[sword-devel] Fwd: GPL and other license related questions

DM Smith dmsmith555 at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 29 04:23:52 MST 2008

On Jan 27, 2008, at 6:19 PM, Paul Gear wrote:

> Chris Little wrote:
>> ...
>> No one who has argued against changing the current licensing has  
>> accused
>> commercial interests of being evil or has criticized the creation of
>> commercial software. The whole "commercial software is evil" meme  
>> came
>> from the other camp,
>> ...
>> We're not going to encourage any financial exploitation of Sword.  
>> We may
>> even frown on it. But we won't actively work to hinder you,  
>> provided you
>> obey the license.
>> ...
>>> I don't think that your choice of the GPL is a bad choice, but
>>> I do think that you are seriously in error in jumping to the
>>> conclusion that if it goes commercial it will be taking all your  
>>> work
>>> without any attribution or contribution.  I'm not even convinced  
>>> that
>>> lots of commercial software would want to use Sword.
>> ...
>> The issue isn't Logos or BibleWorks using Sword code. The issue is
>> people who assume GPL means PD, take our work, rename & repackage,
>> remove attribution (at least at purchase time), rip off customers by
> I don't want to add fuel to the fire here, but using the terms
> "commercial" and "financial exploitation" whilst in any way suggesting
> that the GPL is against them is misleading.  The GPL is about free  
> as in
> free speech, not free as in free lunch [1], and the opposition to this
> kind of freedom is proprietary software (the people who rename,
> repackage, and remove attribution).

You are correct. I think this may have been my slip-up.

The problem is that the syllogism in my mind goes:
The GPL requires that all the source code be  given to every person  
that receives the binary code and to every one that asks. This may  
incur a cost.

The GPL requires that the consumer is presented with the terms of the  
license so that they can know their rights regarding the software.

The GPL grants re-distribution rights to everyone and in turn one may  
redistribute without cost.

The GPL requires all software developed with it also be licensed under  
the GPL.

Commercial interests need to protect their revenue stream and if they  
depended on selling the binary code, they could not depend on the GPL  
to preserve it.

Therefore commercial interests will avoid the GPL and (here is my slip- 
up) thus the GPL inherently precludes those interests.

> There are plenty of ways people can get "free lunch" Bibles, but Sword
> is the only major source of "free speech" Bibles and software, and  
> this
> is what needs emphasizing, IMO.
> Paul
> <http://paul.gear.dyndns.org>
> [1] Being a teetotaler, i prefer "free lunch" to the FSF's "free beer"
> analogy. ;-)  It also ties in the old adage "there's no such thing  
> as a
> free lunch", which Free Software has disproven time after time!  :-)

More information about the sword-devel mailing list