[jsword-devel] Re: JSword license
Sun, 28 Sep 2003 13:49:38 -0400
Joe Walker <email@example.com> wrote:
> I probably own the copyright to 90%+ of JSword and my personal
> priorities put helping people to read and understand the Bible above
> philosophical ideals of software freedom. However even though the answer
> from me would be "not sure it depends", you would also need to get the
> agreement of:
> So the long and short is that it is probably too late.
That's what I suspected, but thanks for explaining!
> Maybe it would be easier for me to persuade you to use the GPL for your
For the reason why this is not possible, read "I am writing free software
that uses non-free libraries. What legal issues come up if I use the GPL?"
at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#WritingFSWithNFLibs and "I'd
like to modify GPL-covered programs and link them with the portability
libraries from Money Guzzler Inc. I cannot distribute the source code for
these libraries, so any user who wanted to change these versions would have
to obtain those libraries separately. Why doesn't the GPL permit this?" at
The short answer is that the GPL was designed to prevent using GPL and
non-source libraries in the same program. For more on this design goal, see
However, it wasn't too hard to create a new implementation from scratch that
is able to fetch specific verses from sword bible data sources.
Using a hex editor, it turned out to be trivial to understand the format of
the raw text sword data modules. It was a little more challenging to handle
the zip compressed modules. I ended up skimming through rawtxt2z.cpp in the
sword project to see how a raw file was converted to a zip file to
understand the file format (I didn't originally understand the purpose of a
bzs file). There are still things I don't understand because of my research
techniques (like why the first verse of a Bible seems to start at verse 3 --
probably due to some preamble expectations), but I have something that works
for my purposes.
Yesterday, I successfully wrote code to perform a verse look-up from both
the rawtext and zip block compressed formats. I've tested it against the
Common and ISV.
As soon as I clean up the code, I'm willing to release it under any of the
other less-restrictive licenses (probably Apache since that's almost a
standard for java, and my logging module is org.apache.common.logging). Is
there any interest (or opposition) in me posting the results (probably a
couple of java code files less than 30K) to this mailing list? Maybe the
code could even be made available as a non-maintained contrib section in
I doubt I'm the only person who has an interest in using sword bible data
(verses) in a way outside of the scope allowed by the GPL license on the
On the other hand, I don't want to cause any contention over something as
unimportant as software licenses, so if there are strong opinions in this
area, I'll keep quiet and anyone interested can contact me off-line.
Andreas, thanks for your suggestions as well, but the GPL (at least in
spirit) is pretty specific about disallowing that kind of interface if you
distribute both pieces (and possibly even if you don't), and not
distributing all the pieces really limits the target audience.
mkienenb at alaska net