Sad news about ... bible software in general.

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Stirling Bartholomew
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Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Sad news about ... bible software in general.

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » June 25th, 2020, 2:51 pm

Here is one reason to spend some time thinking about the long term implications of purchasing a large digital library. I recently with trepidation installed MacOS Mojave 10.14.6 (not the latest build #) and subsequently noticed my bible software was crashing more often. This isn't news since the bible software version isn't certified to run on High Sierra much less anything later. MacOS is very unstable after HighSierra. Every update needs to be tested extensively before making it your working platform.

When I checked out the upgrade notices for the bible software there were explicit statements that my version could not be upgraded to the next version. I contacted tech support and got no answer. It appeared that they didn't even understand the question.

The wording on the website was very explicit. You cannot upgrade to 10.6 from any previous version.

My ancient language library is over 25 years old. I don't have a big library. If you have invested in a big library statements like this will probably not make you happy. Anyone running a version before 10.6 is toast. I asked for clarification of what this means and went away without getting an answer.

What this means in real terms is the bible software plus library must be purchased multiple times during your working life. It isn't a one time deal. The library modules are not future proof. Not even close. Your going to be paying and paying and paying. From the beginning until the software company goes out of business. And then all your investment will be gone.

This is built in to the high technology. Obsolescence is a fact of life. The physical codex (book) doesn't suffer from this but has other serious drawbacks.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Sad news about ... bible software in general.

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » June 25th, 2020, 5:19 pm

The next phase will be subscriptions. Pay by the month. Its already happening.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Daniel Semler
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Re: Sad news about ... bible software in general.

Post by Daniel Semler » June 25th, 2020, 8:34 pm

Sad but not really news I'm afraid. I have post my thoughts elsewhere on this but here goes.

The tool is one thing and the data another. Most of the money is in buying/selling (if you're on the vendor end) of the data. Usually the program is tossed in for free so to speak - more or less. I would prefer to see open module formats that can be used with multiple vendors' tools. The book as you point out is like this. Sometimes a book won't fit in a shelf where you have space or doesn't open between the wall and your coffee mug on your favorite table but it's rarely worse than that. Of course, as digital editions are often cheaper than their hardcopy counterparts there is that.

The lock-in is the file format and vendor specific data features. If those were opened up you'd buy the tool you liked from the vendor you liked. Then if they added additional features beyond what you got with the basic module you could buy that. I have suggested elsewhere that really you want the publishers of the books to publish in that base digital format and let the tool vendors do the tools. However, I realize the business isn't funded that way and the tool vendors would be forced to charge people for software which is increasingly an alien concept, which is a double edge sharp thing alas. Another advantage to my crazy scheme would be the possibility for earlier digital publication. Of course there would push back from all sides on this because I suspect book vendor wouldn't want to canabalize their hardcopy market either.

The one bright light in all of this is the open source text, module effort. That in theory allows for the loss of a tool and retention of the modules moving them to another platform. I'm a bit out of touch with details on this but the fact that the data is open source is only one part. You don't really want people taking the texts and creating a custom module format from it. You want them to use the standard module format and create tooling around it. If you don't you just get a lot of low take-up models which are probably doomed too. Of course there are plenty (perhaps too plenty :) ) of file formats which only complicates matters.

BTW, it's not just bible software. If I want to keep using the same tax software I have been using on a Mac I need a new Mac. Why ? The tax software vendor won't allow me to use the next years version on my current OS version and my Mac cannot run anything later than it is on now. Gotta love tech.

Thx
D
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Sad news about ... bible software in general.

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » June 25th, 2020, 11:45 pm

Daniel,

Thank you for commenting. I am at the extreme end of the learning cycle. Which means that I am not retaining much. I am forced to use software because my Athanasius project resulted in permanent damage to my left hand and wrist. I jokingly refer to it as Lexicon wrist. I cannot work at a desk with books laid out in-front of me. I have to lift BDAG and others to place on a book bench suspended from the arms of a recliner. Can't do that any more. So I have a MBP13 on a lap board working from a horizontal reclined position. This isn't going to get any better.

I have been limping along studying the Apostolic Father's which I have both in hard copy and digitally. The digital module is 20 years old and barely functions but it works with out crashing most of the time. The other ancient texts in my digital world are even older than that. The software limps along and I get by somehow. I have stopped upgrading MacOS. I have an ancient iMac at a stand up work station running High Sierra and a MBP running Mojave. Everything works more or less. Unstable bible software is livable. You don't have a nuclear meltdown when your bible application fails.

I am currently working on the Epistle to Diognetus which is my favorite text from that era. I find it hard to keep my focus when working on a digital text.Too many distractions jumping back and forth between web sites and local software. I think the discipline of writing notes on the text is lost when you do things on a screen. The quality of the project suffers. To engage seriously with a text you have to live with it long enough that reading becomes easy and natural. I was there with Athanasius but the Cappadocian Fathers I just dabbled in. They were mindbogglingly repetitious. It is a relief to work on the Epistle to Diognetus who is brief and rewarding with a high density of substance.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Jean Putmans
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Re: Sad news about ... bible software in general.

Post by Jean Putmans » June 26th, 2020, 3:42 am

That realy is sad news. But ... you might try to run your Biblesoftware in a Virtual Machine. Than You can use the last uodates of OSX, running an old version of OSX with your BIblesoftware in the Virtual machine.
I myself use Virtual Box to run windows and linux-Software on a 10 Year old Mac-Pro.

Maybe You should/could ask some IT-Folks to give advice and help installing and using a Virtual machine.

Good Luck


Jean
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Jean Putmans
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gotischebibel.blogspot.com

Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: Sad news about ... bible software in general.

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » June 26th, 2020, 5:35 am

Daniel Semler wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 8:34 pm
I would prefer to see open module formats that can be used with multiple vendors' tools.
OSIS is already such format, and the text modules can be encrypted. The Open Source SWORD library and all the applications using it could use those modules. But for some reason the publishers of texts don't want to do anything about it. Even though, as far as I know, it's basically the same as what the commercial software companies can do with the texts - they encrypt the texts with some key.

At least one of the reasons is that publishers are suspicious about Open Source. Somehow they think that it's unreliable or that it's too easy to copy the texts illegally or something like that. While the truth is that if someone wants to make illegal copies they can do it with commercial software, too.

Another reason is of course that the software companies want to keep the text formats proprietary, because that's all they have. The most valuable asset by large margin is the texts (with good cross-references). The software itself needs a good search feature, and for "original languages" tools for analyzing. Most users wouldn't need the latter. Therefore most of the sofware companies wouldn't be needed if they wouldn't have their own text formats and texts.
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Daniel Semler
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Re: Sad news about ... bible software in general.

Post by Daniel Semler » June 26th, 2020, 9:38 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 11:45 pm
Daniel,
I am forced to use software because my Athanasius project resulted in permanent damage to my left hand and wrist. I jokingly refer to it as Lexicon wrist. I cannot work at a desk with books laid out in-front of me. I have to lift BDAG and others to place on a book bench suspended from the arms of a recliner. Can't do that any more. So I have a MBP13 on a lap board working from a horizontal reclined position. This isn't going to get any better.
I'm sorry to hear that Stirling.
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
June 25th, 2020, 11:45 pm
I have been limping along studying the Apostolic Father's which I have both in hard copy and digitally. The digital module is 20 years old and barely functions but it works with out crashing most of the time. The other ancient texts in my digital world are even older than that. The software limps along and I get by somehow. I have stopped upgrading MacOS. I have an ancient iMac at a stand up work station running High Sierra and a MBP running Mojave. Everything works more or less. Unstable bible software is livable. You don't have a nuclear meltdown when your bible application fails.

I am currently working on the Epistle to Diognetus which is my favorite text from that era. I find it hard to keep my focus when working on a digital text.Too many distractions jumping back and forth between web sites and local software. I think the discipline of writing notes on the text is lost when you do things on a screen. The quality of the project suffers. To engage seriously with a text you have to live with it long enough that reading becomes easy and natural. I was there with Athanasius but the Cappadocian Fathers I just dabbled in. They were mindbogglingly repetitious. It is a relief to work on the Epistle to Diognetus who is brief and rewarding with a high density of substance.
I still haven't gotten to Athanasius yet. I'm in the midst of Epictetus' handbook. I like the Greek here but lots of ellipsis to deal with which is challenging me right now.

I appreciate what you say about digital study. It definitely has its downside despite the many advantages. Working on a computer is definitely different and full of possibilities for distraction. I know people produce software for reducing distractions on computers. They can be quite severe in what they cut off, so that notifications don't pop up, and you don't see a lot of the surrounding toolbars and so on. It's like reading mode on steroids. I've never used them but they are designed to reduce distractions to a bare minimum.

Jean's idea might well be worth a shot to restore some stability to the older bible software by getting it back on a version of the OS it prefers. The only concern is compatibility with VBox for that older version. I haven't looked into VBox in a while, and longer on the Mac. It would take some setting up.

Thx
D
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Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 1104
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Sad news about ... bible software in general.

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » June 26th, 2020, 8:21 pm

Thank you all for helpful suggestions. I'm not suffering. I have a daily workout in the park 90mins of pulling hills. Good shape for someone my age.

I seem to have stabilized my bible software by simply reinstalling it from the installation .dmg which I keep forever. The application probably got corrupted at some point. I get by using less than 2% of the features. For my use it is a search engine and a library of ancient texts. That's all I use it for. It has a million other features that are never tested. I have been running it for hours and hours today without a single problem. I suspect the compatibility issue has to do with the APFS file system. As long as it does what I need, I am not worried about it.

Postscript:

My previous experience with running virtual machines (40 years of VMs) has been a mixed bag. We had some really ridiculous setups where the Cambridge Monitoring System CMS was running on a 1982 IBM PC with a 20meg external drive. A decade later MS Windows VMs running on Unix platforms. Then MacOS became a VM on Unix. On a power mac a VM would probably work just fine. I rather not go that route on running a low end i5 processor.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

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