[sword-devel] GPL 3 licencing issues

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Mon Jul 16 09:34:45 MST 2007

It's probably time we (or maybe just Troy) decided how we feel about 
GPL3. The final version does seem to have addressed the more onerous 
issues of the drafts and there are enough significant GPL2 projects 
changing over to GPL3 that I would feel comfortable with Sword doing 

I think we should drop the "or any later version" language from all of 
the files that CrossWire owns, and change everything to specific license 

If we did go the GPL3 route, we should probably dual license under GPL2 
and GPL3 for at least a few years so as not to force front-end 
developers to change licenses (at least not yet).

Another option is to write a GPL (2 or 3) derivative license that adds 
some additional restrictions to prevent some of the commercial abuses of 
our software that we've seen in the past: restrictions against changing 
the software title to hide its identity, restrictions against embedding 
ad banners, a requirement that CrossWire be notified prior to 
distribution of derivative works, etc.


Eeli Kaikkonen 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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