LDS Linux

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
richardsontb
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Postby richardsontb » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:29 pm

So, it looks like we are left with the following:

The Church is not going to spearhead a LDS Linux project because, simply put, it is not within its mandate (Proclaim the Gospel, Perfect the Saints, Redeem the Dead). Thus, it seems, the only way to bring such a project to fruition, is to form ones own group. How does "TheLDSLinuxProject.org" sound?

Todd

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marianomarini
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Postby marianomarini » Fri May 01, 2009 3:31 pm

Thus, it seems, the only way to bring such a project to fruition, is to form ones own group. How does "TheLDSLinuxProject.org" sound?

Great!
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kennethjorgensen
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Postby kennethjorgensen » Fri May 08, 2009 3:17 am

todd wrote:The Church is not going to spearhead a LDS Linux project ...
How does "TheLDSLinuxProject.org" sound?

Todd


Tood, I LOVE the thought of "LDS Linux".

I think you are right the church is unlikely to start it but if you get "TheLDSLinuxProject.org" going and you end up with something worthwhile then I would not be surprised if the church will be interested to further explore its potential. People like Tom Welsh and others are keen Linux people.

I do think this whole LDS Linux idea needs some form of summary of what it is to keep it all in focus and not fragmented.

For that reason I have now read through the threads on this subject and allow me to summarise what I (and it' just my opinion, feel free to mould it your own way) now think LDS Linux should be.

Let’s forget about mobiles, Blackberry’s and what will run on church owned PC’s because the issues surrounding them are simply too vast and instead concentrate on making LDS Linux the preferred O/S system used by LDS Families.

My thoughts (based on summary of other people’s ideas too) are that LDS Linux has:


  • Its target towards LDS family PC’s (and not church PC’s so no MLS)


  • A minimal Linux distribution (LIVE CD, install to HD or via WMware) with only the bare essentials (get ideas from Edubunto, Ubuntu CE (Christian Edition) etc)


  • LDS themed wallpaper and screensavers.


  • Firefox as web browser with lds.org as homepage and maybe predefined favourite LDS websites.


  • For Office, email and calendar you can use two options: 1) Install Open Office, Thunderbird and Sunbird OR 2) Use Google Docs, Mail and Calendars in connection with Google Gears for offline usage.


  • Family History program options loaded (or selective install?). 3 options: 1) PAF to run through Wine?, 2) Alternatively use Free or GRAMP, 3) Use the new Family Search through web browser.


  • Web filtering solution preloaded (Dans Guardian or similar)


  • Acrobat Reader, Flash and other “needed” add-on’s preloaded.


  • Scripture program loaded (or desktop shortcut to scriptures on lds.org). My personal favourite was readscriptures.com's online version (based (I think) on Joe Hewitt's iUI - see here for example)


  • Anything else? Maybe family finance program or storage program but not sure what is available for Linux.


  • More?

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Postby russellhltn » Fri May 08, 2009 10:42 am

Nice summery. Note that you would probably need to obtain permission to distribute PAF as part of the image.
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marianomarini
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Postby marianomarini » Fri May 08, 2009 11:13 am

Anything else? Maybe family finance program or storage program but not sure what is available for Linux.

Of course!
1. Family Finance: HomeBank, gnuCash
2. Storage program: mmh? I think could be a new project!
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rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Fri May 08, 2009 5:03 pm

dkjorgi wrote:...
  • Acrobat Reader, Flash and other “needed” add-on’s preloaded.
...


RussellHltn wrote:Nice summery. Note that you would probably need to obtain permission to distribute PAF as part of the image.


Acrobat Reader, Adobe's Flash player are also non-OSS. It would be necessary to look into the terms under which they could be redistributed before including them. I understand there is an open-source flash player being developed, but I have not heard an announcement that it is ready for prime time.

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Postby russellhltn » Fri May 08, 2009 8:11 pm

rmrichesjr wrote:Acrobat Reader, Adobe's Flash player are also non-OSS. It would be necessary to look into the terms under which they could be redistributed before including them. I understand there is an open-source flash player being developed, but I have not heard an announcement that it is ready for prime time.


I think Adobe is open to it, you just have to jump through their hoops. The church is probably the same for PAF. At any rate, it should be looked into more deeply rather then immediately disqualify them from consideration.
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rmrichesjr
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Postby rmrichesjr » Fri May 08, 2009 8:19 pm

I agree the non-OSS applications should be looked into. I did not intend to imply they should be dropped from consideration, just that the looking-into needs to be done.

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Postby meffordm » Tue May 12, 2009 2:02 pm

First of all, let me start off by saying that I appreciate and commend what is attempted here. The idea of an OS aimed at LDS members is cool. But, here are some of my thoughts:

Why create another flavor of Linux? With so many versions out there, it almost seems like re-inventing the wheel for something that can be achieved another way. But, let's assume we write a new flavor with all of these LDS features. What about the many members who already have an OS they like? Will they be expected to "convert" to this new one in order to get these LDS features? Or, will these features be available to them through some other means? And, if they can be distributed without the need of a particular OS, then why create a new flavor of Linux?

I propose a simpler solution. First, allow members to use what ever OS they choose. This is agency. Then, provide standardized, LDS based software to run on the different OSes. This is the future of computing.

Now, let me explain. I know people who use Linux, Windows, and Mac and one is not about to change to another. If we create an OS that will run LDS apps and don't provide them for other OS users, then we are excluding a vast majority, just as Linux users have been excluded in the past (and even still today). This only fosters more dis-harmony and sets one above another. However, to include all and allow all to benefit, it makes more sense to assemble and/or create a set of LDS apps that are standardized and run on any platform. This could mean anything from an app compiled to each popular architecture (Linux, Windows, Mac) or an app compiled to one cross-platform architecture (Java or Mono/.Net). The advantage here really is wonderful, because instead of writing limiting, Linux specific code, we would be sharing across a much broader spectrum our desire to further the Lord's Work.

Which apps would I include in an LDS based set? I suggest a genealogy app, a Scripture study app, meeting tracking apps, progress tracking apps, etc. And remember, these must be standardized. This type of a project will not work if we promote PAF for Windows users and GRAMPS for everyone else, or something like that. The same genealogy app used on Linux must be the same one used on Windows, etc.

I also see where one goal of the LDS Linux Project is to provide an easily obtainable OS in other parts of the world. Why? Flavors of Linux have already been ported to so many hardware architectures that it's already easily obtainable anywhere in the world where there are computers. And speaking of hardware, if we make an LDS Linux, then we have to maintain its hardware compatibility over time. Considering how fast hardware changes, who wants to volunteer for that? It would be wiser to let current Linux handlers worry about this, and for us to focus on maintaining our LDS apps.

Some in here have also suggested an LDS based toolbar for Firefox or an LDS themed GUI. These do not need a new OS. Why not simply create a Firefox add-on or a GUI theme?

So I guess, from my point of view, I don't understand the need for an LDS Linux flavor. But I'm not saying it wouldn't be cool to see one out there as a choice. However, I do see a need for standardized, LDS based software that is available to all. I also don't think the Church should have to maintain it. The Church should only be expected to maintain the information and databases for accuracy, while we as members should use or talents to further the Work.

Though, I would like to see an LDS based OSS project.


Michael.

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Postby kennethjorgensen » Wed May 13, 2009 3:46 am

meffordm wrote:I propose a simpler solution. First, allow members to use what ever OS they choose. This is agency.


The idea of LDS Linux (as I personally see it and that might differ from other people's idea) was only to create an environment (O/S) where everything LDS-related was preloaded instead of having to install it all afterwards.
As a persons life is emerged into the gospel these things become more important than many other things.
As for choosing this is exactly that, a choice, an alternative solution.

meffordm wrote:Then, provide standardized, LDS based software to run on the different OSes. This is the future of computing.


Isn't that one of the reasons why web-apps are so ideal and popular?
Are there any apps or challenges you can see where a web-app (or Wine) cannot be used?

meffordm wrote:Now, let me explain. I know people who use Linux, Windows, and Mac and one is not about to change to another.


I fully agree here. I am not about to replace my belowed Windows XP with LDS Linux either but I do see value in giving my kids or wife LDS Linux as their primary O/S and myself having it as dual-boot or as a VmWare image.
If they can crack Wine to work with all needed Windows apps then why not.

meffordm wrote:If we create an OS that will run LDS apps and don't provide them for other OS users, then we are excluding a vast majority, just as Linux users have been excluded in the past (and even still today). This only fosters more dis-harmony and sets one above another.


I assume you are just thinking about desktop apps. Wouldnt this issue disappear with the creation of writing web apps?
Or if you really want a desktop app why not use Wine for these apps?

meffordm wrote:This could mean anything from an app compiled to each popular architecture (Linux, Windows, Mac) or an app compiled to one cross-platform architecture (Java or Mono/.Net). The advantage here really is wonderful, because instead of writing limiting, Linux specific code, we would be sharing across a much broader spectrum our desire to further the Lord's Work.


Personally I think there are some huge challenges in creating cross-platform desktop apps. I use .NET and see the pain of having to take apps back from 3.5 to 1.1 so if thats an issue then compiling with Mono could also prove a bigger challenge than we realise. Thats before we think about the legal issues over Mono where I believe only Novell customers can use Mono (unless there has been a change in their deal with MS)

meffordm wrote: Which apps would I include in an LDS based set? I suggest a genealogy app, a Scripture study app, meeting tracking apps, progress tracking apps, etc. And remember, these must be standardized. This type of a project will not work if we promote PAF for Windows users and GRAMPS for everyone else, or something like that. The same genealogy app used on Linux must be the same one used on Windows, etc.


Isnt this where NewFamilySearch come in to solve that kind of problem?

As for the meeting and progress tracking app then I fully agree. A generic project/task application with sync link to calendars (maybe even through RSS) would go a long way. I see this developed to be simple enough and yet allow for the creation of template project/tasks. Ideally web-based to allow easier updates to other people's tasks'/progress. Thats the wish anyway.

meffordm wrote: I also see where one goal of the LDS Linux Project is to provide an easily obtainable OS in other parts of the world. Why? Flavors of Linux have already been ported to so many hardware architectures that it's already easily obtainable anywhere in the world where there are computers.


I didnt see that point either about the rest of the world etc which is why I saw LDS Linux simply being a flavour based on an existing Linux distro so "all" we create is an LDS environment with every needful thing preloaded.

meffordm wrote: Some in here have also suggested an LDS based toolbar for Firefox or an LDS themed GUI. These do not need a new OS. Why not simply create a Firefox add-on or a GUI theme?


The add-on has already been created but whole point here is to just gather "every needful thing".

meffordm wrote: So I guess, from my point of view, I don't understand the need for an LDS Linux flavor. But I'm not saying it wouldn't be cool to see one out there as a choice.


I am sure we can survive without it but in these days of dual-boot and virtualisation being much easier I see a gap worth exploring for those who really believe in this.
The whole point is exactly that "having a choice".

The reason why I like it (in the format I tried to describe it) is that it will be an LDS enviroment on your PC with "every needful thing" preloaded. People like myself and others probably already have most of the things but there are still many LDS people out there probably without it all.
To name one example, I wonder how many people already have a web-filter (such as K9 and others) installed on their router or their PC. I suspect they dont for one simple reason: "They dont know it exists" and yet they could benefit greatful from having one.

meffordm wrote:However, I do see a need for standardized, LDS based software that is available to all.


Since the LDS related software I am thinking about will be a mix of church, member and non-member developed software that is why I think this collection (LDS Linux) could work.

meffordm wrote:I also don't think the Church should have to maintain it. The Church should only be expected to maintain the information and databases for accuracy, while we as members should use or talents to further the Work.


Thats the ideal I would like to see too. The NewFamilySearch API, LDSAccount, even a Scripture API etc are all steps in the right direction but I assume there will also be a limit to how much details the church is willing to expose through API's to third-party applications.

What I like about this whole discussion is that Todd started it with a basic idea and through input and discussions with others I see the original idea now having changed somewhat. Many seem to have been inspired by other people's comments and ideas and then added their own extra work to it and this is the way things evolve.

I think it is worth quoting Tom for what he wrote a while back:
tomw wrote:As far as an LDSOS distro goes, I think it would be a great community project for families. Eventually the Church could take a look at it but I think it would be best to build one for families. Gramps is a good alternative to PAF, OpenOffice for MS Office, Firefox -> IE, etc. Build it with a squid proxy filter in to help with internet filtering and you could make a cool homework computer.


Now I guess its just up to Todd (or anyone else I guess) to see if they agree with all these suggestions and then come out with the scope, work needed, resource etc...


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