Posted by: reformedmusings | December 20, 2009

Logos 4 Bible Software

I’ve been a Logos Bible Software user for well over a decade. I believe that they are the best around, having dominated the competition in capability for this entire time. They recently released a new version that made some radical changes to the interface. I upgraded last night and played with it quite a bit today, having nothing better to do but watch the snow.

A few preliminary words. Some blogs have panned Logos 4 because it didn’t have all its intended features when first released. According to its FAQ, it still doesn’t. OTOH, it isn’t missing anything critical. Plus, upgrading to Logos 4 leaves Logos 3 intact on your system. You can use them both, so if you really needed a feature that isn’t finished yet in 4, you can use it in 3. I have not found that necessary.

Second, Logos recommends a stouter computer to run version 4. I initially ran it in my WinXP SP3 virtual machine (VM) with 512 MB of RAM and 2 CPU cores with no problem. I increased the VM’s memory allocation to about 1.5 GB. That improved the performance some, but not dramatically. I also set the VM not to swap to disk, which helped as well. More memory is always your friend, but Logos 4 ran just fine in 512 MB of RAM.

Lastly on preliminaries, Logos 4 is still Windows-based. It runs fine in my VMWare Workstation VM, but I’d rather run it natively in Linux. Logos has an alpha version for Macs, but nothing for Linux. It does work in WinXP, Vista, and Win7, 32-bit or 64-bit.

Upgrade proved simple, but takes hours. I recommend watching this video first so that you’ll know what to expect. Plan on starting it before you go to bed and letting it run all night. I have a 20 Gbps Internet connection, but it still took hours to download the Original Languages library. I don’t think that their server capacity is completely up to the task. If you don’t have a screaming broadband connection, I highly recommend getting the DVD.

I went through my existing account and chose the download approach. The initially downloaded file simply starts the process. When executing the initial executable, it requires you to log in to your account first, accept the EULA, then the program runs on its own. After downloading the library files, it must then index them all – a procedure that also takes hours. If you have a slow system, it could take the better part of a day. In my case, the installation and indexing had completed by the time I checked it in the morning.

The home screen has a bunch of information on it as well as a search box in the upper left:

Typing a search parameter in that box and clicking the arrow in it sets forth a flurry of activity, producing a lot of information in a well-organized workspace:

I’ve added some resources in tabs for my purposes, but the basic layout shown is the default. Logos 3 was based on the old window style interface – tiled, cascading, or randomly placed. Version 4 uses defined regions with tabs, although you can create overlapping windows if you really feel that you must. The Logos 4 interface organizes your information very well. You could approximate a tabbed interface in version 3, but it wasn’t all that great.

While the basic functions are pretty much the same as version 3, version 4 is easier to use without prior experience. It also seems significantly faster, especially for searching which is its primary function after all. The indexing probably makes most of the difference. Experienced Logos 3  users will find that the locations and names of functions have changed. But that’s not a huge deal because…

Whether new to Logos or experienced with version 3, I highly recommend going through the introductory videos on Logos website. They don’t take long and will go a long way to getting you productive quickly.

I’m very happy with the upgrade. I’ll leave Logos 3 on my VM for now, just in case. However, I’m already deep into preparing for a sermon using Logos 4 exclusively. Kudos to the Logos development team!

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Responses

  1. How is this doing now that you’ve had several months to work on it?

  2. Hi Jason,

    Doing very well. It updates content pretty regularly, then has to index it. The latter process can take upward of a couple of hours for a large update, but it works in the background. The indexing seems more comprehensive than before, and the presentation of search information in the left column works very well. I am pleased with the new version.

    That said, I don’t use it nearly as much as I did in years past. I spend very little time in the virtual machine running Windows. I’d be very happy if Logos supported Linux, but I’m not holding my breath.

  3. Thanks. I’m thinking of moving to Linux sometime.
    Here are my specs. Let me know if you think it’ll handle a VM with Windows XP or 7 on it.

    2.16 GHZ Intel
    4G RAM
    The machine is a Compaq Presario CQ60.

  4. What model is the CPU? Does it have multiple cores? The 4GB of RAM is good, but without at least a dual core CPU, the VM will drag on the system pretty heavily. Setting the VM to only use one core works pretty well. The hard drive speed is also a factor in how much the VM drags on the system.

    Of course, if you run the VM in the foreground, these factors don’t matter as much and you should be fine.

    Another approach would be to dual boot your computer between Linux and Windows. That works well, but you’d have to reboot every time you wanted to switch. I find the VM is a much more flexible approach.

    A good free virtual machine system is VirtualBox. I have a post on my tests with it here somewhere on the blog.

  5. It’s dual core.

  6. You should be fine, then. What Linux distribution are you considering?

  7. I’m not too familiar. I’m guessing Fedora of Ubuntu.
    Suggestions?

  8. Fedora OR Ubuntu, that is.

  9. Both are good. You can try them out by downloading and burning LiveCDs of both and booting to the CDs. The LiveCDs are fully functional and will give you a great idea of what each is like and how they work. I’m an Ubuntu man myself, but it’s pretty much a matter of personal preference.

  10. Do you do internet filtering? If so, what do you use?

  11. Do you mean firewall software? Linux comes with iptables, which I manage with Firestarter. I also have a hardware firewall built into my router.

    • Firewall is something to consider, but I’m thinking content filtering. I use cleaninternet.com at the moment. I would like something similar for Linux, if I go that route.

      • Nope, never had a use for anything like that. If it’s purely web-based like a proxy server, it should work with any OS. Some software that’s installed may only set the proxy address and perhaps prevent easily changing it. Hard to say without analyzing it.

        • OK. Thanks for the discussion. It’s up in the air, but I may try it in a few weeks.
          Is it possible to set Windows 7 to dual boot, then move everything to Linux if I like it, then wipe the Windows partition and format it for LInux?

          • Yes, absolutely. That’s how I started out in Linux from WinXP. Both Ubuntu and Fedora will naturally set up dual booting with your Windows 7 setup when you install them. You don’t need much space simply to try them out. I used a spare 10GB drive when I first tried Ubuntu.

            For a permanent Linux install, I recommend partitioning your disk into 3 parts for Linux. Set the root ‘/’ partition at about 15GB, the /home partition to the rest of the space minus about 2GB. The last 2GB should be the swap partition. Windows can be on yet another partition if you wish to dual boot.

            This 3-part arrangement allows you to preserve your data and most of your settings if/when you change distributions or clean install an OS update.


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