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

Chris Little sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 9 May 2001 16:28:42 -0700

The spirit of the GPL is that free software will be used to make more free
software.  RMS's thinking is that non-free software has the benefit of money
to pay for development that free software does not.  Further, since non-free
software developers do not give back to free software, free software should
avoid assisting non-free software development by providing it free work and
finished tools.

Releasing an ActiveX control that exposes virtually all of Sword's core
functionality gives any free or non-free software developer access to GPLed
work.  Therein lies the violation of the spirit of the GPL, though not the
letter.  It essentially amounts to converting a GPLed work into an LGPLed

This is a problem if we consider the ideals of the GPL to be important.  If
we'd be just as happy with Sword being under LGPL, everything is peachy.