Get Results with Free and Open Source Software

Spreadsheets, advanced document preparation, database applications, high quality graphics, responsive web browsers  .....  Do you want to avoid vendor contracts and lock-in, ensure you are using open standards for file formats, have ongoing support, and avoid using illegal, pirated software?  Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) offers us the alternatives to proprietary lock-in with its up-front licencing costs, ongoing upgrade fees and closed formats. While the Total Cost of Ownership for reputable FOSS is lower than proprietary alternatives, the real benefits are in the open source of the code, open standards, and enhanced security through wide developer community input. The Internet has plenty of pro / con arguments on this topic .... first you need to cut through the marketing hype. Better to check for yourself....

My favourite FOSS productivity applications include the replacement for proprietary office suites, LibreOffice, Gimp  image editing, Firefox browser, 7Zip compression, PostgreSQL database, VLC - the video player with much more ...

If you just want to try these without installing the program, try the versions at Portable Apps.

Tag: foss

Accelerating Publication of Android Bible Apps



Occasionally you come across a program with a significant "Wow" factor.  The Scripture App Builder being developed by SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics) consultants is one such program. This program lets a Bible translator take previously prepared texts, audio and images and combine them to generate a fully functional Android App in a matter of minutes. This blog post by one of the testing team gives some demonstration videos and a good overview of the program. While still in development, the program is now at the beta stage and already produces good reliable Apps.

There has been particular attention to ensuring good functionality on low end smart phones such as the Alcatel Pixi which is commonly used throughout Africa and Oceania.

We have had opportunity to test the Scripture App Builder with the Tok Pisin and Bukawa languages in Papua New Guinea and are very impressed with the resulting Apps. The Tok Pisin App was built using the text from and NT audio drama from Faith Comes By Hearing. We hope to make these new Apps available once the testing phase of the Scripture App Builder  program development is completed.



Tag: e-bible android

Image Manipulation with GIMP


It can be disappointing when we have a set of images to use in a web page or mobile app but they have a background colour which leaves an unwanted rectangular border or background, instead of cleanly merging with the page background.  GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) can help us with manipulation of these images to allow the transparency needed for the image to merge seamlessly with the page barkground.  GIMP is a powerful image editor with capabilities and output quality similar to the popular but expensive Photoshop program.

In this article we will take a JPG image with a white background and convert it into the PNG format with "Alpha" channel transparency. The first section of the article takes us through the process for converting, resizing and exporting an  individual image.  The second part of the article extends this with use of a great batch process plugin, BIMP,  which handles multiple procedures with a batch of images and allows us to save the procedure for future use.

The programs are freely provided by their respective authors and if you find them useful, please check their websites and donate for their continued development.


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Sword and Android e-Bibles

And Bible app

Its been a bit of a fun learning curve developing "sword" modules. The Tok Pisin module was quite easy as the hard work had already been done (see PNG The process from here only needed to download the Tok Pisin OSIS formatted text from the ebible repository and run it through the sword utility, "osis2mod".. For this initial test, I used the Tok Pisin version without Apocrypha/Deuterocanon, as found in the Buk Baibel  "green" book.

The "Sios Kalenda" for ELCPNG was a bit more work, needing formatting with "OSIS" markup and "IMP" date formats, before running through the "imp2ld" utility.

These "unofficial" modules are provided here for testing against the various sword front ends - (Ogas-Dec)  /  (without Apocrypha/Deuterocanon).

Both modules work well on the Android platform (>2.3.3) using BibleTime-Mini (current version at July, 2014 : 1-1-1).

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