[sword-devel] Legitimate FTP Mirrors & Module Distribution Rights Question

Andrew Thule thulester at gmail.com
Sun Jul 29 12:20:57 MST 2012

I think the vision of having the module source provider 'contribute'
the module at a site (such as NET coming from crossway) is also a good
one.  That at least means should a single module source be 'shutdown',
others are still available, (even if not containing the module a users
trying to get).  For InstallMgr to support something like this would
be good.

(I spend much time in a heavily mined landlocked South-East Asian
Islamic country where becoming a Christian was punishable by death.
Crosswire was not accessible - and it was a real impediment

How does InstallMgr work when I go to the main Crosswire site and
download a module like KJV (version 2.3) and then update source from
say Crosswire Beta where it sees KJV (version 2.4) and suggests an
update (or is this a Xiphos thing)?

That's very nice 'feature' where it sees the module the same though
the source may be different (I presume by seeing the upgrade to
"Version=" in the .conf file).  Should an install module  software
support multiple sites, it would be very nice to continue recognizing
modules as the same regardless of their source.


On Sun, Jul 29, 2012 at 11:45 AM, Troy A. Griffitts
<scribe at crosswire.org> wrote:
> Hey guys.  Thanks for everyone speaking on this thread.  Andrew, I do
> appreciate your offer, I sympathize with your single point of failure and
> widest distribution possible points; however, I tend to agree with the
> replies given on this thread.  The primary benefit I see for a mirror would
> be faster downloads.  I'm not sure we have an issue currently.
> Technically:
> Changing InstallMgr to 'merge' modules from multiple repositories would be
> simple to do.  This is already done for the concept of global modules
> typically located someplace like /usr/share/sword/ and personal modules
> located at ~/.sword/.  The method to call is:
>         /**
>          * Adds books from a new path to the library
>          * @param path the path in which to search for books
>          * @param multiMod whether or not to keep multiple copies of the
> same book if found in different paths
>          *              default - false, uses last found version of the book
>          */
>         virtual void SWMgr::augmentModules(const char *path, bool multiMod =
> false);
> This would allow a frontend to give a unified list of modules from all
> repositories and would show the latest version available on any repo.  I
> prefer having the repositories separate for the user because it gives a
> certain flavor/theme/endorsement to the modules.  e.g., NET work comes
> directly from bible.org.  Hopefully soon, the ESV will come directly from
> Crossway, and my hope is that this will become a trend.  The Xiphos repo
> hosts brave modules which give newer features, but which might not yet be
> fully tested on all platforms (I hope this is a fair characterization).
> The mirror concept is different from this identity separation, I realize,
> but technically, the merging of modules from various mirrors could use the
> same facility.  We would need to tweak the code slightly to add an entry in
> the memory stamp of the loaded .conf to include all the mirrors which
> provide the module, so the frontend could offer a choice to the user and
> then get back to the correct repo to actually request the download, but it
> would be a simple addition and one a frontend could already do easily if
> they wanted to offer such.
> Also, technical comment to another item on this thread:
> We do support multiple copies of the same modules, as seen by the final
> parameter of the above method.  The default is false (don't keep multiple
> copies), but this functionality was requested by the Bibletime team a number
> of years ago, and I believe they turn it on by default (or at least they
> used to).  I only saw the benefit for developers, as Karl and David
> mentioned, so I left the default false.
> In general, please don't think distribution isn't one of our highest
> priorities.  My entire push to keep the definition of a 'module repository'
> as simple as any installed set of SWORD modules, is fuelled directly from
> that desire-- to technically enable anyone who installs a set a modules, to
> then become a distributor of those modules simply by making their storage
> location available to others.  If I thought sanctioned mirrors would
> legitimately increase Bible distribution, I would endorse the move.
> Hope this helps,
> Troy
> On 07/29/2012 05:07 PM, Greg Hellings wrote:
>> On Sun, Jul 29, 2012 at 8:20 AM, Andrew Thule <thulester at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Sun, Jul 29, 2012 at 7:29 AM, Peter von Kaehne <refdoc at gmx.net> wrote:
>>>>> I really don't see your point about this.
>>>> To second that - there is essentially no point.
>>> Many publicly available repositories replicate themselves.  (Take
>>> Sourceforge for example).  There are many reason why they do this.
>>> Lower latency in downloads for example, fewer router hops between
>>> client and source download, load balance downloads by distributing
>>> them across multiple sites, reduce available from single point of
>>> failure, and yes even security.  There are places in the world that
>>> filter or monitor sites because of the word 'cross'.  The point should
>>> be obious, suggesting Crosswire consider replicating itself (the site)
>>> and it's module repository has benefits such as no single point of
>>> failure etc - that is unless the chief concern is not text
>>> distribution.
>> Many do. We have opted not to. The extra technical requirements to
>> setup mirroring and ensure it stays synced to the master are not worth
>> the increased benefits to us at this time. If it becomes beneficial in
>> the future then it will be considered. But at this point the costs
>> outweigh the benefits, in the group's collective mind.
>>>> People who access us from countries which control their internet and
>>>> want to block the Bible, need to be cautious and come through proxies,
>>>> tor or whatever or obtain stuff via CDs, USB sticks etc.
>>> This might be your preference, but should Crosswire really control
>>> it's own module distribution once it makes them available?
>> Uhh... yes? CrossWire should definitely control its modules. I'm not
>> certain what you're getting at here. CrossWire will license any
>> original works it creates with a very permissive license - GPLv2 for
>> most software or similarly themed licenses for texts. Those, anyone is
>> free to use. When Wycliffe or someone else grants us permission to
>> create a module from one of their texts we negotiate the most
>> permissive license they are willing to allow. We have no control over
>> those modules, so there is nothing we can do besides follow the
>> licenses we were able to negotiate and encourage others to follow them
>> as well.
>>>> Providing secondary download sources in the hope that they will not be
>>>> observed while our main ones are - this is silly and actually more
>>>> dangerous than going the long way via e.g. tor
>>> Well such a scenario is only one possible benefit.  Tor nodes may also
>>> be filtered (have you ever tried to look at a books.google.com book
>>> through the Tor network for example?)   The benefit of Tor networks is
>>> not that that they get around domain-name restrictions, but that they
>>> get around tracing relationships between client and server.  Likewise,
>>> if someone wanted to monitor access to sword modules (technically)
>>> they would need look at but a single site. But again, this is somewhat
>>> of a tangent.
>>>> The offer is kind, is appreciated, but is essentially one which makes no
>>>> sense to us, increases our opportunity costs and therefore should be
>>>> declined.
>>> No worries.  The goal wasn't to necessarily host a crosswise mirror
>>> (though that was the offer) but to to ask Crosswire's philosophy on
>>> module distribution. I wondered about how to provide maximum
>>> dissemination to Sword modules in my possession not in the main repo,
>>> some of which have not had their distribution rights negotiated.  I'd
>>> like to balance licensing restrictions against broad availability.
>> If you are the copyright holder, you are welcome to place any modules
>> you create under a repository. You'd even be welcomed to place that
>> repository in the master list so that applications can automatically
>> discover it and offer the source to their users. The Xiphos repository
>> essentially fits this description. It is not officially a part of
>> CrossWire, but it is listed in the autodiscover repository list and is
>> maintained by one of the people in this thread to host modules that he
>> personally wanted to see hosted but which CrossWire didn't or wouldn't
>> host.
>> If you are not the copyright holder then you have to obey the
>> copyright of the source text. For modules like the NIV or the NRSV,
>> which we'd like to distribute, we have been unable to come to terms
>> with their copyright holders. So we can't distribute those and,
>> legally, you couldn't either. The same goes for non-Bible matieral. If
>> you want to post copyrighted modules in your personal repository
>>> Having them at a single site neither distributes risk, and represents
>>> a single point of failure.  Similarly, if the applications of rights
>>> such as "Copyrighted; Permission to distribute granted to CrossWire"
>>> implies that module redistribution becomes restricted to one site only
>>> - that likely shouldn't be the license attached to the module. (On the
>>> other hand if Crosswire asserted it's right to text re-distribution
>>> though through a sanctioned mirror program - I'd have less issue with
>>> it).
>> CrossWire can distribute its sources out across mirrors and multiple
>> sites if it wants to. If we wanted to host the modules off of S3, we
>> could do that. If we wanted to acquire a second site hosted in London
>> to duplicate our data as a failover location, we could do that. So
>> long as the sites are CrossWire, there is no limitation to CrossWire
>> distributing the modules from only its one server located in Arizona.
>> However, we just don't see any need (and yes, we understand the
>> benefits and drawbacks) for distributed mirrors at this time. Maybe
>> that will change in the future, maybe not. Maybe Troy will jump in at
>> this point in the coversation and say, "You know what, I think we
>> should."
>> But those modules which are licensed for CrossWire's distribution
>> only, we are no the ones to place that restriction. The copyright
>> holders have done so. We graciously thank them for being so generous
>> with their text and attempt jealously to guard the copyright according
>> to the owner's wishes. We would like that restriction lifted, because
>> we do encourage people to download modules that are helpful to them
>> onto CD or USB stick and hand them to friends and family and
>> co-workers. That could very much be a violation of such a license, if
>> those people are not part of CrossWire. Thus, we try to avoid that
>> license if possible, but if that is the only terms under which a
>> content owner will license their text, we have to abide by that.
>> --Greg
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