[sword-devel] Cool idea: Commercial Linux /Windows Bible program based on Sword

Paul Gear sword-devel@crosswire.org
Fri, 02 Feb 2001 06:17:27 +1000

Jesse Jacobsen wrote:
> ...
> On 01/31/01, Jerry Hastings wrote:
> > However, if you had a private key under an alias and had covered your
> > tracks in getting such locked modules, what would stop you from giving
> > those modules and key away? It seems to me that all these "locks" are like
> > locks on doors to buildings, which only keep out people that are unwilling
> > to break a window.
> That's right, and I think as it should be.  Is it realistic to expect
> Fort Knox?  How many people would want to live as the President's
> family does, in the White House, with armed guards at every corner and
> Secret Service at every turn?  If it were possible to make the
> encryption and key-exchange process totally secure, then it would be
> impractical and no fun at all to use locked databases!  I don't think
> total security is possible without a major hassle for users.

That's right.  We can't protect against fraud at the application level. 
None of the commercial software houses can, either.  We shouldn't waste
time trying to do so.  People should be expected to provide correct
information when they unlock, especially in a Christian program.  Maybe
if we were Stephen King trying to hock our novel on the Internet things
might be different, but remember that we're talking about _Bible_
software here.  :-)

> When I buy a book, I expect to be able to read (use) it totally at my
> convenience.  It's only right to expect the same thing from a locked
> database, IMO.  It may be illegal to photocopy over N pages from a
> paper book, selling them for profit, but there's nothing in the book's
> format or distribution scheme that prevents me from doing so with the
> same kind of security that's being demanded of Sword.  On the
> contrary, there's just a copyright notice, and maybe a warning about
> the law, and the rest is in the hands of the buyer.  If the buyer does
> not comply with copyright law, the onus for breaking the law is on
> him, not on the publisher or the distributor of the book.

The difference between software and books is important, though.  If you
break software, you have access to a perfect digital copy of the text. 
If you photocopy a book, you have access to a much poorer copy.  Even
with OCR software, this is still the case, although it does change the
game a little.

> ...
> How much should a project like Sword be expected to dabble in the
> field of law enforcement?  There's a limit in there somewhere, and it
> would make things easier for everyone if it could be well-defined.

Bob, is there any way you can comment on your experience of the
expectations of commercial publishers in the security area?

"He must become greater; i must become less." - John 3:30