Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

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Gordafarin2
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby Gordafarin2 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 8:31 am

ryanheise wrote:So on that understanding, Mark from LingQ has added his own theory:

I suspect the projects got tired of maintaining their service for free. I'm not sure there's anything patentable. It's reading and listening.

If it were the decision of one person to abandon the project, LWT and FLTR wouldn't have disappeared at the same time... As far as I know, other than offering similar functionality, they were independent of one another. And while LWT was still getting updates, FLTR hasn't been developed for a while - the FLTR dev(s?) have long ago stated that they considered the software to be complete and so they never committed to further working on it.

ryanheise wrote: Looking at the code linked on the reddit thread just now, I also see that it uses various online translation services without necessarily going through the paid APIs, so there might be some terms of service issues there. If one or more of those companies issued take-down notices, it would be worth sharing those to educate us on the legal threats.

That seems very possible to me, and I want to keep my eyes peeled if any other apps mysteriously disappear or cut back functionality.
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby Stefan » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:56 pm

ryanheise wrote:So on that understanding, Mark from LingQ has added his own theory:

I suspect the projects got tired of maintaining their service for free. I'm not sure there's anything patentable. It's reading and listening.


I'm doubtful. The creator has always been active in the forum, and as late as two weeks ago he took his time to set up Windows 10 in a virtual machine to see if the EasyPHP-LWT installation worked, just to help out a random user. Going from that to waking up the next day and wiping out more than 10 years of work sounds implausible to me.

With this said, who knows.

What I do know is that I believe LingQ has handled the situation quite poorly. People are concern, legitimately so. Instead of going out with one public message, we see them talking about the "ridiculous tone" and speculating that the creator just didn't care. I'm sympathetic to their situation of being dragged into it, but I still reckon they could've handle it better.
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby Gordafarin2 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 2:26 pm

Stefan wrote:What I do know is that I believe LingQ has handled the situation quite poorly. People are concern, legitimately so. Instead of going out with one public message, we see them talking about the "ridiculous tone" and speculating that the creator just didn't care. I'm sympathetic to their situation of being dragged into it, but I still reckon they could've handle it better.

100% this. People shouldn't have jumped to conclusions immediately that LingQ was involved, but I was pretty shocked at how unprofessional their response was. I'm sure it must have been strange to wake up to messages about this if they had no idea what was going on, but as a company, they should be taking the high road... It's basic PR.
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby MorkTheFiddle » Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:35 pm

Cainntear wrote: It'll probably be possible to get it working on Linux until the fall of civilisation though. ;-)

LWT depends on mySql and EasyPHPDevServer. Any change in them could affect the functioning of LWT, and, in fact, has already done so. And the developer himself once noted that he could not keep up with all the various distributions of Linux, so there is another potential break. In my humble opinion, without a developer to maintain LWT, sooner or later it will break permanently.
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby Cainntear » Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:44 am

ryanheise wrote:I can imagine people potentially sharing copyrighted content on their forums which is a very real issue, but that should not affect the code. Looking at the code linked on the reddit thread just now, I also see that it uses various online translation services without necessarily going through the paid APIs, so there might be some terms of service issues there. If one or more of those companies issued take-down notices, it would be worth sharing those to educate us on the legal threats.

Not sure if that would do it. I mean, in that case, surely all that would require is a statement that it interfaces with other systems and that the user is responsible for ensuring that they get suitable licenses...?

I'm thinking it's probably some kind of aggressive patent troll, and just not worth the hassle to fight for a hobby project.

I'm hoping someone else gets threatens who isn't afraid to publish details of the threat -- as I understand it (IANAL!) you can't be done for breach of confidentiality if you don't have a contract, so cease-and-desist letters (seeing as they come out of the blue without any prior contact) are hard to enforce as secret.
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby ryanheise » Wed Sep 23, 2020 1:35 pm

This got me interested in doing a U.S. patent search to see if I could find anything related to LWT. There's a search engine from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but there's also the Google Patent Search tool which might be a bit easier to use.

I am hesitant to post links to specific patents that might be interpreted as "suspects" here since I want to avoid turning this into a witch hunt without proof, but I did find some interesting ones by searching for "language learning dictionary". I'm not a fan of software patents at all; Patentable software ideas are just too easy to "invent" and obstruct innovation, but I'd venture that most of the time, these patents are really just filed by startups as a certificate to show to their investors to signal that the investment is a safe and protected one, and would be intended for defence rather than offence. So the chances of coming across a patent on the patent search engine that is actually a weapon of a troll would be extremely slim.

Also it's worth keeping in mind that LingQ might be one of the few companies that could be on our side of a patent war. First, it takes money to fight legal challenges, and second, LingQ's stance that "We don't issue legal challenges." suggests to me that they are of the belief that competition should be free to build whatever they want.

(Also IANAL!)
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby ivargas2 » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:18 pm

MorkTheFiddle wrote:
Cainntear wrote: It'll probably be possible to get it working on Linux until the fall of civilisation though. ;-)

LWT depends on mySql and EasyPHPDevServer. Any change in them could affect the functioning of LWT, and, in fact, has already done so. And the developer himself once noted that he could not keep up with all the various distributions of Linux, so there is another potential break. In my humble opinion, without a developer to maintain LWT, sooner or later it will break permanently.


What would you do then? I'm in my first month using LWT, with more than 5000 words and doing all my reading studies there. I used to use Lingq, but things got tough here in Argentina, so I decided to look for something cheap(or free) and I found LWT. My concern is, could I lose all my texts imported into LWT? I just don't want to lose time and put the effort in vain.
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby Stefan » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:39 pm

MorkTheFiddle wrote:
Cainntear wrote: It'll probably be possible to get it working on Linux until the fall of civilisation though. ;-)

LWT depends on mySql and EasyPHPDevServer. Any change in them could affect the functioning of LWT, and, in fact, has already done so. And the developer himself once noted that he could not keep up with all the various distributions of Linux, so there is another potential break. In my humble opinion, without a developer to maintain LWT, sooner or later it will break permanently.

I may be misunderstanding your comment and if that's the case, I apologize, but it shouldn't be an issue for a long time.

To clarify: LWT is a PHP script that makes use of a SQL database. All you need is a web server that supports PHP and a compatible SQL database manager. EasyPHP is one such package, others are XAMPP (which I'm using locally by old habit) and Wamp. You can also install the software as standalone if you want to. Them updating shouldn't affect LWT. If one of them should make the unlikely decision to, say, drop PHP from their package - you can just switch to another.

The concern is the development of PHP. For example: in 2013, PHP 5.5 deprecated and replaced the old MySQL extension due to security issues. Then in 2016, with PHP 7, they removed it completely - forcing people to switch to the MySQLi (which LWT is using) or PDO_MySQL if they wanted to continue with new PHP releases. If they decide to do a similar change in the future and remove a feature that LWT is using, then you can always download an old version of PHP and manually install it. Also note that EasyPHP Devserver 17 seemingly still comes with PHP 5.3 as an option, despite its End of Life being 14 August 2014. The latest PHP version (7.4) has an EoL in 2022.

With this said, maybe the loss of LWT will create incentive to create something new. The challenge is that there's plenty of competition (Readlang and LingQ) while LWT still works. It was a similar situation when YNAB went from being standalone to becoming SaaS. A handful of new competitors started but people are reluctant to make the switch since the old version still runs, despite being abandoned.

Edit: I forgot that LWT is making use of JavaScript and jQuery, so there's a potential issue if they remove a used feature from future browsers. You can always use an old browser version, but maybe that's becoming a bit ridiculous just to continue to use an old software. Rather do an attempt at a crowdfunding campaign to release a new alternative to LWT.
Last edited by Stefan on Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby Xenops » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:43 pm

Wait, didn't Duolingo purchase Readlang? Or am I thinking of something else?
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Re: Learning With Texts (LWT) has been discontinued and deleted

Postby rdearman » Wed Sep 23, 2020 4:49 pm

ivargas2 wrote:
MorkTheFiddle wrote:
Cainntear wrote: It'll probably be possible to get it working on Linux until the fall of civilisation though. ;-)

LWT depends on mySql and EasyPHPDevServer. Any change in them could affect the functioning of LWT, and, in fact, has already done so. And the developer himself once noted that he could not keep up with all the various distributions of Linux, so there is another potential break. In my humble opinion, without a developer to maintain LWT, sooner or later it will break permanently.


What would you do then? I'm in my first month using LWT, with more than 5000 words and doing all my reading studies there. I used to use Lingq, but things got tough here in Argentina, so I decided to look for something cheap(or free) and I found LWT. My concern is, could I lose all my texts imported into LWT? I just don't want to lose time and put the effort in vain.

you won't lose anything. The program is installed on your machine, so as long as you're backing up the database (LWT has an option for that) then you'll be able to use the version you have for as long as you want.
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