[sword-devel] Closed source exploitation of open source works (a GPL loophole)

Chris Little sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 9 May 2001 14:26:53 -0700

I've been working on the Windows dll issue for a while now.  It looks like a
dll is not possible because of VC++'s handling of STL in the resulting dll.
A statically linkable library is possible, has been built, and works well.
I have diatheke compiled and running (linked to the static library).

>From there I built an ActiveX control with basically the same functionality
as diatheke (basic queries & searches) called ActiveDiatheke.  This should
give VB & Delphi programmers the ability to do most of what they would want.

It might be a bit slower than most front ends, but you could use
ActiveDiatheke to build a front end with most of the same capabilities as
BibleCS, GnomeSword, BibleTime or iraeneus.  The big difference would be
that the author of such a program would have no need to release his work
under GPL because it is not modifying or even statically linking Sword
derived code.

So . . .

What's our answer to this loophole in the GPL?  Do we find a more
restrictive license than GPL under which to release ActiveDiatheke (and
probably Sword in general since anyone could make a similar component and
license under GPL, allowing close source use)?  We've considered switching
to LGPL, so should we just ignore this issue since it meshes just fine with
the intent behind LGPL.  Should we allow ActiveDiatheke (and similar) to go
under GPL and serve as a the only means for closed source use rather than
putting Sword under LGPL?  Should I just pretend I didn't write it and
delete it from my hard drive so that we don't have to deal with the issue at
all? :)

--Chris Little