Why are Windows projects closed source? Official response?

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jaycenornin
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Why are Windows projects closed source? Official response?

Postby jaycenornin » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:38 pm

There has been a lot of wondering and questioning about the Windows 8 and Windows Phone Gospel Library and LDS Tools apps. Things definitely calmed down a bit after the release of the Windows 8 app. The trouble is that all of these apps are released in a quasi-beta state and aren't getting any updates: the Windows Phone Gospel Library app last received an update on 24 Jan 2013 and it's still full of bugs and missing very basic features.

So my question is can we get some kind of official response as to why these projects aren't opened to the development community here? I'd like an official response from someone connected to and aware of the current status of the (presently) closed source Windows projects in order to help put an end to the speculation and bewilderment of community members on this topic.

Related to opening the projects to the community, there is plenty of community support ready to help and certainly a number of developers who would rather help with the official apps than write their own. The Windows Mobile app projects used to be open source (and, if you dig enough, much of the code is still available on SVN). Most of the would-be community developers are also users of the Windows 8/Phone platforms who deal with the bugs and missing features on a regular basis.

So far the best speculative reason I can come up with for the projects remaining closed source is that the church owns Apple stock. I do know the Windows Store has some restrictions on the use of some particular open-source licenses, but I think if that is the issue it can easily be worked around.

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sbradshaw
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Re: Why are Windows projects closed source? Official respons

Postby sbradshaw » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:12 pm

It's not just Windows 8 and Windows Phone; it seems a lot of the projects are turning internal instead of being community-supported.

For example, on iOS, Gospel Library 3 was almost completely done quietly and internally until beta testing at the end. Also, the Android version of LDS Music is being developed by someone – you can get the beta from ldsmobiletester.com – but the community project (which does exist) for LDS Music for Android is silent!

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mckhendry
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Re: Why are Windows projects closed source? Official respons

Postby mckhendry » Mon Sep 09, 2013 3:11 pm

I would really like to participate and contribute to any of the Windows Phone or Windows Store apps. It's discouraging to not see any available projects that I could begin contributing to (or at least observing). Hopefully this will be addressed during the tech conference in October.

It's disheartening when someone ask for volunteers, then asks what your skillset is, then says nevermind. While that's not exactly what's happening here, it can feel like it at times. I mean, there are published apps that need help, and there's a platform that is growing very, very quickly. Windows Phone is already the #2 smartphone OS in all of Latin America.

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aebrown
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Re: Why are Windows projects closed source? Official respons

Postby aebrown » Mon Sep 09, 2013 6:10 pm

mckhendry wrote:I mean, there are published apps that need help, and there's a platform that is growing very, very quickly. Windows Phone is already the #2 smartphone OS in all of Latin America.

I'm not sure where your statistics come from, but according to the latest Garner figures, Microsoft is only up to 3.3% of the worldwide market for smartphones, up from 2.6% last year. I guess you could say that is over 25% year over year growth, but compared with the 79% share for Android and 14% for iOS, it seems that Microsoft phones are already getting a disproportionately large share of the Church's development resources.

jaycenornin
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Re: Why are Windows projects closed source? Official respons

Postby jaycenornin » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:32 pm

aebrown wrote:
mckhendry wrote:I mean, there are published apps that need help, and there's a platform that is growing very, very quickly. Windows Phone is already the #2 smartphone OS in all of Latin America.

I'm not sure where your statistics come from, but according to the latest Garner figures, Microsoft is only up to 3.3% of the worldwide market for smartphones, up from 2.6% last year. I guess you could say that is over 25% year over year growth, but compared with the 79% share for Android and 14% for iOS, it seems that Microsoft phones are already getting a disproportionately large share of the Church's development resources.


He specifically mentioned Latin America, while your statistics are global. There's a term for that logical fallacy, though I can't remember it off the top of my head. A quick search on my own proves it difficult to find any statistics on smartphone usage in Latin America as a whole.

And frankly, statistics are meaningless anyway. If the community is willing and able to contribute, there is absolutely no reason why the church should have to devote any resources to development on the Windows platform.

And that's what the ultimate purpose of this thread is. There are enough volunteer developers that the apps for Windows could be developed completely free of cost (outside of hosting costs for the forums and SVN, that are shared among platforms). A service missionary can submit updates to the Windows store and our precious tithing can be directed to more important expenses (such as temple building or welfare).

It's not a money issue, it's not a resource issue. I can only imagine that it's a legal issue, but I can't imagine any such legal issue that could explain the lack of progress or communication regarding the Windows platform. I can think of legal issues to encourage development - currently the LDS Tools app on Windows Phone has no password protection - that's a big deal.

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aebrown
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Re: Why are Windows projects closed source? Official respons

Postby aebrown » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:34 am

jaycenornin wrote:He specifically mentioned Latin America, while your statistics are global. There's a term for that logical fallacy, though I can't remember it off the top of my head. A quick search on my own proves it difficult to find any statistics on smartphone usage in Latin America as a whole.

The global statistics seem quite relevant. It wouldn't really matter if Microsoft completely dominated the Luxembourg market -- it's still a question of the overall usage of the various platforms. Of course, the real question that we'd all love to know is what devices the actual membership of the Church uses (and with Latin America being the second largest continent/region in the Church, it could well have a larger impact than the world at large), but I doubt that such statistics have been gathered.

jaycenornin wrote:And frankly, statistics are meaningless anyway. If the community is willing and able to contribute, there is absolutely no reason why the church should have to devote any resources to development on the Windows platform.

Actually, there is. Managing an open source project still takes Church resources; it's certainly not inconceivable that the management of such a project takes more scarce resources than just developing the project, depending on the requirements associated with the project.

The bottom line is that those responsible are very aware of the various markets and the resources available and the competing projects and they are doing the best they can to balance all those priorities. What ends up getting done doesn't always match my personal priorities, but I have to trust that the best decisions are being made.

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mckhendry
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Re: Why are Windows projects closed source? Official respons

Postby mckhendry » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:43 pm

aebrown wrote:
mckhendry wrote:I mean, there are published apps that need help, and there's a platform that is growing very, very quickly. Windows Phone is already the #2 smartphone OS in all of Latin America.

I'm not sure where your statistics come from, but according to the latest Garner figures, Microsoft is only up to 3.3% of the worldwide market for smartphones, up from 2.6% last year. I guess you could say that is over 25% year over year growth, but compared with the 79% share for Android and 14% for iOS, it seems that Microsoft phones are already getting a disproportionately large share of the Church's development resources.


http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/pre ... tampr.aspx

luiscabrera
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Re: Why are Windows projects closed source? Official respons

Postby luiscabrera » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:39 pm

So, was there an official response? It seems like if we count the Windows 8 Operating System, that is pretty big group of people. For instance, I have been looking for a way to search the scriptures in Spanish on my Windows 8 tablet... I can't even find the ePub version of the book of Mormon in Spanish. :-(

No love for Windows users?

jaycenornin
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Re: Why are Windows projects closed source? Official respons

Postby jaycenornin » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:06 pm

So far, no, no official response. Unless somebody said something at LDS Tech conference (I missed it).
No love for Windows users :(

:EDIT:
I should append this - apparently there's an LDS Music for W8/WP project now listed. The status was set to Public on Oct 9, according to the announcement on the Google groups page. So yes, there's some love for Windows users. Of course, I didn't know about it until now. So there are probably a lot of other supporters on here who are equally unaware. So spread the word. If enough people sign up and make progress with development, it will demonstrate how committed this community is :)

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Re: Why are Windows projects closed source? Official respons

Postby russellhltn » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:23 pm

jaycenornin wrote:No love for Windows users :(


I'd say no public display of affection. The last app came out of nowhere with no signs that it was in progress.
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