[sword-devel] More thoughts on GPL

Jerry Hastings sword-devel@crosswire.org
Sun, 27 May 2001 13:17:13 -0700

> > You can just put an exception in your GPL that says its ok to link to
> > this library. (this was the proposed solution for Qt btw)
>I'm not sure that this is completely accurate.  According to the GPL, you 
>are not allowed to modify it.  The
>technique advocated in the GPL FAQ seemed to be to put the exception in 
>the code header.

Also, the way I read it, you would need an exception for each contributor 
saying it is ok to link "their" works to the work/s in question.

>It may be that CrossWire needs to provide a commercial text unlocking service
>that can't be open source.  (This is the first of the two classifications 
>that Jerry has just posted about.)
>I think we need to seriously consider whether we ever want to provide 
>access to commercial texts that are paid
>for by the user, and if so, either switch to LGPL, or put in a GPL 
>exception.  The exception could be fairly
>generic, e.g.:
>     As a special exception, <name of copyright holder> gives permission
>     to link this program with any code owned or officially distributed
>     by the CrossWire Bible Society, provided that such code is for the
>     express purpose of providing additional texts for use with the
>     Sword project, and distribute the resulting executable, without
>     including the source code for such code in the source distribution.

I like the generic approach. It is better than needing an exception for 
each non-GPL item, and yet produces only a Sword Project specific small 
hole in the GPL. However, I don't see where exceptions are being done for 
problem #1 (using GPL libs in non-GPL programs). The example on the FAQ is 
for problem #2, (using non-GPL libs in GPL programs). 
http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl-faq.html#WritingFSWithNFLibs . But, I think 
you could put the needed secure code into non-GPL libs and make it a type 2 
problem and apply your generic exception.

>With respect to Jerry's problem category #2, i think this is a good enough 
>reason to change to LGPL permanently
>for everything (or at least until RMS' views on non-free libraries are 
>determined to be wrong by a court).

The language in the GPL that relates to #2 doesn't have the problem with 
"derivative" that #1 has. My guess is that the language relating to #2 does 
mean what he intended.

Unless the needed exceptions can be obtained there may not be another good 
way to do commercial texts or WinCE.