Oracle DB Driver cannot be included in the standard build process. Use of an Oracle DB can be achieved by editing the build configuration, and then generating a new set of Equella binaries.

Equella No Longer Supports eCommerce

eCommerce has been removed from Equella.

Custom Salt for Passwords

Equella now supports passing in the equella.salt property to salt passwords with. The default is the original, hardcoded salt.

No License Needed

Equella no longer requires an ‘Equella License Key’ to run.


  • Canvas integration now uses Canvas content item placements which allows Equella links to open in a new window
  • Users can edit the names of selected resources that will be added to the LMS in a selection session
  • A new checkbox Select all attachments has been added to the Add to External System page.
  • Links to content on the Find Uses page will open in a new window.
  • Within the Course Builder in Brightspace, the user must select a module to edit before launching the integration session in Equella. Equella did not automatically select the module selected in Brightspace in the Equella selection session.
  • A new permission is required to start an integration selection session in Equella (still buggy). This permission will be granted to logged in users by default.

Server Admin / Backend

  • Admins can alter the number of attempts the URL checker task will make before it marks a URL as disabled. urlChecker.triesUntilDisabled = 1000 in
  • Fix concurrency issue when importing an institution (primarily an issue with SQL Server). This has been in release notes as fixed before, but it was still an issue.
  • The TLE_ADMINISTRATOR account is now not required to accept DRM agreements.


  • Users were able to access inactive copyright attachments via using a direct URL (e.g. a link was obtained when the attachment was active -> that link still works for the user when the attachment becomes inactive)
  • The item moderation REST API would return a random workflow node status each time it was invoked.
  • On the DRM acceptance page, links to item history and item versions no longer show.


  • Change the My tasks UI to allow for selection of multiple items, then allow moderators with the correct (new) permissions the ability to approve and reject tasks in bulk, and sequentially process tasks without returning to the results page between each task.
  • Change the Manage tasks UI to allow for selection of multiple items, then allow admin users with the correct (new) permissions the ability to approve and reject tasks in bulk, and assign multiple tasks to a specific moderator.
  • Enhance the filtering and sorting capacity, and also make it easier for users to find the tasks they need to process by showing tasks assigned to them at the top, followed by tasks they could process then those assigned to others, also sorted in priority order.
  • Update both Manage tasks and My tasks pages to allow for complex filtering, including by assignment, collection, owner, date modified and assignee.
  • New bulk actions that can be performed against selected items including removing from workflow, moving from one workflow task to another and selecting live items not currenty in workflow and adding to a specific workflow task within the associated workflow.
  • Add ability to configure workflow notifications per task, and allow users to opt in or out of workflow notificaitons.
  • Add the ability to attach workflow related files during moderation approve/reject or comment, and when an item is first saved to moderation. The files can be viewed in the new comments section on the approve/reject task page.
  • Updated the Moderation page so that the Approve/Reject buttons appear in a more logical position, and the workflow comments can be easily viewed in a scrollable panel.
  • A new workflow task type, ‘script task’, allows users to write a script which will automatically run as part of the workflow and proceed to the next workflow step.


  • Split notifications into separate emails each with their own specific email subject.
  • Convert the email format to simple HTML to allow links and better layout.


  • Contributors now have the ability to drag an drop attachments directly into the wizard without opening the multi-step dialog.

Security fixes

  • Deserialization of untrusted Java Objects - EQUELLA is vulnerable to a Java Deserialization attack allowing an authenticated remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the affected servers with the privileges of the Tomcat servlet container.
  • Server-side Request Forgery - Server side request forgery occurs when an attacker can cause the vulnerable server to make requests to internal and/or external network addresses of their choosing. This can potentially allow an attacker to bypass firewalls, scan internal infrastructure and proxy attacks on internal services or other organisations. This issue allows an attacker to make requests to arbitrary internally accessible resources, fingerprint the internal network and access metadata and other internal resources which should not be exposed to the internet. In this circumstance, an attacker can also exploit this issue to target other application users with cross-site scripting.
  • Open Redirect - An open redirect occurs when an application uses user-supplied input as the URL destination of a page redirection. If the supplied input is not adequately validated, an attacker can create links to an external URL that appear to come from trusted domain.
  • XML DTD Entity Injection - The web application parses externally supplied malicious XML Document Type Definitions (DTD), which can be used to read the contents of local files, determine the existence of files and folders on the system, and cause denial of service.
  • Missing HTTP Strict Transport Security - Strict-Transport-Security is not used; this may allow an attacker to eavesdrop on or modify communication in transit.