[sword-devel] GPL 3 licencing issues

keith preston keithpre at gmail.com
Mon Jul 16 08:04:16 MST 2007

Speaking of licensing issues, I've always wondered why Sword was licensed
under the GPL license.  Is there a specific purpose for being specifically
GPL?   To me if would be benifical for the library to be LGPL or a less
restrictive license.   I mean the purpose of the code is to make the bible
available and is specifically designed in that respect.   I believe the GPL
restricts use of this purpose.

For example, say I am a commercial company and I put out a device and
publish an api to my UI.   Some random hacker comes around and implements a
sword program with that API and distribute the program freely.    This
generally is only possible if the company decided to open source their
entire UI, which frequently might not be the case.  In fact, the GPL
restricts what components can be linked into a program.

There are probably more issues then I am thinking of here, but to me I would
give the code away and hope people used it to make the bible available to
more people.

Keith Preston

On 7/16/07, Eeli Kaikkonen <eekaikko at mail.student.oulu.fi> wrote:
> Sword library source code has some licencing issues. Different files
> have different licence statements. They should be reviewed and
> corrected.
> The problem is mostly theoretical because nobody really cares - the
> library is under GPL and that's that. But there may arise issues later
> with GPL 3. Some of you may already know that GPL 2 and 3 are NOT
> compatible. That may sound weird but that's how it is. The only thing
> which makes them compatible is the copyright notice which is not part of
> the licence. If it reads "relased under GPL v 2 or later" it's
> compatible. If it reads "released under GPL" it is unclear. If it reads
> "released under GPL; see the attached licence" and the GPL v 2 is
> attached it is technically GPL 2 only and not compatible with version 3.
> Inside Crosswire this is not important because we don't sue ourselves
> because of inconsistency. But if and when we use other libraries inside
> Sword library and when the frontend projects use many different
> libraries this may become an issue.
> Most probably we want the Sword licence to be "under GPL v. 2 or any
> later version" to secure the widest compatibility possible. Even after
> that the library or the frontends can not use two libraries of which one
> is under GPL2 only and the other GPL3 only.
>   Yours,
>         Eeli Kaikkonen (Mr.), Oulu, Finland
>         e-mail: eekaikko at mailx.studentx.oulux.fix (with no x)
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