[sword-devel] Sword license

Derek Neighbors sword-devel@crosswire.org
Fri, 17 Jan 2003 12:14:04 -0700 (MST)

Joe Walker said:
> My understanding is that all the GPL obliges you to do is release the
> code under GPL. It does not stop you releasing it under the GPL AND
> another MIT/BSD style license (so long as there is no ad. clause
> conflict) Many projects like Mozilla and MySQL (IIRC) are released under
> 2 licences.

I think you are missing a relevant piece of information.  Who owns copyright?

For example say I download SWORD and change 40 lines (or add 40 lines) of
code.  I can not turn around and release the resulting program as GPL and
MIT.  I dont own the copyright to anything but the 40 lines I wrote,
therefore I have no jurisdiction to change the license of the rest.

Certainly if I used SWORD as a library and wrote an application that used
that library I could make my application GPL/MIT dual licensed, but I cant
extend that to SWORD.

This is an important distinction, because otherwise all people would have
to do is get GPL works, slightly modify and rerelease them under different
licenses and then turn them proprietary.

> I don't understand how there can be a problem for GPL code to link *TO*
> non-GPL code. The GPL uses the word "derived" and not "linked" and the
> standard copyright definition of "derived works" is a very one way
> process. So I don't understand people that claim you can't have a GPL
> Java  program because it has to link to non-GPL code. It sounds like
> Squeak  might be the same.

I think that there is very little doubt that "static" linking would easily
be held up in court, however, there is great debate on whether "dynamic"
linking would.  The original poster has approached this correctly in
asking the copyright holder what opinion they have with regards to

> However this might be getting a bit off topic.

While I think it can be viewed as off topic, I think it is important
because someone is asking licensing questions directly related to SWORD. 
If it were just a general question can someone do X with license Y, I
would say its off topic.

To the original poster, if you would like me to ask RMS about how he views
this situation wrt the GPL and Squeak, I certainly will.

Derek Neighbors
GNU Enterprise