Zack Hubert (former Pastor of Technology at Mars Hill Chruch, now Vice President of Church Community Networks at Zondervan after they aquired The City) spoke (MP3) last year at BibleTech about the history of his free NT Greek web app zhubert.com. After years of development he came to a point in life where he had no time to maintain the project, let alone take it to another level. He shared his desire to further the project and his first plan to do so:
(22:32) What can I do to keep this project continuing since I only had 15 minutes a week to go in and either approve a lexicon entry or make a little bug fix. So I came up with a plan. The plan was the Biblios foundation. (I say past-tense for good reason.) So I started off down the road of creating a non-profit organization. And the idea was that it could accept donations and that I could have this self-supporting organization where I’d draw no income but I could use it to contract out developers… you know find other guys that were right out of college or in seminary or what not and give them $15 an hour or some ridiculously small amount to add on the features and functionality that I think really would have taken zhubert to another level… but I’m not a business man, and yeah… it failed. Quite simply, looking back on it I think people just wanted the software for free. […] (24:25) So development of that just took a break. I was kinda disappointed honestly because I really wanted to see this project go, but there seemed like very few people who were getting behind to help me, so I took a mental break from the project.
He then shared his next plan, to transition his privately-developed closed-source project into an open-source community-driven one called the “Resurgence Greek Project” or simply “Re:Greek”. In an interview (via Wayback Machine since original post inaccessible) he shared:
My vision for Re:Greek is that it would be an Open Source project that could capture the imagination of software developers all around the world. I want to see dozens of developers and designers submitting improvements, new features, localizing Re:Greek into their local language, and innovating on this shared platform. I’ll release more in the near future about how this will work, but it will be a model similar to Linux or Ruby on Rails if you are familiar with those projects.
In another post (also via Wayback Machine since original inaccessible) he was “
happy to announce that we have made Re:Greek an Open Source Initiative!” Unfortunately, as you’ll learn if you listen to his BibleTech talk (see above), the initial excitement was extinguished and the project transition failed. People who were used to the old zhubert.com were upset with the new Re:Greek project and just wanted the old site back. There weren’t enough developers and supporters to sustain the Re:Greek open-source project, and so it ceased. I don’t know all of the details, but the project was so thoroughly discontinued that Zack’s announcement blog posts have been removed and the ReGreek Google Group has been deleted. Zack seems to have washed his hands of the Re:Greek project and has thereafter focused all his efforts on The City (which is turning out to be a great success). Such a sad turn of events for such a brilliant idea!
At BibleTech this year, I am presenting the Open Scriptures project as “Picking Up the Mantle of the Re:Greek – Open Source Initiative”. We need to give Zack’s idea a second chance, but we need to learn from his experience. Open Scriptures will also fail if it does not have the collaboration and co-ownership of committed developers and the sponsorship of supporting organizations. However, if the Mozilla Foundation can make Firefox such a success, if the Linux community can persevere to make a solid open-source OS, and if Wikipedia is able to become the global first source for encyclopedia information, then surely there are people of faith—who believe their scriptures are the very words of God—who can make Open Scriptures a reality.
Will you join me?
Join the conversation at the Open Scriptures Google Group and spread the word.