[sword-devel] GPL issues (again, sorry)

Paul Gear sword-devel@crosswire.org
Fri, 25 May 2001 09:22:53 +1000

> ...
> And there's a concensus that neither static nor dynamic linking against a
> GPLed library is ever okay if your product is non-GPL.

What makes them say that?  Is it a moral or legal issue?

> ...
> I'd suggest that we ensure that all our code is owned or relicenseable by
> Crosswire.  Meaning, we get all contributors to assign copyright to
> Crosswire and make it clear that any future patches, CVS commits, etc.
> become property of Crosswire.

Why would you want to do this?  IMO the strength of a GPL license is
dependent to some extent on having multiple copyright holders.  Personally,
i would be reluctant to release code under such an arrangement.  (Not that
my vast contribution counts for anything.  ;-)

> ...
> That way, Sword itself would be the only GPLed product we are distributing
> and since Crosswire would own copyright, it could do non-GPL works itself
> (such as the WinCE version)

Are you saying that there cannot be a WinCE version at all without using
proprietary libraries?  If this is the case, i think there is a strong case
for applying the 'OS libraries' exception to them, even if they aren't
offically part of the OS.

> and license for non-GPL use (when bob@logos.com
> decides he wants to start using Sword).

You're hoping.  :-)  (Besides, if he does, make him free his code rather
than shackle Sword. 8^)

> I know I said building a COM object degrades GPL to LGPL, but I still
> build a WinCE COM object without using non-GPL libraries. :)
> And yes, I know no one would ever sue us for infringing upon GPL, but I'd
> still prefer we got everything straightened out and legal.  (Just because
> you don't get caught doesn't make it right.)

If you're that worried about it, switch the whole thing to LGPL, or use the
'special exception' noted in the FAQ that allows linking to a particular
list of proprietary libraries.