[sword-devel] CrossWire website showing all known modules available

Karl Kleinpaste karl at kleinpaste.org
Sun Nov 7 12:37:52 MST 2010

On the one hand, I appreciate a desire for a combined all-repos view of
what's available.  It would be useful in some ways.  On the other hand,
I find it problematic for several reasons.

- It depends on finding all repos operating.  Like it or not, repos go
away for short or long periods, and the first time we hang the user's
module manager because one repo has gone dead for an extended period, we
will cause huge PR problems.  Especially as we gain more small
publishers' references in the master repo list, to me the likelihood
that one of these will disappear (if for no other reason than that small
entities will not be good at administering such access) seems high.
Consider the trouble we had some months ago when crosswire.org itself
was firewalled by its ISP to access from all of South Africa and Brazil.
How do we educate users, that they should either manually remove a dead
repo, or must re-sync against the master list when we remove the dead
entry from that?  In our one-repo-at-a-time format, as module managers
operate today, at least it's clear which single repo is gone at the
moment, and we don't/can't give an erroneous view that the entire space
of module retrieval has gone dead.

- People know that different stores carry different merchandise.  Why is
it any stretch that different repositories have different modules?  I
don't expect to find the widest selection of dead-tree Bibles in a
Barnes&Noble, but rather in my local Christian bookstore.  Home
construction manuals are best found at Home Depot, not the local
megamall's Borders.  (Sure, you'll find some at Borders.  The selection
won't be great.  B&N and Borders provide "wide but not deep.")

- Jon asks why one would go looking at the Xiphos repo when searching
for modules.  It's a good question, but it's just the question of why
one looks in more than one bookstore.  The Xiphos repo exists because
(as instantiated some years ago on my home system) I had modules I
wanted to distribute and was not able to get them into the CrossWire
repo.  The Xiphos repo distributes approximately 130G/month these days.
Other entities' distribution of modules will be very similar: They have
content that is not appropriate for CrossWire itself.  It makes sense to
me that, to find certain publishers' content, one has to go to that

This overall multi-store scenario has been perverted (and I mean that in
a proper technical sense) by Amazon.  Now everyone expects to find every
book in the world at one place.  But at least Amazon is, literally, one
place on the web.  Our potentially-many repos are all over, the master
repo list is just our local MapQuest equivalent to find them all, and
each will have widely-varying network support and administrative support.

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