[sword-devel] GPL 3 licencing issues

Eeli Kaikkonen eekaikko at mail.student.oulu.fi
Tue Jul 17 06:00:13 MST 2007

On Tue, 17 Jul 2007, DM Smith wrote:
> We should not "upgrade" the license unless we are solving a problem
> or need. We have lots of other things to work on.

I agree.

> 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)

Some small changes in wordings may be crucial for some issues. Section 7
in GPL 3 is new and may be crucial for the problems which Chris told

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

That's true.

> Having "or later"
> does not solve the compatibility issue. It merely allows the license
> to be upgraded.

I'm not quite sure if I understand. After all it is effectively double
licencing, and has not double licencing been one way to ensure
compatibility with GPL? I mean, a library could be used in a GPL program
if the library is licenced under both GPL and a non-compatible licence.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_license.

> 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.

And that is one reason why I think changing the licence is a bad idea.
As I said in an earlier post, strict rules hurt good people, not bad
people. Bad people can be hurt only by the Sword of the authorities
(excuse my pun with Rom. 13:1-7).

> 2) It does not prevent forking, re-branding or hiding origination.

We have to check if the GPL 3 section 7 could prevent hiding

> 3) It does not prevent using it as a plug-in in a non-GPL application.

That's true. If someone really wants to use Sword in a closed product
it's possible to make an intermediate low-level frontend which runs in a
separate process and communicates through a pipe. It's completely legal.

	Eeli Kaikkonen (Mr.), Oulu, Finland
	e-mail: eekaikko at mailx.studentx.oulux.fix (with no x)

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