[sword-devel] need help on a project

Wade Maxfield wmaxfield at gmail.com
Sun Jan 27 09:51:31 MST 2008

  I apologize!

   I did not receive the answer to my questions a month ago.  I had just
signed up, and I think that caused me to miss the answer.  I thought it had
not made it to the list.

   Here is a snip from a brief post and my answers:
>You posted already about a month ago and Chris Little did ask you some
>questions regarding your intentions, but you never cared to answer those.

see above

>The thought was that you intended to do an ed run around the GPL by
>creating a GUI which was not GPL-ed.

see below

>You did not provide any reassurance on this. Will you now?

   I have just read some more of the comments on the sword mailing list.  At
the time I requested, I had not understood an implied desire to not allow
any commercial development of sword.  I do now.

   Yes, I had intended to sell a gui (and give it away for free (ie:
donationware)).   I'm not sure I wanted to do an "end run" on the GPL, but
there are some issues I wished to avoid with the GPL.  If it is truly your
desire that no one profit from Sword, you do need to change your license to
be closer to e-sword's license, and close your source.

    Before I get boiled in oil, I would like to point out some things:

   1) I am a Christian. Jesus is Lord!  I want to profit the Kingdom, lay
treasure in Heaven. I believe Sword project has those goals also.

   2) If Sword hosts a web site on the Internet, or has a mailing list,
people indirectly profit from Sword (server hosting, electricity providing,
ad dollars on web pages, taxes to ungodly governments, etc).  I have a
problem with that.  I am forced to support abortion through my taxes that I
am forced to pay both directly and indirectly.  However, I can't survive
without paying electricity, taxes, etc.  God instructed us to pay taxes, so
I do, it is in His hands.  I also can't easily distribute my software unless
I do it over the Internet.

   Here are the reasons I would like to do a Sword server:

   1) A gui can be provided cross platform with predictable usage.  The
entry level for Sword development is currently quite high.   The server
lowers the barrier.

   2) In remote countries where having scripture on a local disk can lead to
imprisonment, out of country servers can serve the scriptures beyond local
government control.  If done right, the servers can be cloaked through
proxies.  This can shield Christians to some extent.  Web pages leave
footprints in histories and files on disk and used to persecute.  A direct
server and associated gui would be able to avoid storing this information.

   3) Other people can more easily create web pages and applications that
serve scriptures than now, by connecting to such a server.  To me, this is a
win, because exposing more people to God's word will bring more harvest. God
says "My word will not return void."

   My intentions, which are different now than when I started (because I had
not understood your intent, I only understood the GPL you had released
under).  I had intended to give away the server and sell the gui to raise
money for other purposes related to God's work (spreading the Gospel).  That
purpose appears to violate the desire you have in Sword (but not the GPL

    I will release the gui we create as GPL.   Money will be made off of the
gui and the server, by web hosting companies, electricity companies,
governments (through taxes), by advertising companies who advertise on web
pages where Sword is linked to, and by people selling CD's on street corners
and elsewhere.  I may even sell the GUI (with full source code delivered at
the sale) to help fund spreading the Gospel.

   The GPL has provisions in it that allow people to charge an unspecified
"transfer fee" for transferring the software to them.  Once they receive the
software, they are free to take it, modify it, and transfer the unmodified
or newly modified code to a new person for a fee.  That fee can be 1 million
dollars, or zero cents.  It is unspecified.  You can't stop that.  The built
in protection is the fact the source code must be transferred also, along
with the license.

    Note that people are free to modify the code, without your permission or
control, under the GPL.

    Unfortunately, your code is under the GPL.  The code is out of the bag.
If you need the current release to be licensed differently, you can't.  You
CAN license the next version of code differently, even if it is on the GPL
code base, because the owner of the license by definition can't break the

    That means you can say "I deem all the old code I own from the previous
GPL version that I put into this new version to no longer be GPL."  You can
then publish a new version under whatever license you need it to be in.  I
got this information directly from a GPL attorney watchdog person who
monitors GPL violations for the EFF.  I was calling them about Sun not
distributing certain pieces of code in their GPL OpenOffice, used in another
product. It is second hand information to you now (hearsay).


    I hope this answers the questions, and my intent.

    If no one wishes to do this work, I understand.   I apologize if I have
offended anyone, that was not and is not my intent.  I had not understood
your purposes in licensing Sword the way you did, and I also believe you did
not understand the ramifications of GPL.  In my opinion, the GPL appears to
run counter to your intentions, which appear to be closer to Rick's e-sword
license, which is a closed license.  I may be wrong.

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