OpenLP is a brilliant piece of lyrics projection software. Most ‘modern’ Christian churches these days use some sort of projection software just for their lyrics (sometimes it handles videos and presentations as well), they naturally go and buy expensive (circa. 100GBP) software which will only work on 1 PC at a time (due to licensing) and would have to be upgraded every 3 years or so. Examples include EasyWorship, Words of Worship and SongPro.
I was helping out at a Christian kids camp for a week and their EasyWorship trial had run out and they were using PowerPoint instead (rather inconsistent and unorganised), I immediately got them to Google ‘open-source lyrics projection software’ (because FOSS is completely free (as in ‘free beer’) – no catches) and found them OpenLP. It turned out that the PC it was installed on wouldn’t run an extended desktop (Windows 7), so I simply copied the OpenLP Program Files onto a different device (just in it’s Documents Library) and…it just worked (probably due to an awesome, cross-platform, comparitively fast, easy, it-just-works programming language called Python). So we used that for the whole week. No real problems.
OK, yes, I would get a bug error every time I closed the program, but I suspect that was down to the fact that I hadn’t actually installed the program. I blame that same fact on why it couldn’t open PowerPoints (it should open Impress presentations as well) in the end. That didn’t matter however, with a nice and simple theme editor and a ‘Custom Slides’ feature, it wasn’t hard to make information slides when we needed them.
To project the actual songs, you double-click on the song to preview it, you then click ‘move to live…’ when you are ready to project but you can show the Desktop (D), a blank screen (.), or the Theme background (T) instead if you want to. You can also make ‘services’ of songs which go straight to the ‘Live’ section of the screen when needed. This way, you can premake a service and get through it snappily, but, you can still preview and load extras when/if neccesary.
The program also does Bible verses and you add the songs themselves with an easy-to-use song editor. It deals with song authors quite nicely – actually forcing you to add and credit them and you can add several authors and it won’t complain.
Usability: 10/10 (The icons are a bit small but I don’t see how I can complain about that because I can’t see a way of making them bigger conveniently, the design is well thought out and it works spectacularly)
Aesthetics: 10/10 (It uses Oxygen (KDE4 icons)…it doesn’t get any better than that(ish) (although maybe it could follow suit with LibreOffice and add Firefox Persona support…))
Performance: 10/10 (A Python program that is somewhat FASTER than its (most likely) C++ counterparts…THAT IS AMAZING! (Python makes machine code while you run the program making it traditionally a lot slower than normal (C-based) programs which have the machine code pre-made))
Overall: 10/10 (A FOSS program that completely and utterly destroys its competition. More churches NEED to hear about this program and save some valuable donations as well as getting a better projection tool. I will try and make sure the paid alternatives die – making money off donations when you don’t have to is NOT completely moral)
Written by Adam.