[sword-devel] e-Sword support by The Sword Project

jonathon jonathon.blake at gmail.com
Mon Apr 6 12:00:33 MST 2009

On Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 17:40, Greg Hellings  wrote:

> What is being talked about is patching an open source library into the SWORD library to support yet another document format on disk.

The e-Sword EULA specifically prohibits reverse engineering. For the
resource types whose specifications have not been officially released
by e-Sword, the only way to obtain them is by reverse engineering.
(Which also involves a technical DMCA violation.)

There is also the issue of presentation markup.  (I'm assuming you
know that e-Sword resources are in a relational database, and that it
doesn't use XML.)

>or use texts which have copyright specifications stating they are only allowed to be accessed through e-Sword.

In principle, that applies to everything at eStudySource and
e-Sword-net. That is the expectation at e-sword-users.

>This is not something the SWORD Project is responsible to police for its users.

"Contributory copyright infringement" to quote the lawyer that
discussed the issue with me.  (Granted, it was in reference to another
program.   But _The Sword Project_ developers would be in the same
situation as the developers of that program.)

>  I would hate for someone to go to all the work of making SWORD compatible with e-Sword modules and fight the legal battle, only to engender bad feelings between Rick and CrossWire.

Whilst I can't speak for Rick, based on his reaction to other Bible
Study programs that can read e-Sword resources, I think I can safely
say that Rick will consider it, at a minimum, to be a EULA violation.

> And if our software is compatible,


You might not realize it, but there are enough differences in the
resource specifications for the different versions of e-Sword, that
resources created for one version won't behave the same way in a
different version of e-Sword.   (Whilst the differences are usually
subtle, they can be enough to change something that is displayed in
Windows, so that it not be displayed under either WINE, or CrossOver.)

There is also the issue of user created resources that don't adhere to
the published specifications of the resources types that are "open".
Under some situations, these can destabilize e-Sword.  What they will
do to a third party application is anybody's guess.   (Based on
experience, they are as likely to crash the third party application,
as not.)

> then at least the questions of, "Why can't I see my e-Sword modules in <front-end>" are answerable in a more user-friendly way: you can.
> If they are crooning about problems in the module, we can point them back to the actual e-Sword site, or we can report the problems ourselves.

That _might_ work for resources from e-sword.net, or estudysource, or
e-sword-users.org. I doubt it will work for resources from other


It would be much smarter for the project to either convert the
resources for e-Sword that can be legally redistributed, and whose
license allows for format shifting, or request permission from
copyright holders to provide content in The Sword Project file
formats, than spend time writing a patch to the Sword Project API,
that enables it to read e-Sword resources.

FWIW, I'd be willing to help in both identifying, and migrating the
e-Sword resources that can be legally redistributed, and format


More information about the sword-devel mailing list