[sword-devel] need help on a project

Jason Galyon jtgalyon at gmail.com
Sun Jan 27 16:02:54 MST 2008

I appreciate you helping me clue in on this.  Even better, I appreciate 
you helping me understand the concerns, something a license by its 
nature just can't really convey.

I think it is very important to honor your requests (the spirit) and not 
just get by on technical loopholes (the letter).

For sheer technical reasons I try to abstract away from depending on one 
particular data provider and provide mechanisms for (easily) working 
with other data providers.  But I know licensure is very important to 
many people so do not want to step on toes.

Its kind of hard to sell the idea of Christian ethics when you are side 
stepping the spirit or desire of particular licensing schemes.

I am not personally concerned about others profiting off of my work but 
I would be concerned about someone doing so in the name of Christ.

Again, I appreciate you taking your time to address the issues I put 
forward and not reading between the lines and working off of 
assumptions.  I do not even know enough about the licensing to suggest a 
change in license for sword, and had a few questions.

I feel very informed now.


DM Smith wrote:
> Wade,
> I am currently the lead developer for JSword. I think I understand the  
> ramifications of the GPL that you mentioned. I have studied the GPL,  
> line by line, to determine whether I was willing to contribute.
> The GPL is effective in reaching our goals. AFIK, we are the only open  
> source Bible software endeavor.
> Yes anyone can fork the project. In 15+ years, no one has. (6+ years  
> for JSword.)
> Yes anyone can sell the GPL programs for as much as they want, but as  
> long as they are clearly obeying the license (2 key provisions, the  
> user is presented with the license and the user is also provided the  
> source). To our knowledge the only ones that have sold our software  
> have either cheated people through deceptive practices or they sold it  
> for a nominal fee via ebay (not hiding the software's identity). The  
> former we oppose, and the latter is fine with us.
> Yes anyone can use the Sword API in any program they wish, provided  
> that they also license their code under the GPL. This effectively  
> provides us with code contributions.
> The value of the GPL to me is that it encourages developers to  
> contribute to Sword. Other open source licenses might do the same, but  
> the GPL is what we use.
> The whole issue about commercial endeavors is a bit misleading. A  
> commercial endeavor that wishes to use Sword and GPL their code is  
> fine with us. It is within the sphere of what the license allows. But  
> we know that does not happen.
> Personally, I think a client/server approach you mention is an  
> excellent idea. Without too much effort it can be done with  
> BibleDesktop and JSword, as it had been prototyped at one time and is  
> currently stubbed out in JSword. Your contributions would be welcomed.
> Working together for His Kingdom, we reach more.
> In Him,
> 	DM
> On Jan 27, 2008, at 11:51 AM, Wade Maxfield wrote:
>>   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 license).
>>     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.
>> Notes:
>> --------
>>    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 license.
>>     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.
>> Maranatha!
>> Wade
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