[sword-devel] Windows users as "poor cousins"? (was: Help wanted on non-canonical text )

Jonathan Marsden jmarsden at fastmail.fm
Thu Oct 1 19:28:56 MST 2009

David Haslam wrote:

> I think those of us who are Windows users are regarded as "poor
> cousins" by some CrossWire programmers. :confused:

I think you may have that somewhat backwards.  CrossWire itself makes 
its source code available for download to everyone with Internet access, 
Linux and Windows and OS X and *BSD users, alike.  Whatever OS you 
choose to use, you are free to compile those sources for your chosen OS, 
and use the resulting binary libraries and utilities.

For Windows users, *only*, Crosswire also offers binaries for download. 
  Sometimes out of date, it seems, but at least it does offer them -- 
something it does not do for any Linux or FreeBSD users :)  This an 
*additional* priviledge, a luxury offered *only* to Windows users.

Similarly, there are projects at Crosswire such as "BibleCS" (aka the 
SWORD Project for Windows) which are "Windows-only".  I don't know of 
any Crosswire software projects that are "Linux-only" or "FreeBSD-only".

How does Crosswire going out of its way to do extra things for Windows 
users make such users in any sense "poor cousins" in this context?

While there is currently an established and somewhat successful small 
team (independent of, but created at the request of, Crosswire) doing 
official Debian and Ubuntu Linux packaging, there does not seem to be a 
similar team doing Windows packaging of SWORD and its applications.  But 
I don't see how that lack of a packaging team is really the fault of the 
Crosswire programmers!

Highly unofficially, Matthew Talbert and I have recently discussed and 
begun some work on creating a way to set up a (free) Windows development 
environment with which to compile and install SWORD (and hopefully later 
also SWORD applications such as Xiphos and BibleTime).  That work is in 
its very early days, and right now what is published is basically a 
proof of concept that quickly gets you a working C/C++ development 
environment, but does not (yet?) download/ configure/ compile/ install 
SWORD or the libraries that SWORD depends upon.

See http://crosswire.org/~jmarsden/setup-mingw.html for the current 
public state of that project.  It is not currently of any use to 
non-programmers, and is not really intended for use by non-programmers 
even when (if!) it is completed -- non-programmers and C++ compilers 
don't mix, and should not *have* to mix :)

Lastly: Virtualization cuts both ways!  Just as Linux users can run 
Windows in a virtual machine within the comfort and convenience of 
Linux, Windows users can run Linux in a virtual machine within Windows. 
  VirtualBox OSE (for example) is free software that can allow this; so 
other than the cost of licencing the Windows OS itself, there is no 
economic cost to this kind of "just do both" approach -- other than the 
availability of a reasonably modern PC, and your time to understand it 
and set it up.  This is not a "programmers only" concept, any confident 
Windows user with a modern PC could make use of it.


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