[sword-devel] Discussion on sword inclusion on openSUSE mailing list

Benjamin Misja alvanx at googlemail.com
Sat Sep 17 02:24:49 MST 2011

Hi everybody, 

Just wanted to make you aware that there has been a very long and heated 
discussion over the inclusion of SWORD into the official openSUSE repos in the 
last couple of days. It can be read through here: 

I did not participate, but it can be summarized as follows: A maintainer had 
requested for sword to be included into the openSUSE repos (apparently 
everybody was oblivious to the fact that it was already in the openSUSE 
Education repo). The discussion went pretty well with the tentative conclusion 
to make sure that the description is religiously neutral and that sword should 
otherwise be allowed into the repos. Then, a few ardent atheists started to 
take over, and arguments comparing the Bible to Nazi literature and about how 
much they hate all religions were brought fourth. It is obvious that no 
reasonable discussion can take place with these sorts of arguments. I am just 
proud of the participating Christians who stayed calm and reasonable for the 
most part, making the atheists look bad for their own eruptions in the 

Anyways, I think this is pretty much the conclusion they reached - to not 
censor any package (as in: not allow any religious/political content), but to 
rather make sure that the description is not offensive to anyone. 

I'm bringing this up because I am wondering what the SWORD community can do to 
give a clearer impression of our motives and also to make sure that we use 
neutral language that is inviting, rather than Christian lingo that might 
cause conflicts (and I'm not saying that we do). 
Some things that were brought up against Sword that a clear information policy 
might have prevented: 
 - Crosswire is trying to gain access to the openSUSE community in order to 
 - the name Sword could be seen as a relic from a violent Christian past
and such. 

Of course most of those arguments came out of sheer ignorance and the fact 
that those who uttered them did not even bother looking at the Crosswire web 
site at all, but nonetheless - I'm wondering if you who are in charge might 
not want to set up some guidelines for packagers and some official statements of 
purpose, maybe official package descriptions and such that packagers and other 
"ambassadors" might use in cases like that so that there are no 
misunderstandings and people don't see us in a bad light? There are some 
informative statements in this vein on the website already, but it might not 
hurt to think what can be improved to avoid any misconception about what SWORD 
is and wants is not and does not wants. 

Don't get me wrong, I do not mean to say that we should pay any attention to 
people who get "offended" by crosses in public settings and such. I'm nut sure 
those people can be helped at all. :-) I'm talking about the prevention of 
simple misunderstandings and just good PR. 

What do you think? 

God bless, 

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