[sword-devel] GPL 3 licencing issues

DM Smith dmsmith555 at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 17 05:15:58 MST 2007

My opinion (and I may be wrong on any of this).

We should not "upgrade" the license unless we are solving a problem  
or need. We have lots of other things to work on.

The licenses should be compared to see what the differences are and  
whether it contributes anything. I read v3 a while back (long before  
it was finalized) and it appeared to be addressing tivolization,  
patent and drm issues, but otherwise looked pretty much the same.  
(see Richard Stallman's http://www.gnu.org/licenses/rms-why- 
gplv3.html for an overview of the differences)

We won't need to upgrade until we want to link with v3 licensed  

We would also need to see if other 3-rd party software is compatible  
with the upgrade (assuming that it is compatible with v2). For a  
complete listing of compatibility see: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ 
license-list.html Note: this is the list for v3. The list for v2 was  
different. I don't know what the differences are, but I hear that  
Apache (ASF) is compatible with v3 but not v2.

Note the last paragraph that discusses the "or later" phrase. It also  
allows the CrossWire model of single ownership. Having "or later"  
does not solve the compatibility issue. It merely allows the license  
to be upgraded.

The GPL in any version or flavor is *not* a theft deterrent. It is a  
legal document, useful for people who care what the license says/ 
means. Ultimately, as a non-income organization, we have little  
recourse beyond prayer and appealing to people to honor the license.

As I read it, It is still a distribution license.

I don't see that the GPL protects software in the following ways:
1) If software is not distributed, then the source does not have to  
be either. I think it is an open question whether "software as a  
service" constitutes distribution.
2) It does not prevent forking, re-branding or hiding origination.
3) It does not prevent using it as a plug-in in a non-GPL application.

In His Service,

On Jul 16, 2007, at 5:26 AM, 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)
> _______________________________________________
> sword-devel mailing list: sword-devel at crosswire.org
> http://www.crosswire.org/mailman/listinfo/sword-devel
> Instructions to unsubscribe/change your settings at above page

More information about the sword-devel mailing list