Apps Roundup #2: Focus on Bibletime 1.0

The weekly Apps Roundup column has turned out to be not-so-weekly this far, but in the second installment I go much further in-depth and take a closer look at Bibletime, a scripture-study program for those of the Judaeo-Christian faiths. Because I went crazy with the screenshots, the review is
available here. Enjoy!

Dot Categories: 


by Eric (not verified)

I see that there has been LOTS of apps released since the last app roundup. I know there is a new beta of Aethera, and a few other Kompany apps. Its good that you focus on an app, but don't forget to "roundup" at least a couple other apps that have been released.

by someone (not verified)

Don't forget a new beta version of Qt was released.

Just a quibble: Usually Judaism and Christianity aren't considered a single "faith."

by Eric Laffoon (not verified)

> Just a quibble: Usually Judaism and Christianity aren't considered a single "faith."

Sure, they're not... however Christianity differs from Judaism in that Christians believe that Christ was the promised messiah where as the Jewish belief does not.

They are rooted in the same history and the Christian old testament is essentially Hebrew text.

Yes, I understand that. I was only correcting Dre's phrasing of "the Judaeo-Christian faith." If you mean Christian, just say Christian.

Rakko, living happily without faith and not wanting to start a flamewar, but annoyed at the overuse of phrases such as "Judeo-Christian"

by Zach Hartley (not verified)

I believe he actually said *faiths* as in faiths rooted in Judeo-Christian theory.

by Per Wigren (not verified)

Please don't include this one in the distribution!

If v2.0 will include support for at least 10 different religions, ok, go for it, otherwise don't!

// Per Wigren, agnostic

by Andreas Pietzowski (not verified)

Sure, KDE should be a free desktop and not a religious assimilation-software!

by Andreas Pietzowski (not verified)

Uups, you should also allow lower-case Tags ;-)

by Andreas Pietzowski (not verified)

Really off-topic, but the "Allowed HTML" does not work exactly (or is it my fault? ;-)

If you look just below the comment box you'll notice the "encoding" listbox, with "Plain Text" selected by default. For HTML tags to work, you have to select HTML encoding. However, that has been disabled on this site for a _very_ long time and the admins seem reluctant to let us post in HTML again since the site was defaced (even though HTML comment bodies weren't the problem, the problem was in the name/title fields!)

by Felix Rodriguez (not verified)

Why should this particular application be excluded just because it is religious in nature? It would be like excluding a recipe software because you have something against chefs.

by Per Wigren (not verified)

No, it's not. Religion is the cause of many wars. I have never heard of a war started by chefs because they couldn't agree on recipes.. :)
And BTW, I don't think a recipe program with fixed recipes would be of much use... :)

KDE is distributed and used all over the world. Christianity is the smallest of all world religions. I bet that there are some islam countries that will *BAN* the whole of KDE if Bibeltime is included.

(Disclaimer: My mother tongue is not english and I don't know the english names of most religions, books and even less how to spell them. That's why I have a hard time keeping this debate in english:)

by David G. Watson (not verified)

I REALLY don't want to start a flamewar, but Christianity is definitely NOT the smallest of the world religions. In fact, if you count all the different types, it's actually the LARGEST. IIRC, there are ~1B Catholics, and ~1B Orthodox/Protestant/Others.

And just to show I'm not smoking crack, from, it says that 33% of the world's population is Christian.

Now, I highly doubt that most of them actually are (just as most people who claim to be Moslem/Buddist/whatever really practice their faith), but going on what people say, doesn't it make sense that there would be a Bible-reading program, and not a Koran-study tool? :)

And I HIGHLY doubt that Islamic countries would ban the Christian Bible. After all, they ACCEPT most of it, except for the New Testament.

Besides - who cares if they do? I just saw on Slashdot yesterday that Afghanistan has outlawed the Internet.

by Per Wigren (not verified)

Ok, I stand corrected, but I was referring to those who practice their religion. I'm probably counted as a christian because I'm born in a christian country (Sweden) and I'm baptised (is that the right word?) in church when I was about 3 months old. I also haven't yet left church yet so I'm still paying their taxes.. Yet, I don't consider myself christian.

if you count all the different types, it's actually the LARGEST.
Is it really one religion if there are so many "different types", and the many members of those different types can't seem get along with one another? For example, Catholics may form the largest portion of Christians, but they aren't exactly buddies with Protestants or Orthodox Church followers. They may have the same fundamental beliefs, but the similarities end there.

Anyway, enough of that rant.

I believe that we have enough religion in our software already (the religion of open source). Do we really need any more? Including this programme in the KDE distro could offend a great many people worldwide (remember, most of the world isn't Christian). We should leave it out and have it freely downloadable on its own just like any other app. People should not be forced to install it if they want KDE.

There is absolutely no harm in leaving it out, but we could open a whole can of worms if we do include it. If someone wants it, they can install it. If they don't, then fine. Everybody is happy.

by Shrek (not verified)

Hey, the server's not accepting HTML as it should!

I have to try several times to post messages, since I keep getting Zope errors.

by Timothy R. Butler (not verified)

You said:
Is it really one religion if there
are so many "different types", and
the many members of those different
types can't seem get along with one
another? For example, Catholics may
form the largest portion of
Christians, but they aren't exactly
buddies with Protestants or Orthodox
Church followers. They may have the
same fundamental beliefs, but the
similarities end there.

Actually the similarities don't end there. While we have our disagreements on certain issues, for the most part Christians can set this aside (there are always exceptions to such rules), and recognize that we truly are one religon - the
one universal Christian church (Catholic means universal, btw). Just so you know my position, I am a evangelical protestant Christian. Now, I will quit, since I don't think that the Dot is a good place to get in a theological discussion, but I just had to point this out as David's figures are very much correct - Christianity is the largest religion according to more than just one poll.

That aside, I would ask why anyone is getting in an uproar about a simple review of a Bible program.


OK since you brought it up. I'm catholic and i'm buddies and have biblestudy with protestants on a weekly basis. In fact the Catholic church has letters of understanding with several protestant churches. So your statements are a bit misleading. In reality we are one faith.

Yeah, I did exaggerate a bit to make my point. What I'm trying to say is Christianity is nowhere near as cohesive as other large religions like, say, Hinduism (which would have about a billion followers). But enough of that (it's way off topic).

My main thrust is that there is absolutely no need to include this app in the KDE distribution. Its inclusion would mean that anybody who wants KDE would be forced to install this app (unless they compile tarballs - yuck). Remember, over two thirds (and growing) of the world's population is not Christian, and many Christians are non-practising (especially in more developed nations). Some people may see the forced installation (in that it isn't easy to install KDE without it) as an insult. To get KDE accepted worldwide, we need to make sure that we offend other cultures as little as possible.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not anti-Christian, nor am I against this app existing. It should be freely available, just like any other app. However, I don't believe it is important enough to be included in the KDE distribution. If a distro provider like Mandrake wanted to include it, then fine. Including it in KDE, however, could do more harm than good.

I think that everyone agreed that it would be cool to have it in a seperate package labeled religion.

I have no qualms with that.

by Chris Bordeman (not verified)

I agree it shouldn't be in the distro, since it is clearly not an app most people would use. I think the guy who's motivation is simply to censor anything religious, a prime example of liberal intolerance of any thinking not in line with their own narrow views.

By reading the guy's other posts, I don't believe that he wants to censor anything. He was just saying that it shouldn't be in the main distro (maybe in a separate religion package). The concern is that we should not promote one religion over another, lest we offend other faiths. The best way for KDE to not offend anybody is to do nothing and stay secular (as KDE has always done). There is nothing wrong with this app, but people just shouldn't be forced to install it as part of KDE (they should have the choice). That's what I think he was trying to say, so in other words he is in agreement with us.

by Per Wigren (not verified)

Thank you! My intention was never to start a religious war... :)

I should have been clearer in my first post so I wouldn't get so many flaimbait-answers that I just *HAD* to bite back on.... :-)

May whatever-you-put-your-faith-in be with you!

by Rick Kreikebaum (not verified)

actually, it is not right to group christianity by churches, like protestantism and catholicism and such. christianity should be defined as believing in the bible and living your life accordingly. some common catholic practices such as praying to mary and the saints are simply not biblical, therefore people that follow such practices should not be considered christian regardless of their "label." i'm not saying that people that label themselves by church cannot be true christians. i just think it can be misleading. as a christian, i don't label myself as "babtist" or "catholic" or "protestant" or anything like that. i label myself as "christian," which means "follower of christ," which is what i am.

I wish someone could put together a "One Source" package for the Bible software or any other software groups. It would save a lot of time searching for the particular programmes. Leaving the Bible programme out is not offensive to me. I've never found a Bible in a computer store. However, it would be great to have the "One Source" package for whatever it is I need.

In regards to the comment on "different types" of Christianity. Hmmm. Many people misunderstand what Christianity is and what religion is. They are NOT compatible. Christianity is wrapped up in a person, the Lord Jesus Christ and His provision of our salvation. Religion is wrapped up in self and what we can do to somehow make ourselves more presentable to a holy God. Christianity provides the answer to man's problem of sin. Religion prolongs man's problem of sin and provides to absolute way to find peace with God. I am grateful that God loved us enough to provide a way to escape the punishment of our sins through faith in Christ, unlike the religions of the world. I guess you could say that all religions are created equal...equal in failing to make their adherents acceptable to God.

by Felix Rodriguez (not verified)

Religion isn't the only cause of wars. We can point to Land, Oil, Money etc. Taking your analogy one step further would mean that we should not include a financial application in KDE because money was used to start a war. Or we should no longer drive cars because Oil is evil and it is the cause of many wars.

by Per Wigren (not verified)

Aw, come on! I have no problem with the program. Linux distributions can include it all they want. I just don't think it's right to include it in the *KDE* distribution! A financial application has lots of uses. Bibletime has only ONE use, and that is to study the christian bible.

What if we included a program with the only use to study the satanic black bible (or whatever it is called) instead? Would there be any objections then?

by Felix Rodriguez (not verified)

Ok I concede the point. Maybe it shouldn't be included in the KDE Distribution because it might offend some people.

I was more concerned about people who where looking to use a good bible-study software with KDE would not no that there was one available.

The intention was not to force others to use a product that they would not want to use.

This is no place to spread your anti religous hate!!

This is no place to spread your anti-(anti-religous) hate!!! ;-)

Ok you got me lol

by [Bad-Knees] aka... (not verified)

isent christiannity the largest of all religions?

by David G. Watson (not verified)

Funny you should mention that - Cookbook is going into kdenonbeta as soon as I can get my CVS password fixed :). (It's going into nonbeta because of the freeze, not because it's unstable)

Cookbook is a KDE recipe program written by yours truly - and it's now translated to German, thanks to Kevin Krammer. You can get it at .

by Felix Rodriguez (not verified)

Why should this particular application be excluded just because it is religious in nature? It would be like excluding a recipe software because you have something against chefs.

by Anonymous Troll (not verified)

Actually this application should be excluded because it defies the KDE naming conventions, and does not have a "K" in its name. If it is immediately renamed to KBibleTime, then perhaps it could be considered.

Thank you.

by Otter (not verified)

I agree, and propose Khristianity as the new name.

Note that my Jewish calendar application, KLuach, is fully K-compliant.

This is silly, if you want support for 8 more religions then contribute it!!

It is like if you said: I don't want Wine unless it can run 0S/2 programs too.

Come on, my agnostic friend, don't let your faith shadow your mind! ;-)

by Per Wigren (not verified)

Hey, it's (probably) a great program, but because of the international nature of KDE it shouldn't be included in the *distribution*!

Personally I don't care much about any religion, but a lot of people do! And a lot of people of other religions will feel like it is christian propaganda.

Thats just anti-Christian propaganda. From your own logic if kde isn't combatale with all languages then we should not release it.

by Chris Little (not verified)

Just on a technical note, since you mention internationality, I'd like to point out BibleTime has much more thorough integration of international features than most programs, even on KDE. The interface is localizable. The book names are localizable (and quite easily extended if your locale isn't included already). And the texts come in your choice of over 40 languages.

I know this isn't really your complaint, but I wanted to point out that it is QUITE international.

Different Religious groups could make there own sword plugins. Should the Bibletime team be punished because they have not done that? Or should the sword project be forced to make Buddhist or Hindu plugins? Of course not. Lets not let your anti Christian prejudice cloud your reasoning.

by Eduardo Sanchez (not verified)

100% Agreement with Craig. Per should note the following:

1. BibleTime does *not* include the sacred texts themselves. For that, you should go to the SWORD website, download *and compile* the SWORD manager, and then install the appropriate modules.

2. BibleTime can handle any text, really ANY text that conform to the SWORD standard. Furthermore, it uses the Theological Markup Language (ThML), a subset of XML developed at Calvin College for using at the Christian Classic Ethereal Library (

3. BibleTime is evidence that a KDE application can handle a very large database of rich data types. In that regard, the breaktroughs of the BibleTime developers can be extended further; and I have especially in mind the educational sector, one of the Holy Grails of the Linux desktop. (How's that for a BibleTime-based encyclopaedia?)

BibleTime is something that should make all of us glad, whether we're religious of not. For my part, I am working on a Spanish translation of it; is the least way in which I can support such undertaking.

by Moritz Moeller-... (not verified)

While I am personally agnostic (with an atheistic bias), I think including this program could cause problems for KDE users in Arabic and other intolerant countries. (Saudi-Arabia, Lybia, Afghanistan, Cuba)

Unless you rename the program to a neutral name (K Text Study) and provide access to the Koran and maybe other texts, I would keep it seperate. This is not an antireligious opeinion, I don't care about your beliefs at all, but I think it would damage KDE's reputation in non-christian countries with censorship.

by Chris Bordeman (not verified)

That is a really good point, but I doubt this app would become part of the main distro since most people would never have any use for it.

I think a simple solution would be to create an optional KDE-Religion package for all religious software.

I work for a Christian web site ( and go to Calvin College (where ThML is being developed by Harry Plantinga, one of the CS profs). I think in the general scheme of getting people to use KDE, having religious applications would be helpful. I certainly think Bibletime would be more widely used and appreciated than say, the Fractals Generator. I'm around quite a few Christians that regularly use Bible software; it'd be great to also get them hooked on KDE.

Also ThML is geared designed to meet the needs of religious texts in general. While it has a Christian slant, it has many properties which are useful for marking up other theological texts. Here's the abstract for the spec:

This document describes the Theological Markup Language (ThML), an XML markup language for theological texts. ThML was developed for use in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL), but it is hoped that the language will serve as a royalty-free format for theological texts in other applications. Key design goals are that the language should be (1) rich enough to represent information needed for digital libraries and for theological study involving multiple, related texts, including cross-reference, synchronization, indexing, and scripture references, (2) based on XML and usable with World Wide Web tools, (3) automatically convertible to other common formats, and (4) easy to learn and use. ThML is defined as an XML DTD that extends the Voyager DTD for HTML.

I also don't think Christains would have any problem with inclusions of texts of other faiths. Bibletime may serve as a catalyst for other faiths to work on similar software for their texts.

by Evan "JabberWok... (not verified)

>> If v2.0 will include support for at least 10 different religions, ok, go for it, otherwise don't!

I agree. If:

Krayon does not include .gif support. I have a political problem with Unisys and the LZW .gif fiasco. Also, since a large percentage of the population is colorblind, it should only support greyscale images.

noatun removes all support and reference to the Franhauffer's MP3 codec. Since it is not Free, it should be removed. Ogg Vorbis can remain.

KDevelop does not support native tools for the One True Language, InterCal. Since it excludes programmers, it should be removed immediatly.

Now that speech synthesis is just starting to work, KDE will able to be published, but it is fantastically rude and rather nasty to publish it when the blind cannot use it. We should immediatly take offline until this situation is rectified.

In addition, make sure that those "10 different religions" that you mention include dogma from the Church of the Subgenius (Praise "Bob"!), the Principia Discordia (Hail Eris!), the Church of the Great Silicon Ghod (Foo), several thousand sect writings, and the whole lot must be reviewed by the Pope and the one chosen representitive of Allah (all of them) to make sure it is allowed to be distributed.

Oh, and I respect you so much for both the act of censoring an application that many could use, and the incredible strength that is necessaary to stand up to groups like the Scientologists (who are rumored to have killed to protect their secrets) when you demand that their Operating Level Theten III (OT III) be published.

I'm not saying that this should be placed in the distribution. But *if* "we" (the vague majority of active KDE users and developers) wanted any sort of app like this in KDE, then it takes one religion to start the ball rolling, even if three seconds later, you commit the Torah, the Koran, and the Book of the Subgenius and Revelation X annotation applications.

I would imagine that most KDE apps are written in one languge at one point. That doesn't mean their existance or that it is the programmers desire to steer KDE towards German or English only.

I'm very glad for the existance of this app: it shows that the popular niche applications are being addressed. It wouldn't bother me at al if it were included in the distro, no more than if KDE Quake were included (which I wouldn't use at all, either).

For that matter, a very real example: does Kapital support all currency and transaction / account types? Does that mean it wouldn't make an excellent addition to KOffice?


What Means KDE ? K Desktop.

There is no need to Bible or Coran in a desktop. Perhaps something to study all big books, yes...

But it is out of topic. Nobody of the KDE team has said that this BibleTime would be included in KDE, so no problem.

If, one day, I create a KDE programm to compare the different versions of Rodolphe Töpffer comics (In Switzerland, France, Great Britains, USA, Germany, Portugal and so and so), I will be glad to announce it on this site. Be quiet, I would not want to include it in the KDE distribution, of course...

About Töpffer (for me more important than God, of course) :

(and, of course, I am not a minority because a majority of comics fans and historians think that Töpffer is the comics inventor...)

(and a picture of Töpffer on the desktop is many more fine than some paragraphs of the bible, of course... so it is more useful for the K Desktop...)

by Evan "JabberWok... (not verified)

*Sigh* Some people miss irony, satire, sarcasm *AND* proceed to make the exact same point that I did. Did you not read my message? Maybe the bits about "I doubt it will ever be added, or even considered" that I now realize I didn't type? ;)

Of course, it's 11:34am, the deadline is today, and I've been up all last night working. :) I expect anything I post today to be regretted tomorrow, but it feels good right now.

Besides; the holy duality of comics are Neil Gaiman and Stan Lee. Wanna get into a religious flamewar over golden age versus modern gritty comics? (Yes, everything generates controversy... even the "K" in KDE... heck, I've been arguing for years with a friend if the belts on the spacesuits at the end of the Rocky Horror Picture Show are silver or gold. I'm imagine many arguments over religion are much less heated).

Wait until KDE gets more high profile and it's labeled demonic because it has a vile serpent, symbol of Satan, as its mascot.