Concordia Publishing House was offering a smokin’ deal on Luther’s Works in the electronic format of Libronix. Though Libronix has a pretty snazzy-sounding name (almost as snazzy as “Unix”), it’s still a pretty lame piece of software. Don’t get me wrong. Its technical achievements are probably astounding, and its usefulness is probably flabbergasting. For me, though, it’s the most cripplingly bloated piece of over-hyped software ever written. Why is that? Because in order to use it, I have to have a separate partition on my hard disk, or a virtual hard disk inside virtualized hardware. On that partition, I have to have a copy of a 100% proprietary operating system (with planned obsolescence) that’s useless for anything else, and which the makers of Libronix don’t even support. This operating system, a prerequisite for using Libronix, actually costs quite a bit over and above the cost of Libronix itself. I appreciate that you get a free copy of Libronix with Luther’s Works, but if Logos Research is truly serious about making their library platform in such a way that we only pay for the books themselves, they have failed both completely and miserably. How much does a Windows license go for these days? And how long will that be useful? Last I checked, Microsoft wasn’t giving Windows away. Besides that, even a free copy of Windows is more of an impediment to me than a help.
I use Linux on all my boxen. Well, I guess my Palm Pilot doesn’t run it, but that’s just because I can’t afford a Palm Pre. I can do everything I need in Linux. I don’t even really need Luther’s Works on CD, because I have it all on paper. (Real books are much easier on the eyes, more satisfying for the fingers, and more stimulating for the brain.) Still, I can’t pass up an electronic copy of Luther’s Works for half price. It’s an index on steroids. Lots of steroids. The only problem is I have to boot up that usually-dormant partition on my hard drive before I can even launch the index-on-steroids, every time I want to use it. Thanks to some hardware virtualization in Linux (hardly dreamt of in Windows world), I might not have to leave my Linux environment completely to do all that, but that speaks more to the strengths of Linux than anything else. We’ll see.
Now, if Logos Research would work with Codeweavers to make Wine capable of installing and running the Libronix Library System (which it already does) in addition to unlocking a collection (in Wine) with the legally-purchased serial number, then I will gladly withdraw all my criticisms and pronounce Libronix ready for use in the real world. Until then, you’d better buy an extra-large hard drive, and budget for a lot of waste.