[sword-devel] Question about Public Domain

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Mon Mar 16 11:04:47 MST 2009

DM Smith wrote:
> mmital wrote:
>> Hi,
>> I have been using Alkitab bible study lately. Fantastic piece of 
>> software, truly amazing.
>> I also noticed that it is in public domain, while using sword engine 
>> that is in GPL v2, and other components that may have their own 
>> license (http://www.kiyut.com/products/alkitab/LICENSE-alkitab.txt)
>> My question is: Am I permitted to release future versions of 
>> SwordBible under public domain? The reason is that I want to continue 
>> to use the sword library that is under GPL, while also making use of 
>> third party components that may not be under GPL (with the permissions 
>> from their respective copyright holders).
>> Can this be done? Thanks for the clarifications.
> I can't answer for the SWORD library.

You probably could have spoken for The SWORD Project. :) But I'll make 
it explicit.

Sword (the C++ library) is GPLv2 only (not GPL3, not PD, not BSD, etc.) 
and any software using Sword must, obligatorily be GPLv2. Personally, I 
like GPLv2 and wouldn't want us to change, but we're at a point where 
it's not even a choice that is open to us. We use code from 3rd parties 
that is GPL licensed, so we are as much obliged to use GPLv2 for Sword 
as you and other front end authors are obliged to use GPLv2 if you use 

I recognize that there are those who would like other licenses for very 
valid reasons, but it's really not an option to Sword to license under 
licenses other than GPL.


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