[jsword-devel] Re: JSword license

Joe Walker jsword-devel@crosswire.org
Sun, 28 Sep 2003 22:20:29 +0100


Thanks for that. I didn't fully understand the issues behind the 
"MoneyGuzzler" problem, and having understood that I think we've fallen 
into the trap and we need to fix it.

We probably should add a provision that allows anyone to link JSword 
with code that is IBM Public License v1.0 (JUnit, BSF), Apache (almost 
everything else), or the JAXB license.
I've done a quick example, but I think we should perhaps broaden the 
scope to allowing specific licenses rather than specific libraries. Any 

"In addition, as a special exception, the authors of JSword give 
permission to link the code of this program with the libraries listed 
below (or with modified versions of those libraries that use the same 
license as those libraries), and distribute linked combinations 
including the two.  You must obey the GNU General Public License in all 
respects for all of the code used other than the libraries listed below. 
If you modify this file, you may extend this exception to your version 
of the file, but you are not obligated to do so.  If you do not wish to 
do so, delete this exception statement from your version.
- Bean Scripting Framework v2.3
- JAXB v1.0
- JDOM v0.9
- JUnit v3.8.1
- Jakarta Commons Lang v2.0
- Log4J v1.2.7
- Lucene v1.2"

Mike, is your objection to the GPL because you need to have this 
exception list, or is your exception to JSword becuse we (currently) don't?

If the latter then I intend to fix the problem as an urgent priority.
Troy, Mark, Jacky, Keith, and any other contributors that I've missed - 
do you have comments?


Mike Kienenberger wrote:

>Joe Walker <joe@eireneh.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 
>program code.
>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.
>Thanks again!
>mkienenb at alaska net
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