[sword-devel] Sword license

Chris Little sword-devel@crosswire.org
Fri, 17 Jan 2003 10:05:08 -0700 (MST)

On Thu, 16 Jan 2003, Jimmie Houchin wrote:

> If I read the Sword/JSword source code and from that design/information 
> write (port would be accurate?) classes, methods, etc. in Squeak to 
> process Sword Modules would I be obligated to also use the GPL?

If you write your own classes in Squeak to read Sword modules, you're not
incorporating Sword GPL code into your work.  If you read our code to see
how we do it and then write your own code to perform the same functions, 
you're not violating our copyright.  At the very most this would come 
under fair use as a reference for a similar but not derivative work.  (If 
you were to copy the C++ code into Java classes then Java-ize it enough to 
compile, that would be a derivative work and require GPL licensing, but I 
suspect Smalltalk will require sufficient changes that you need to do a 
complete re-write.)

If you want to use Sword as a library of any sort (linked statically or 
dynamically) it requires that your work be GPL since we are not LGPL 

> I hate to contribute to the proliferation of licenses. But is Crosswire 
> open to such a variance for image based systems like Smalltalk?
> ie: a dual license? I do not necessarily no which license would be most 
> appropriate for Crosswire. The Squeak License makes no obligations for 
> use of source. It is more close to the MIT or BSD licenses.

There is very little possibility at this time that CrossWire would 
consider a more free license, if that were an option to us.  We've got 
enough problems with people abusing the license and creating derivative 
works with no changes other than to put their own ad banners in and 
replace the about box credits their their own names.  We also don't feel 
much need to provide a mechanism for others' commercial exploitation of 
Sword or ability to develop extensions incompatible with our work then 
lock us out of those extensions.  But the simple fact at the moment is 
that we use GPL code in Sword for which we do not own the copyright, so we 
can't legally dual license.  (Not that I wouldn't appreciate getting rid 
of such code and limiting our use of others' code to BSD licensed work so 
that we can license closed development in select situations.)