eBible Open Source
I love eBible and as a programmer I would love to help support ebible through extensions, layouts, add -ons, etc. It's great that people can use ebible for free, but as long as its proprietary its going to be limited.
Open sourcing eBible would:
1. Allow developers to contribute code in different ways.
2. Allow developers to contribute to bug fixes/compatibility issues/new features/etc.
3. Create a rich community.
If your not willing to go completely open source you could do what alot of other OS software do, have an OS version and a proprietary version. That way you can continue to be financially supported in the proprietary version and can eventually transfer features to the free OS version. Its a win win situation.
Proprietary Version- has eBible support/newest features/paid features.
OS Version- free, open source/eventually gets new features.
AdminColin Wong (CEO, eBible) commented
I'm so sorry. I did not mean to give the impression that I was critical of your idea. We think its a great idea actually and are actually seriously considering it as well. We just didn't want to put up false expectations that its something we can put out overnight. There is a cost associated to building and supporting any feature - as you would know, being a programmer. Even open-sourcing software is a cost.
We receive your recommendation wholeheartedly and look for ways to be able to do this sometime in the near future. God bless!
Benjamin Wellman commented
I understand that there's many complex issues involving open sourcing eBible. My idea was just that, an idea. Maybe in the future after serious planning you could open source what's feasible and block what's not. I think eBible has a chance to make a real difference in the way people study the Bible. Today the only way to study the Bible online is with proprietary software that costs an average of $150-1,500 (not including the actual materials). If you want to study on a more budget friendly non-scholarly level your reduced to sub consumer quality Bible websites that lack polish, features, and innovations. There are a few decent desktop OSS, but they generally lack the things mentioned above as well. There are also a few webapps like YouVersion, but they as well are proprietary.
My issue with completely proprietary Bible software specifically is that it:
1. User has no control over anything/(code,design,functions,etc)
2. Creates a barrier between people wanting to use the Bible study software, but not wanting to be locked into a walled environment.
3. Limits creativity due to having little user input on eBible functionality/(no dev input,projects,etc)
4. Limits community because there's no reason to invest in something that's not open. This causes there to be only two people in the current system. User and Provider. There's no collaboration between the two whatsoever.
5. proprietary Bible software isn't truly free. Just because I don't pay for eBible doesn't mean its free. One definition of free is to have no limits. Limiting something makes it not free in the true meaning of word. It reminds me of Matt. 10:8, "freely you have received, freely give". Why unnecessarily limit God's word from His people. The Bible says, "My people parish for a lack of knowledge". This also has to do with my distaste for Bible publishers copyrighting GODS word.
I stated above that I agree with your assessments, but I hope for change in the future when applicable. My ideas are not to be critical as I sympathize with your current situation. I wish eBible really continues to commit to God's will.
I would still recommend creating and API for eBible so I can add-on cool stuff =). I would consider that a sign of good faith for your future openness.
AdminColin Wong (CEO, eBible) commented
Great idea! The issue with open sourcing any commercial code (not just eBible) is that it takes quite considerable time and effort to separate out the pieces that can be open sourced. This part is challenging.
We have critical pieces that touch on customer data (privacy issues), commercial transactions (purchases, credit cards) and commercial content (Bible publishers licensing us content in return for royalty fees). Imagine now open sourcing but having to deal with financial liabilities associated with the above mentioned. For user data, we'd have to build walls that only allow you access to certain data but not the rest. For content data, we'd need to prevent you from scraping commercial content (from other publishers). The list goes on. Separating the open-source pieces from the non-open sources pieces is not trivial and requires substantial forethought.
This is not to say we do not want to do it - merely that doing it will take substantial time and resource - and not a simple matter of creating a public Github repo of our project.