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Open Source some of the Family History software?

Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 11:26 am
by Hillshum-p40
So, I'm wondering, should the Church maybe open source stuff like PAF, the FamilySearchIndexing app, etc?

What are the main problems with doing this?

Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 5:59 am
by AllredLT
I can't speak specifically to PAF and indexing, but I enquired about this a while back for PAF for Mac (Family Records) and was told that they had licensed code from third parties, so therefore not only could they not open source it, but they couldn't give it away for free either due to royalty requirements.

Code that they've written entirely in-house wouldn't have those restrictions, and I do know there are some projects they would like to make more open, but they are cautious and must make sure everything is done properly, so it can take a while. There are legal issues, perception issues, the support and infrastructure needed to maintain the projects and community over time, and sometimes technical issues of cleaning up the code and removing any non-public information from it.

They do have a somewhat open source-ish project in the works now for the ward/stake web sites. They will probably work on the kinks there and then start opening up more code as they feel comfortable.

Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 2:50 pm
by steph.younger
The opensource discussion comes up in the genealogy community a lot more often than people think (usually when discussing cross-platform software), but I've never seen it get very far where FamilySearch is concerned. The most widely used piece of software that I'm aware of is GRAMPS (, but there are several others at SourceForge in various stages of development.

My understanding is that the DevNet community is open (no pun intended) to the idea of developing something to use the API and looking for participants. There was even a webinar last August ( If you'd like to participate, I'm pretty sure that all the info (including who to contact) is available at the DevNet website.

- Stephen

Posted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:36 am
by Hillshum-p40
So the church is interested in open sourcing some of its software. Cool.