Is there a gospel library version configured to run on a standard Linux distribution?

Discussions around the Android version of the LDS Tools application
kb0zxx
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Is there a gospel library version configured to run on a standard Linux distribution?

Postby kb0zxx » Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:25 pm

I have searched both the Wiki and the Forum in an effort to find a version of Gospel Library that will run on my Ubuntu 10.10 installation and have not found any thing. I have found a number of postings related to Android and other linux based platforms but nothing for a "vanilla" standard linux distribution. Did I miss something?

Thanks,

Lee

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:28 am

kb0zxx wrote:I have searched both the Wiki and the Forum in an effort to find a version of Gospel Library that will run on my Ubuntu 10.10 installation and have not found any thing. I have found a number of postings related to Android and other linux based platforms but nothing for a "vanilla" standard linux distribution. Did I miss something?


Although there are mobile applications for Gospel Library that work on a variety of mobile platforms, it seems that the assumption for desktop systems is that you would simply use a browser and navigate to lds.org, then use the Study section of the Menu that is there. That will give you full access to all the Gospel Library content, regardless of what desktop platform you are using.

What are you looking for that is not provided by the extensive resources on lds.org as accessed through a standard browser?
Questions that can benefit the larger community should be asked in a public forum, not a private message.

kb0zxx
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Postby kb0zxx » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:01 pm

Thanks for your response. I will try accessing the Gospel Library via my browser.

Thanks again.

mark_h_dewey
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Postby mark_h_dewey » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:03 pm

The Gospel Library would actually be very useful as an installation for Linux, if it had all the same features as the Android App. I prefer to use it via Android on VirtualBox than to use the website. I don't recommend the VirtualBox method to anyone but advanced users, though, since Android isn't that easy to set up on Linux. (Don't assume all Linux users are advanced, or even intermediate, users. Even small children use Linux. The learning curve is primarily for admins and people who want to do non-standard stuff like use Android on Linux.)

What features does the Browser lack?

1. Offline access. This is the main thing.
2. Speed (by comparison)
3. Ease of access, navigation and all that
4. Night mode
5. No need to sign in every time.
6. More convenient configuration of text size that won't interfere with other things.
7. The ability to customize text alignment.
8. Bookmarks that aren't mixed in with other things.
9. A dedicated app: Less distractions from the rest of the web, and less temptation to do something else.
10. A more unified interface for accessing all the content, with less stuff on the way to what you're looking for. (That stuff is good, but if I'm just looking to read, it's another hurdle on the way to reading.)

Margins used to be an issue, but they aren't anymore. I like the narrower margins on the web scriptures a lot.

As a side-note, for those interested in getting the Gospel Library working in Linux (as well as other Android apps), here is how (it is slower than the original, depending on your computer, but still fast enough to be nice); I've only tested this on Debian and an older version of Ubuntu (before Unity came out):
1. Have VirtualBox 4.1 installed. 4.2 doesn't work very well with this.
2. Download android-x86-vm-20120130.iso from somewhere. No other iso I've tried works.
3. Set up a VirtualBox thing for Android. Choose Linux, and version 2.6.
4. Set up the ISO to boot like a CD.
5. Run the installation.
6. Install it somehow, but make sure to make the fake SD card and give yourself plenty of RAM.
7. Download the Amazon App Store. You can't ethically get Google Play to work on it, as far as I can tell. You can do it, but I don't think Google approves.
8. Get the Gospel Library from the Amazon app store.
9. Use it.

Oh, you'll also want to know that you'll want to shut down Android every time you're done instead of saving the machine state. If you save the machine state, the Internet won't work when you open it again, until you restart it.

I've heard you can get it working in VMware, too.

To get around the lack of night mode for those who don't want to use VirtualBox on Linux, here's a very nice tip:

Download xcalib (you can use apt-get or Synaptic or whatever). You can use the following command to instantly invert the colors:

xcalib -invert -alter

What I did was create a script and put it in a folder called bin in your home directory. Mark the script as executable in your permissions. Have it's contents be these:
#!/bin/bash

xcalib -invert -alter

Then save it. Then go to System->Preferences->Startup Applications. Then add your script to that, and your computer's account will startup with the colors inverted.

All the whites will be black and the blacks will be white, is what I mean.

Now, as far as offline access goes, I don't know of a legal way of doing that without using a virtual machine or the Windows emulator (the virtual machine is a far better way).

Anyway, Ubuntu does have an app store, and Ubuntu is usable on mobile devices (that's why Unity looks like it does, it seems, to cater to mobile devices, like tablets). So, creating an app for Linux isn't just for Desktop/laptop use. People are going to have a harder time with smaller tablet/phone screens if they have to use a web browser (especially if they're away from a wifi hotspot, like with a tablet on the road).

A Linux Gospel Library app would be very useful. I bet you could get a lot of volunteers from the Linux community to help program it, too (the vineyard site would be great for that, perhaps). People might have already done it, had they legal access to the reading material.

I can see how a Linux app wouldn't be a priority right now, but as less people care about Windows with the popularity of mobile apps (and the expense of Windows 8), they're going to be less willing to fork out a bunch of money for it for their desktops, and they'll see there's something free that's just as good (Linux). Linux is gaining popularity faster than any operating system, currently. That's not to say everyone's talking about it. It's not a commercial fad that goes in and out. Because it's free-software, that means it's constant. Some company going bankrupt isn't going to do it in. Lack of popularity won't do it in. It's just there for people to pick up and put down as they will, according to their wants. Not to mention how other popular operating systems and services rely on Linux (such as Android).

It should be noted that Android apps are written in Java. That means, at least half of the work for creating an app on Linux is already done. We just need a different user interface for it, since the Android GUI libraries don't yet work on Linux, as far as I can tell. Someone might make that possible in the near future, though, if they haven't already: in that case, there wouldn't be much work at all to port it.

Something nice instead of a Linux app would be just to make a download for the regular HTML website to make it accessible offline, and make a way to sync your highlights/notes and stuff with the online one. That would be cross-platform. However, you'd likely have the same problem as TiddlyWikis do if you went that route—the permissions that web browsers require with offline files can be annoying in this case. If you made a web browser specifically for this purpose, however, you could circumvent that. Just make sure it doesn't do offline files that aren't associated with the Gospel Library, or else it'll pose security problems.

I really like the changes that have occurred in the web scriptures, lately, though. I'm not putting it down. It's actually really nice, and improving well.

Anyway, for me personally, it's not the end of the world if you don't make a Linux app. I have a Kindle Fire. But, I think it would be really awesome if you did, and I'd definitely use it.

liahona27
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Gospel Library for Linux

Postby liahona27 » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:11 pm

aebrown wrote:
What are you looking for that is not provided by the extensive resources on lds.org as accessed through a standard browser?


Gospel library has additional study tools, such as the link feature, not available on the website itself. I have also found the highlighting and note functions on lds.org to be inconsistent with effectively using the Android app on my phone. When I navigate or search within the Notes section of the Android app, many times it doesn't display any sort of identifying information for what the marked/annotated references are. I get around this by using the Title feature in the app whenever I make a note or highlight. I find it redundant to have to put the chapter and verse, or talk reference in the Title field, but at least that works sufficiently.

However, the marking functions on LDS.org don't allow me to insert any such title. So when the annotations I make from the website sync to the Gospel Library on my phone, they're not labeled properly. Navigating to those references via the Notes section becomes a hassle, and I have to go in and label each one via the Android app.

If LDS.org had the Title field for each of the references (and the link function!) I would be content to use it.

LarryWP
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Re: Is there a gospel library version configured to run on a standard Linux distribution?

Postby LarryWP » Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:14 pm

With Ubuntu Touch starting to expand, Linux is not just a desktop OS anymore. And the fact that the Gospel Library app works off-line is very valuable to me, especially on my tablet, which only has WiFi, no cell data.

This also applies to LDS Tools just as much as to Gospel Library.

I don't want a Windows phone or tablet, but they are very common now and having these tools work off-line would be very valuable to the people who use them.

The world has shifted and Android and IOS are not the only mobile platforms anymore.

Would you be open to having help from outside developers, similar to open source?

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sbradshaw
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Re: Is there a gospel library version configured to run on a standard Linux distribution?

Postby sbradshaw » Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:51 pm

LarryWP wrote:Would you be open to having help from outside developers, similar to open source?

The first iterations of the official scriptures app were developed with help from the community, but since then the Church has moved it internally. One of the big reasons for this is the private APIs used to access LDS Account (which is controlled pretty tightly because it's the key to a lot of data, depending on calling or responsibilities of the member) and gospel content (not all of which is owned by the Church, and what is owned by the Church is distributed carefully to make sure, for example, a third party doesn't publish a modified copy of the scriptures and present it as official).

The Windows version of Gospel Library (developed for tablets and phones, but it also runs on desktop computers because of Microsoft's platform decisions) is developed on a volunteer basis. However, most (or all?) of those volunteers are employees who work for the Church on other projects. If the mobile version of Windows continues to grow and proves to be successful, it's likely that that will become a regular funded project like iOS and Android.

The Church has had a lot of departmental projects where volunteers could contribute, but they've rotated through several iterations and are still trying to figure things out. LDSTech has changed in scope and purpose a couple of times. Vineyard.LDS.org was introduced back in 2011, and was replaced by Volunteer.LDS.org a couple of years ago (which never really left beta). Just this morning, it was announced that Volunteer.LDS.org is going away and will be superseded by the simpler Volunteer Time and Talent page of LDS.org. FamilySearch is experimenting with volunteer translation, and Create.LDS.org has had a few successful projects. Each initiative has served its purpose for a time.

Anyway, this is probably a longer answer than you were looking for – but I hope that something stable is figured out to help volunteers be successful in departmental volunteer projects. I know this discussion is ongoing in multiple departments.
Samuel Bradshaw • Interested in church apps and sites, creative recordkeeping, clerk support, YSA wards and stakes, LDS music, Vineyard at BYU, and online service.


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