Hi.. Thanks for the insight. Yes, you're right this is our first production server on Ubuntu, but our experience so far has been very positive.
This is not our first try with open source software though, we already maintain a rich portfolio of tools (blogs, wikis, discussion boards, and are looking into Moodle as an alternative to Blackboard), but all on a windows platform. You're of course right about the convenience of writing code to fit one's requirements and we've often done that in the past. In this particular case though I was concerned because it wasn't planned for in our budget, as the request came in mid-semester.
Thanks again for your input, this list has been a really great help!