[sword-devel] Question about Public Domain

jhphx jhphx at cox.net
Tue Mar 17 23:11:54 MST 2009

Chris wrote:
> You need to look at the question immediately following the one you 
> link. I'll quote:
> Q: If a library is released under the GPL (not the LGPL), does that 
> mean that any program which uses it has to be under the GPL?
> A: Yes, because the program as it is actually run includes the library.
> That couldn't be any more clear. Putting it into concrete terms, Sword 
> is a library. Sword is under the GPL. And front end to Sword is a 
> "program which uses it". Thus, any front end to Sword must be under 
> the GPL.

Actually, it could be clearer. The FAQ in places uses language like, "we 
believe they form a single program." When the above Q&A uses the word 
"program" it could be clearer whether or not this is the parts combined 
into a single program or one of the parts of that combination that links 
to the library. In my opinion the statement in the answer, "because the 
program as it is actually run includes the library," implies the program 
in question is the combination because it "includes the library."

In SWORD devel jargon, it seems to me that a SWORD application is a 
frontend code plus the SWORD library code. So, the "program" of the Q&A 
in this case is the full application not the frontend code apart from 
the library.

Part of the FAQ I think is clear is:
Q - You have a GPL'ed program that I'd like to link with my code to 
build a proprietary program. Does the fact that I link with your program 
mean I have to GPL my program?
 A - Yes.

In this case there is a distinction between "my code" and "my program." 
Again, in SWORD jargon, "your program" would be the SWORD library, "my 
code" would be the frontend code and "my program" would be a full SWORD 

If I am wrong, then to me the FAQ is not clear.

What is not clear to me is what each party in this discussion means when 
they say things like "program".


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