Open Steno Project Timeline
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The Open Steno Project has a lot of different goals and projects, and sometimes it's hard to tell what happened when. This page aims to provide a summary of events with dates for anyone curious.
September 2005 to March 2007 (18 months)
Mirabai Knight attends the New York Career Institute to learn stenography at 225 words per minute.
Mirabai creates a dictionary builder, named Bozzy, with help from her brother William. It's a program that reads from a word list and creates a dictionary using raw steno input. It requires the use of CAT software set to send keys to the computer instead of a transcript.
Mirabai decides she wants to create an open source steno software, unsatisfied with the current proprietary, bloated, and expensive solutions.
Mirabai starts to learn python and breaks down technical challenges that will need to be addressed with a steno program that is actually a keyboard emulator. She notes that the timer feature from other steno software is awful and that Plover should process each stroke immediately. The idea of what Plover should be goes through much process. Does it have a document editor? A UI at all? Is it a program? Is it a keyboard?
Mirabai meets Joshua Lifton, via an ad Mirabai posted in her shared-workspace building elevator looking for a Python tutor. Joshua becomes the lead Plover developer, funded by Mirabai and donations to the project.
Plover is developed on Ubuntu and is Linux-only.
Mirabai begins writing her Steno 101 series.
First public release of Plover (version 2.0) Plover is Linux-only and supports only the Gemini PR machine protocol, as well as regular NKRO keyboard input.
Joshua moves to Oregon to work at Crowd Supply, and the Plover Project is put on hiatus with minimal development. Plover 2.2.0 is released.
Mirabai posts musings and thoughts about gamifying steno education. She calls it Hover Plover (later renamed to Steno Arcade).
Hesky Fisher starts working on Plover.
Hesky takes over development of Plover, beginning by porting to Windows and Mac, as well as adding many more steno machine protocols, including Stentura, Tréal, and TX Bolt.
Brent Nesbitt releases StenoTray, a Java app that runs alongside Plover to watch your strokes and give outlines for what you might be trying to write.
Hesky releases Plover 2.3.0 for Linux, Windows, and Mac.
Plover grows, with support for suffix folding, multiple dictionaries, stroke display, adding translations, orthography rules, and more.
Mike Neale introduces steno-training website QwertySteno.
Josh Lifton announces plans to build an open source steno keyboard, the Stenosaurus.
Jay Liu introduces steno-training website Plover Dojo.
Zach Brown, a technical writer, publishes the first half of Learn Plover!. Learn Plover! is a free online textbook that Mirabai commissioned Zach in exchange for steno lessons.
Now at version 2.5.8, Hesky slows development to focus on other projects.
Emanuele Caruso announces the Stenoboard, an open source stenographic split 3D-printed keyboard.
Mike Neale becomes an active contributor and adds many new features to Plover, including a dictionary editor and retro commands. No release is made.
Hesky steps down from maintaining Plover. Mirabai starts looking for a new maintainer.
Ted Morin begins work on Plover. Soon after beginning work, Benoit Pierre joins in and begins intense refactoring and improvement of the code base.
Scott Urueta announces and starts selling the SOFT/HRUF, an open source 3D-printed steno machine with light linear mechanical switches.
"Weekly" releases (pre-releases) begin being published on GitHub for users wanting to try the new features. Given the two years passed since a release, there were bugs present in the code base that needed to be addressed.
Steno Arcade crowd supply campaign goes live along with a demo. Project succeeds with 116% funding.
Plover version 3.0.0 is released, featuring new training tools, a UI rearrangement, a dictionary editor, a new icon, output modes, and many under-the-hood improvements to improve cross-platform behavior.
Charley Shattuck starts to sell his customizable steno machine, the Stenomod. The Stenomod comes on a deck of wood for desk and lap use, but can be detached and used in split configuration.
Plover version 3.1.0 is released.
Behind the scenes, Benoit Pierre performs major refactoring work to allow Plover to support other layouts and chording systems, user plugins, different GUIs (including a QT version), and Python 3. The project license is updated from GPLv2 to GPLv2+.
The future - 2017 and onwards
Don't worry, Plover development continues. You can see the issues and feature requests on GitHub, join in the developer discussions by joining the Plover #devtalk forum, and/or watch out for news published on the blog.
Coming soon - Support for other layouts and chording systems, user plugins, and different GUIs.