Opinions on Compatible Software

          There are many LDS-related software packages that use the Folio Views Software (of one form or another). I will try to give a fair review of each program. Of course, this will all be effected by my longstanding use of several software packages, and my lack of experience with others.

The Scriptures (Authorized Version)

          This is a different product than the $3 LDS Magazines CD-ROM. This is based on WordCruncher, and not Folio. It has the full quad, with full footnotes, as well as the Topical Guide, Bible Dictionary, and the international "Guide to the Scriptures," as well as the maps, photographs, etc.

          For those of you used to Folio's abilities, WordCruncher doesn't support user-added hyperlinks, notes, highlighters, etc. Other than having the pre-built hyperlinks, you can't add any personal touches to it to enhance your study of the scriptures.

          The best part about this whole product is the fact that it gives you the scriptures in English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. This is the only LDS-targeted product to have this.

          The interface supports font scaling, but there isn't any shortcut to it, like in Folio with ctrl-mouse wheel. You have to use the text-based hyperlinks to get to anything. There isn't any corresponding Table of Contents or anything like that.

          Although this might not be the most appropriate place, I'm going to mention a few things about the "License Agreement" that is on the back of the cd jewel. You have to agree with the terms before opening the package, or else they recommend you "promptly return it unopened to the place of purchase for a full refund. By opening this package, you agree to be legally bound by the terms..."

          It then goes on to say: "Through the purchase or opening of this package, you do not acquire any ownership rights to the software or data. Upon opening this package, you are granted a limited, nonexclusive license to use the software and data in this package according to the following conditions:

  1. You may use and display this copy of the software and data on a single computer on a single video screen at a single location.
  2. You may not make any copies of the software or data except to print, photocopy, or download small portions of data for incidental noncommercial church or home use.
  3. You may not copy, publish, or sell any portion of the software or data in printed, electronic, machine-readable, or any other format.
  4. You may not loan, rent, sublicense, electronically transfer, or repackage for resale the software or data.
  5. You may not decompile, disassemble, reverse engineer, create derivative works based upon, or in any way modify the software or data code or merge either into another program."

          Now, the best part: "Licensor makes no warranties, whether express or implied, including the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and specifically no warranties or representations are made with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the data."

          Now, the problem with all of this is that the text of the scriptures is entirely in the public domain, and can be copied without "permission" or "license agreement." But, their "license agreement" does not make any distinction about this at all. This product is falling into the "more legalese than content" category. How sad!

          Screenshots: startup interface, Genesis 1, search options, search results

          Retail price: $5.00 (Available from Distribution)

          My opinion: The interface is kind of funny. It just doesn't have a polished feel to it. They should have just put the content from this "product" into the LDS Magazines infobase-based product. Having it split up into two separate products that don't even use the same software is counterproductive and limits the potential of both sets of information. Tieing these two products into one Folio infobase would have been much better.

          Product website: here

LDS Magazines (LDS Gospel Resource)

          The Church has finally produced a CD-ROM of its magazines (which have been available on the web here). It consists of the Ensign, New Era, Friend, and the english edition of The Liahona. It has a run-from-CD option, as well as a 500MB full install option.

          The version of Folio that it uses with its interface has some limitations. It can only have one file open at a time. It also can't open Folio 3.1x infobases, but it can open the 4.x infobases from this website.

          Screenshots: basic interface, search options

          Retail price: $3.00 (Available from Distribution)

          My opinion: A great value, an easy interface to learn and use, but missing the scriptures. A great addition to GospeLink or the Collectors Library, but shouldn't be the only Folio-based LDS product that you own.

          Product website: here

Deseret Book’s GospeLink

          Deseret Book bought out Infobases and merged the two products (Infobases CL '98 and GospeLink) into the new GospeLink 2001 edition.. It has a ton of books. They have continued to improve the interface. A great product, overall.

          Retail price: $69.95 (on sale).

          My opinion: It's getting better. Good interface, lots of content.

          Product website: http://www.GospeLink.com (title list)

Infobases’ Collectors Library ‘98 (Out of Print)

          Infobases was bought by Deseret Book, and folded their GospeLink and the CL '98 into one product, the 2001 edition of GospeLink. This is still being sold at a few places. At this point, if you don't have it, you shouldn't worry about getting it, especially with GospeLink going for $70 on sale now.

          Retail price: $69.95.

          My opinion: If you can use the standard windows interface, it's not bad. I personally like GospeLink's graphical interface Over the CL's new one.

          Product website: http://www.infobases.com/library/index.asp (title list)

The Complete Works of W. Cleon Skousen

          Verity Publishing has been working on this for a few years. They claim it is all of his works. See the title list to get a feel for what's on here. Everything from The First 2,000 Years to So You Want to Raise a Boy.

          Retail price: $29.95.

          My opinion: A great deal for the content. Formatting is very plain. No hyperlinks at all in the infobase. No reference lines. Very simple and clean.

          Product website: http://www.veritypublishing.com/products.htm (title list)

American Reference Library

          This as been in the works for a lot of years. It now has a lot of material in it. A must if you are a student of Freedom and Liberty!

          Screenshots: basic interface, search options

          Retail price: $47.

          My opinion: A great deal for the content. A lot of great material that you don't normally find.

          Product website: http://www.dvo.com/american_freedom.html (title list)

The New American (on CD-ROM)

          This covers the last 16 years or so of The New American magazine. It's just the text, no graphics or anything else.

          Retail price: $90.00

          My opinion: I haven't seen it, but from the material on their website, it should be a pretty good reference, but a bit pricey at $90.

          Product website: http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/cd-rom/

My Software Recommendations

          Suggestions: If you don't own any commercial LDS-targeted product, you've got a tough decision. Infobases '98 is not bad, but I don't like their graphical interface very much. One deciding factor might be how fast your computer is. GospeLink is very slow, especially on slower computers. Overall, if you are new to computers, CL might be easier to use, but if not and you want a more standard interface, then GL is better. The Church's disk is a great add-on for either one of these two, but shouldn't be your first or only pick.

          Bill Raventos, a long time visitor of this website, has done a head to head comparison of Infobases Library and GospeLink. Click here to read it.

          My general opinion of the graphical interfaces that GospeLink and the CL'98 are using are counter-productive to their intended purpose. If anyone has used windows 3.1 or 95 for more than two weeks, they should understand the concept of the menu bar, which is standard across the board. Giving a novice a unique interface just makes them learn a whole new set of rules that won't apply to any other program. Usually frustration and confusion ensues.

          The default action of their drop-down combo boxes are not the same as Window's. They react different to how the mouse is used with them. Just something else to learn and work with.

          Also, if you only have a color depth of 256 colors, you can't hardly read the text over top of the background images. Apparently you can disable them from the CL, but not without doing some manual changes.

          Counterproductive if you ask me.

          There might be some big changes in the works for these big players, since Deseret Management Corp. (Deseret Book's parent company) has purchased Infobases/Bookcraft. I haven't heard if they will merge the GL/CL together into one big product, or what, but it might have some big ramifications in this area.

          The interface the Church's Magazine product uses is very well done. If it had come with the Quad, it would be a well-rounded initial product. As it sits, it's a great go-to source to search, but not a great solution for day-to-day use.


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