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Is Bible Software Short-lived?

That is a fair question to ask. Quite a few people are spending rather large sums of money on Bible software and electronic resources, and quite naturally they would like to know that their investment is safe. The truth of the matter is that there are far too many things that lie outside our control. For one thing, there is no way we can be sure that the company that develops and markets our software will be in business in two years' or ten year's time. Besides, all current software is provided to us "as is" (I simply hate this expression, don't you?), backwards compatibility is not guaranteed for life, and there are far too many propriety formats (or, to put it another way, no universally agreed upon publishing standard like PDF). On the other hand, operating systems are also continually being updated, and experience tells us that there comes inevitably a point in every development cycle when previous versions may not be supported anymore. Then there is the media itself. Theoretically, some of the physical media being used today (e.g., CDs and DVD-ROMs) are going to last for a good number of years, but we don't know for sure how long. We cannot even be certain that future devices will continue to support these media. All of the above are legitimate concerns, and it would be interesting to know other people's opinion on the matter. But, hey, I am not a fool, and do not intend to bite the hand that feeds me. I firmly believe we should all go "digital." However, I am also convinced that we have to be clear as to what users can reasonably expect from the Bible software industry at large. It is true that many of these comments could be applied equally well to many other fields. Printed books can also catch fire or deteriorate over time. Nevertheless, a good rule of thumb is this: whatever you consider to be a valuable tool/resource, do your best to get it in print, even if you already own an electronic copy. It is a proven fact that printed and electronic resources can happily get along together, and that it is wise to diversify one's investments. It is not a matter or "either/or", but rather of "both/and."



This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 6, 2004 10:39 PM.

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