[sword-devel] CrossWire Bible Society

Troy A. Griffitts sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 25 Jul 2001 15:13:56 -0700

With this letter, I hope to clear up some of the recent 'haze' between
The SWORD Project, CrossWire Bible Society, and the relationships of the
frontends that share our goals and code.

CrossWire Bible Society

        CrossWire Bible Society is an organization that started about 7
years ago with the purpose to sponser and provide a place for engineers
and others to come and collaborate on free opensource projects aimed at
furthing the Kingdom of our God.  We are also a resource pool to other
Bible societies that can't afford-- or don't feel it's their place-- to
maintain a quality programming staff, in house.  We provide them with a
number of tools that assist them with reaching their domain with
Christ.  CrossWire is a NON-INCOME organization, which means that not
only do we offer our services for free, but we also do not solicite
donations to exist.  We exist because we, as a community come together
and offer our services and time freely.

        The name was a pun of sorts, with the original idea that the
Cross of Christ is our wire to God.  Over the years, as my understanding
has grown as to what exactly is a Bible Society, the name seems even
more appropriate.  The main purpose of a Bible Society is to distribute
Scripture to as many people within a domain as possible.  You've got the
American Bible Society, the German Bible Society, the Canadian Bible
Society, the United Bible Societies-- under which most of the Bible
societies of the world collaborate, and many others.  You can view most
of their stats of Scripture distribution to their region at:
http://www.biblesociety.org/bs-find.htm , then selecting a region and,
then selecting the Bible Society that serves that region.  Instead of
having a geographic domain, our domain is software users-- predominantly
the Global Internet-- or anyone we can reach across the wire.  Our
Scripture distribution compares with the largest of the Bible Societies

        Some examples of recent collaboration include traveling to
Wycliffe Bible Translators / SIL to present and counsel on strategies to
opensource their software; participation with the Amercan Bible Society
to realize and promote the Bible Technologies Conference
(http://www.bibletechnologies.org), and subsequently, the OSIS
initiative (of which the newsgroups and listservs for the working groups
are hosted on our servers (news://bibletechnologieswg.org) AND of which
you all should get involved (shameless plug)).

The SWORD Project

        The SWORD Project is an initiative by CrossWire Bible Society to
developer a free, opensource, cross-platform, Biblical Textual Research
Engine (alot of adjective, I know).  It is the base for many other
projects currently underway and planned, including end user research
software on Linux, Solaris, Windows, handhelds, etc., tools for dynamic
web content of Biblical information, IRC bots, Bible Translation Team
Facilitation Software (BuTTerFlyS ??? :) ), etc.

        The SWORD Project traditionally has been the description of a
software package that included the text storage/retrieval/publish/search
engine, the text modules themselves, and a Windows interface for the end
user to access the features of the engine.  Over the past few years,
many other user interfaces have been built on the engine, and the
Windows interface has grown to a point that warrants it being a project
of its own.  This has also been frequently suggested by other projects
that use the engine-- especially from non-Windows projects :)  So, to
further define, The SWORD Project strictly refers to the text research
engine software and modules that work with that software.

        When we, as CrossWire, distribute CDs, the CDs are titled The
SWORD Project, for lack of a short, more precise name.  I don't feel
that this loose usage of 'The SWORD Project'-- refering to the engine,
the modules, and all frontends and accessories included on the CD-- is a
bad thing, as all these projects are based on The SWORD Project,
proper.  We could be more precise and call the CD something like 'The
SWORD Project And Tools Based On Such', but this makes for a long title
:)  A friend handing a CD to someone (whether a Linux, Solaris, Windows,
CGI programmer, IRC admin, etc. consumer) should be fine in saying,
"Hey, check out The SWORD Project."  It's also a good title to get
curious people to put the CD in their drives. :)

        For precise description and delineation on our website, 'The
SWORD Project' should continue to refer to the definition, proper, of
the text research engine software and modules that work with that

        This brings us to our final question:  What place, then, is
given to BibleTime, Diatheke, GnomeSword, OpenSword (or whatever the
Windows frontend is dubbed), and all the other projects that USE The
SWORD Project as their base?  To keep from dubbing all software having
anything to do with Biblical Research, The SWORD Project, I would
suggest NOT placing them under this banner.  In reality, our
collaboration is close; my hope would be that they would live at the
same level as The SWORD Project, on the CrossWire Bible Society site. 
Each of these projects have very different audiences-- everyone from the
non-computer-savvy Windows-using Bible scholar, to a linux web
designer.  The project websites for each of these should address their
audience specifically.  The SWORD Project website should still have
links to each of these projects that use The SWORD Project.

        My prayer is that we can continue to collaborate on furthing the
Gospel of Christ, banners insignificant, save 'Christ's Church', and
that we'd grow to offer more tools to His Church at large.

        In Him,
                The CrossWire Bible Society