Linux version of Logos Bible Software

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Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 5:46 AM

I'm fairly confident that if one were to run the numbers, it would be cheaper for Logos to buy a Windows or Mac license for each person that wanted to run Logos on an O.S. for which they had not paid than to undertake the effort to port the product to Linux.

There are enough other posts from people frustrated by Logos' apparent dilution of effort on what they currently do support (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Biblia, Vyrso, Faithlife, Proclaim, ...) that the forums might explode if Logos announced an effort to port the product to Linux. :) I'm not taking sides on the validity of those frustrations, just pointing out that they've been voiced with frequency.

Donnie

 

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Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 7:04 AM

StephenH:
What I have been asking is why Logos can't seem to find a way to move to something that will work cross-platform.

I think others have suggested, and I concur based on my experience (almost 40 years software development), that to write something that runs on all these platforms would not run well -- it would be a total compromise least-common-denominator solution.  The reason is, the hardware architectures are dramatically different, the development tools used are different, the display properties are different, the connectivity is different. Logos would have to develop all of this themselves.  They would build layers of abstraction that permitted Bible software to be written once, but very sophisticated platform specific software within the abstraction layers would interpret, decode, and transform the Bible software instructions to platform-specific instructions. This would require much more layers for software logic to run through, and more memory requirements with a significant loss of performance. I would be willing to bet the resultant product would not be one that anyone liked. 

No one has successfully done this on a software product at least as sophisticated as Logos, unless they are large enough to write independent, unique applications specifically targeted to each platform.  That is what Logos has done so far with Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows; they made that decision based on market share. Hence quality, functionality, and performance drives us away from a least common denominator solution across all platforms, and right back into the lap of business-market share driven decisions to invest in a given platform, which eliminates Linux from consideration.  This is likely the thought process Logos investigated in much more detail than I.

Posts 8
Michel Knisely | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 9:21 AM

There are many applications that have moved beyond being OS specific.  I'd first point to OpenOffice/LibreOffice.  Blender, the 3D computer graphics software is another great example of software that is able to span Windows, Mac and Linux.  GIMP and InkScape are two graphical apps that fit your request quite well too.  Chrome/Chromium and Firefox also would fit in that category.  You may be saying, "But those are all free and open source software examples... show us a commercial only product."  Unfortunately, this is somewhat more difficult, since they, like Logos, may be developing multiple code bases for each of their OS specific releases.  Autodesk Maya is a good example of commercial only software that seem to have one common code base.

Hopefully, alabama24, this will show that it can be done... and done well.

I'll also chime in saying that I'm not concerned about paying for software.  I'm happy to pay for software.  Hey, I even donate to the "free" software projects that I like because I want them to keep doing what they're doing.  Hey, if a Logos version were released for Linux, I'd even expect to need to purchase that version.  

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 10:26 AM

Michel Knisely:
There are many applications that have moved beyond being OS specific.  I'd first point to OpenOffice/LibreOffice.  Blender, the 3D computer graphics software is another great example of software that is able to span Windows, Mac and Linux.  GIMP and InkScape are two graphical apps that fit your request quite well too.  Chrome/Chromium and Firefox also would fit in that category.  You may be saying, "But those are all free and open source software examples... show us a commercial only product."  Unfortunately, this is somewhat more difficult, since they, like Logos, may be developing multiple code bases for each of their OS specific releases.  Autodesk Maya is a good example of commercial only software that seem to have one common code base.

Unless I am missing something somewhere, you have not provided a single example of a OS agnostic application. Those are all apps which have been specifically ported to each and every OS that they are used on. In other words, you can't take the windows version of Chrome, burn it to a disc, and run it on a Mac.

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Kevin Byford (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 10:37 AM

Michel Knisely:
Hey, if a Logos version were released for Linux, I'd even expect to need to purchase that version.  

Hi Michel,

How much would you pay for a Linux version of Logos?  Would you be willing to pay $50,000 for a base version (to cover the costs involved with supporting all of the various Linux distributions, libraries, windowing systems, the developers required to create it, and the extremely few number of customers who would purchase a Linux version of Logos)?  Or would you only be willing to pay $5,000 for it - or only $5?  I'm just curious.

If a business is to survive questions like these need to be asked.  Many things can possibly be done, and done well, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not it makes financial sense.  

Posts 8601
TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 10:40 AM

AFAIK the only OS agnostic softwares I can fathom would be java programs. The java run time has to be ported but after that (again AFAIK) the same java code runs on every computer with java installed, regardless of OS.  (right?)

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Posts 5249
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 11:14 AM

Dominick Sela:
No one has successfully done this on a software product at least as sophisticated as Logos, unless they are large enough to write independent, unique applications specifically targeted to each platform.  That is what Logos has done so far with Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows; they made that decision based on market share. Hence quality, functionality, and performance drives us away from a least common denominator solution across all platforms, and right back into the lap of business-market share driven decisions to invest in a given platform, which eliminates Linux from consideration.  This is likely the thought process Logos investigated in much more detail than I.

 

Not true from my understanding the code is ported to mac os and is running via compatibility layer called MONO, to substitute the fact MS net framework is not directly available on the mac. If it truly had been written for mac independently it would not be crippled by the mono layer. That is not to say the Logos mac programers did not put in a lot of hard work to get it functioning properly. Just that is not totally independent from the original 4.0 Windows app.

-dan

Posts 1889
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 11:16 AM

Java has been described as "write once, test everywhere". It depends on the features of the Java application and the requirements of the platform on which it's being asked to run.

Mono does much the same for .NET, but it again depends on what the .NET app does. As we know all too well, WPF apps won't run on Mono.

Interpreted apps will run identically on numerous platforms: Perl, Python, Ruby, among others.

The earlier comment about taking a Windows version of Chrome, burning it to disc, and running it on Mac or Linux really isn't fair. There are plenty of applications which can be compiled to all those target platforms by a single cross-compiler (i.e. on the same build machine) based on the correct compilation instructions and conditionally-compiled code. Some were listed: GIMP, Blender, Apache, etc. Having said that, even if an app is built on a software architecture that allows for maximum portability, there is still an incremental cost to actually do an initial port to a platform and keep the platform up-to-date as features evolve. Similarly, there is an opportunity cost in intentionally not taking advantage of otherwise useful features of a specific platform to keep an application portable.

My $.02 ...

Donnie

 

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 11:17 AM

Donnie Hale:
I'm fairly confident that if one were to run the numbers, it would be cheaper for Logos to buy a Windows or Mac license for each person that wanted to run Logos on an O.S. for which they had not paid than to undertake the effort to port the product to Linux.

Big Smile

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Mac Pro OS 10.9.

Posts 14
StephenH | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 11:18 AM

Given the complaints I have seen in this thread, it is very likely that Logos' choice of Windows Presentation Foundation for developing Logos software would seem to indicate that WPF was not quite ready for prime time. Plus, with the upcoming release of Windows 8, how much reprogramming is going to be needed to fix Logos to run since new versions of Windows inevitably break things?

Had Logos chosen to use tools that were more open and standardized such as WebKit, we might not be having this discussion as it might have been a moot point.

What keeps me from spending money on Logos products? It is that they are not, and will not be available for me to use on my choice of platform. Why are Open/Libre Office, Gimp, and many other significant programs able to be cross-platform? Why can WORDsearch and BibleWorks make programs that, using WINE can run on Windows, Linux, Mac, and others and provide a very usable experience? Why are there programs such as Xiphos which is open-source and cross-platform? Why can these do what Logos seems unwilling to do?

My theory is that the original Logos programmers came from Microsoft and locked themselves into that development path. Microsoft has a long history of making things incompatible so that people will be locked-in (witness Digital Research's DR-DOS and IBM's OS/2 for examples). It might become a matter of survival for Logos to move to a more open foundation for the software. Despite the protestations I have read that other software lacks the tools for graphical presentation, the reality is that Mac and Linux both have more than adequate tools for graphical presentation. Games are some of the most demanding graphical programs. Using CrossOver, people are running games such as Lord of the Rings, Diablo III, World of Warcraft, and others, including those requiring Steam. (Disclaimer: I run none of those. I read about them in the CrossOver compatibility listings). BibleWorks and WORDsearch seem to have no problem with graphical presentation of Bible materials, including original language searches.

Bottom line is that if Logos wanted to, they could move away from the Microsoft lock-in toward more a more cross-platform friendly foundation for Logos software. The choice may be forced upon them sooner or later as Microsoft changes Windows. Hopefully, they will not lock themselves in for so long that they fail to adapt and become extinct.

As I said before, I am willing to invest in resources that will meet my needs. WORDsearch and BibleWorks have done so. I would like to have purchased one of Logos' Scholar's Library packages, but Logos has not made a suitable version available (so far). Perhaps they will do so in the future, but I can't wait forever.

By the way, the current statistics for OS usage indicate that Linux is currently at about 4.9 to 5% usage, not 1% as has been implied in other messages. That is where Mac was a few years ago (mid-2008), likely around the time someone decided it was worth porting Logos to Mac. Linux usage is likely to increase, so the argument that there are too few Linux users is invalid. (source:  http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp). Of course, someone will cite another web site that shows <2% Linux market share. That's the fun of statistics. One can make them say anything one wants to. Any computer sold with Windows is counted in those stats regardless of whether the owner has dumped Windows in favor of one or another Linux distributions in an effort to escape the malware.

Posts 12
sjm | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 11:32 AM
Or some chose to use something like Qt that proclaims: "Qt allows you to write advanced applications and UIs once, and deploy them across desktop and embedded operating systems without rewriting the source code saving time and development cost." It takes advantage of offloading/outsourcing the compatibility problems and lets you concentrate on what you do best (your own programs) while they take care of the compatibility of the cross compiling to different platforms.
Posts 54
Andrew | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 11:35 AM

alabama24:

Unless I am missing something somewhere, you have not provided a single example of a OS agnostic application. Those are all apps which have been specifically ported to each and every OS that they are used on. In other words, you can't take the windows version of Chrome, burn it to a disc, and run it on a Mac.

I would never expect any decently complex package to be totally unaware of the underlying O/S because of certain items that are different for each system. For example, Windows insists that "hello.txt" and "Hello.txt" are the same file, Linux insists that they are not. Things can be done to greatly reduce these issues and mitigate the differences.

I have written QT applications that run just fine on Windows, Linux, and Mac. QT abstracts many of the issues away from the developer. That said, you must pay attention when you do things such as build directory path strings.

With QT, you still have a native application, which means that the code is not binary compatible between systems; a different executable must be created for each platform.

I do not expect a company (such as Logos) to rewrite their application from something such as WPF on WIndows to use QT. On the other hand, it is unfortunate that they now have multiple distinct applications. If they had chosen to use a framework such as QT when they created the MAC version, then they could use a common code base across platforms. I cannot comment on how well that works on mobile applications, but QT does in general support mobile applications, I just don't remember which ones... but a quick search shows:

Clearly, the Windows version of Logos uses the deep and dirty calls, which is why it will not work with WINE or Cross-Over.

 

 

 

 

Posts 12
sjm | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 11:46 AM

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):

alabama24:

sjm:
Just wondering...

I really don't understand your car radio analogy. Here is what I am wondering… You are suggesting that Logos make their software non-os specific. Can you name any major software that is such? [I am seriously interested… not just rhetorical].

Likewise not understand radio analogy; a radio needs power and sound connections plus appropriate mounting.  Technically more challenging is changing an engine and/or transmission (some manufacturers change part sizes or bolt placement between model years).

It's an _analogy_ .  

Why buy a Toyota or mini-Toyota (Windows or Windows in a VM) if I already have a Chevrolet (other OS).  If the developers wanted to, they could develop from a platform like Qt that worries about the power/sound connections and mounting and just work on making a really good radio that plays really good content.

Once again... 

It's an _analogy_ .  

"No one" (well, at least not many) writes in assembly language anymore writing to a specific CPU, so why not in the same vein pick a platform to develop in that allows the same _source_ to compile to different platforms?  As you invest more an more time in trying to support more and more platforms as Logos seems to be doing, at some point in time it would seem to me that it might behoove the persons involved to take a step back and look to see if they invest that effort in a cross platform approach if it might be better in the end.

Still, just wondering....

 

 

Posts 1889
Donnie Hale | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 12:19 PM

sjm:
so why not in the same vein pick a platform to develop in that allows the same _source_ to compile to different platforms?  As you invest more an more time in trying to support more and more platforms as Logos seems to be doing, at some point in time it would seem to me that it might behoove the persons involved to take a step back and look to see if they invest that effort in a cross platform approach if it might be better in the end.

I thought I addressed this a few posts before yours: "Having said that, even if an app is built on a software architecture that allows for maximum portability, there is still an incremental cost to actually do an initial port to a platform and keep the platform up-to-date as features evolve. Similarly, there is an opportunity cost in intentionally not taking advantage of otherwise useful features of a specific platform to keep an application portable."

Taking that a step further, even if they had an app that was portable to all the platforms in which they're interested (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android), there's still a cost to get it to the next platform and to keep it at feature parity going forward on that platform. No question the cost would be lower, but it's nowhere near "negligible".

For everyone here who would love to see a Linux version, there's probably 10 like me who would be thrilled if they dropped Mac and Android support and then quickly solidified their Windows and iOS offerings with all the features and behavior so frequently requested in the forums. But I know that's not realistic.

Donnie

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 1:03 PM

Donnie Hale:
ike me who would be thrilled if they dropped Mac and Android support and then quickly solidified their Windows and iOS offerings with all the features and behavior so frequently requested in the forums.

No. no, no Donnie. It's drop the Mac and iOS to get my Windows and Kindle ...Big Smile

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 1:05 PM

MJ. Smith:
It's drop the Mac and iOS to get my Windows and Kindle ...

And I thought I liked you. Stick out tongue

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 1:12 PM

MJ. Smith:
drop the Mac

I'll remember that! Big Smile

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

Mac Pro OS 10.9.

Posts 3
Ulisses Vicente de Souza | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 1:34 PM

Drop everything and start developing a cross-platform version. I do have licenses of MS-Windows. I can send them to you if you want. I just do not want to be forced to use MS-Windows! I pay for my Linux OS's and also I use BSD like OS's and Opensolaris and sometimes other OS's. 

I guess what needs to be clear is there are other OS's people like. It is not a question of percentage of OS users, it is a question of respecting users preferencies. 

I prefer using POSIX systems. I am sorry if one of the few ones, but I will to my best to let other people to know Christ as Lord and to use opensource software. :-)

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 2:01 PM

Ulisses Souza:
I guess what needs to be clear is there are other OS's people like. It is not a question of percentage of OS users, it is a question of respecting users preferencies.

There is certainly a place for open source software, but it isn't the only (or best) method around. 

Logos isn't disrespecting your choice of OS, they just have a different view. They are a business. They pay their software developers. They have to "keep the lights on" and have chosen to be wise stewards of the resources they have. Therefore it most certainly IS a question of percentages. There is a reason that most software is made for the PC. There is a reason that most apps are made for iOS. In both cases the reason is percentages. It's a number game. There is (generally) more money to be made on windows than on Mac or Linux. There is (generally) more money to be made on iOS than Andriod, Win Mobile, etc.

Logos made the decision to add Mac because of an increasing market share on that platform. An unstated reason may also be that the Mac platform is increasing very rapidly among college age students. (If you don't believe me, just go to a Panera Bread near a major university and see what computers you find).

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Posts 3163
Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jul 3 2012 6:12 PM

For those claiming Java programs offer agnostic OS implementations, any of the larger apps, including the Open Office suites, will have C code for performing in/out (I/O) operations to hardware demanding performance, reliability or both - like display, disk, etc. Also, there are no single library solutions for things like the database, multi-core (which Logos uses), etc. that perform on all the platforms Logos is even on now. So there is still a non-trivial percentage of the code base that is platform specific.

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