[sword-devel] Dead Sea Scrolls module(s)

Karl Kleinpaste karl at kleinpaste.org
Tue May 8 06:12:54 MST 2007

[ This got a bit longer and more philosophical than it started
  out to be.  I hope I don't annoy folks too much with it. ]

I wonder if the web forums should merely be shut down.  They're really
of no timely benefit to anyone.  Consider: On 21 April, Eeli wrote:

| Why we don't attract developers and community?  ...  Closed source
| products have active forums, BibleCS (sub)forum gets 4 message
| threads per year, of which one was "Is Sword for Windows Dead?".
| What's the problem?

I think it would be better to shut them down, rather than to give the
false impression of a useful resource which is seen empirically to be
less than useless -- for the (especially new) user to come to the
forums, post a question or two, and then wait for weeks, minimally,
for any kind of answer, and often never to get one at all, is a sure
way to generate frustration and then disinterest.  Perhaps that level
of disinterest is one reason why, when I have approached various
electronic publishers about generating Sword format materials, I am
told, "We have no plans for..."

As a matter of course, such activity as can be found in the Sword
Project is in mailing lists, not web forums.  Even so, I try to stop
in on the GnomeSword forum there now and again; probably as often as
not, I end up answering peoples' questions with an addendum of telling
them to join the mailing lists.  Some do, some don't.

About 5 weeks ago, in the middle of a very bad attitude, I wrote a
longish screed intended for this list about the lack of progress even
in bug-reported module problems for which fixes had been offered over
many months without any updates being seen.  In an unusual fit of good
taste and self-restraint, I didn't send that, instead just tucking it
away for future cogitation.  Then, about 2 weeks ago, we abruptly had
a sudden burst of activity in beta modules, fixes, and general
updates.  I'd like to think that this new activity shows we've not
lost our collective way, but I do wonder if there isn't a need for
some serious re-thinking of how the forums, mailing lists, and general
supporting infrastructure of Sword is constructed and maintained, with
an eye to the possibility of finding some needed, and I suspect fairly
drastic, update and improvement to the process by which progress is
made, and not just on UI development.

(Because, by and large, we are a bunch of programmers who think code
is king -- and we're wrong when we think that.  Sure, Joe Random likes
UI features, but what Joe Random *needs* is a wider set of resources
with which to work: *Modules* are king.  UI features are helpful to
Joe's workflow structure at best, and just intrusive sugar at worst.
If there's a class of UI features about which we need to give
considerably more thought, it's with regard to authoring tools --
better ways for users to write new material or convert existing
material, something far beyond the editable "Personal" commentary.
When I have poked at the GS lists about GS' future, probably the most
common observations are about [a] the lack of new modules and [b] the
need for ways to write and share new stuff.)

"Troy A. Griffitts" <scribe at crosswire.org> writes:
> Having said all of this, I would love for us to include Dead Sea 
> Scrolls material!  Do they have images of the Scrolls, English 
> translations, or merely Hebrew transcriptions?

I don't know for sure, but apparently nos. 2 & 3 of that list.  I
suggest you ask Mr. Kirby directly, who wrote:

>> I would like the advice of the SWORD project community on how best to
>> make the Dead Sea Scrolls available on this platform for free.
>> The advice I seek includes but is not limited to licensing suggestions
>> and technological hurdles.
>> The aim is to make the original language as well as translations of
>> the Dead Sea Scrolls freely available.
>> I have also contacted the makers of other popular Bible software
>> packages for their feedback.



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