[sword-devel] GPL restrictions (was Re: using a zText module)

Daniel Hughes trampster at gmail.com
Sun Aug 12 18:58:27 MST 2012

OK can understand the worry about FSF changing the terms of the licence in
the future to something you are not happy with.

I will therefore licence my code under GPL2. Thanks for taking the time to
explain your position to me.


On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 1:52 PM, Chris Little <chrislit at crosswire.org>wrote:

> On 08/12/2012 05:51 PM, Daniel Hughes wrote:
>> OK here is the issue for me. My application (Wide Margin) is GPL 3. It
>> has been all it's life. I want to use libsword. But libsword is GPL2.
> The license employed by The SWORD Project is presented in the LICENSE file
> in the root of the source tree. Most if not all of the source files
> identify themselves as being GPLv2 licensed. It was never a secret that
> Sword is GPLv2.
> We would certainly encourage adoption of Sword in additional Bible
> software, but the same license and rules apply to GPLv3-licensed open
> source projects as apply to closed source software that might want to
> incorporate Sword. Using Sword requires adoption of GPLv2.
> Peter's description of the options available to front-end authors was
> precisely correct. If you want to incorporate Sword, you'll have to adopt
> GPLv2. You can also license your code under other licenses, excluding those
> parts that actually interface with Sword. So you can license your work as
> 'version 2 or later', which would include 3, excluding those parts that
> specifically interface Sword. Binaries that include the Sword-interface
> code would obligatorily be GPLv2. If you build a binary without the
> Sword-interface code, such as your current non-Sword-interfacing builds, it
> can be under some other license, such as GPLv3.
>  GPL 3 is a later version of GPL 2. The FSF want people to use GPL 3.
> CrossWire is not the FSF. The terms of GPLv2 are agreeable to us, and
> allowing "version 2 or later" licensing would fundamentally permit the FSF
> to relicense Sword in the future. I wouldn't trust the FSF to arbitrarily
> change the terms of the GPL in version 4 or 5 or 25.
>  What would it take for the sword project to re-licence to: GPL 2 or
>> later. I'm sure that the libsword contributors would have no problem
>> with allowing GPL 3 applications use the library.
>> How many contributors do you have, how hard would it be for you to
>> contact them and get permission for this licence change. Otherwise you
>> are going to be preventing more and more libraries who are following
>> FSF recommendations and licencing as GPL3.
> I expect we'll follow Linux's lead. When Linux goes GPLv3, so will Sword.
>  Xiphos uses GPL2 or later. This would make Xiphos non-compliant.
>> Bible time uses GPL2 but contains this text:
>> This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
>> it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
>> the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
>> (at your option) any later version.
>> This would make BibleTime also non-compliant
>> Looks like you guys have a bit of a problem on your hands. What are you
>> planning to do about it?
> Xiphos & BibleTime can be GPLv2 or later, but only to the extent that
> their code can be dis-interfaced from Sword. Those applications could, for
> example, have all Sword-ness removed and be desktop interfaces to the
> Biblia.com API, and the result could be GPLv3 (or 4 or 5 ...). (I don't
> know about licensing terms on the Biblia.com API, but from the technical &
> Xiphos/BibleTime-licensing perspective this is accurate.)
> --Chris
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