[sword-devel] GPL issues (again, sorry)

Jerry Hastings sword-devel@crosswire.org
Fri, 25 May 2001 23:19:06 -0700

>I know that this has been stated before, but with little interest, but 
>here goes:  Since the GPL/LGPL seems to be ambiguous in some areas and 
>maybe a bit too restrictive in others, might it be the right time to set 
>up some sort of SWORD Public License?

It may be something to think about but it would not come without a price. 
The code used by Sword is GPL and it may be very difficult to get some of 
it released for another license, unless that license is GPL compatible. I 
think Sword can live with GPL however the dynamic linking issue turns out.

>I would like to see all code available for use, as freely as possible

I like people having the freedom to choose how freely they want to release 
their own code. But, I do think it is very fitting that there should be 
Bible related software like the Sword Project that is free and open. In the 
past I have seen people contribute to projects that they believed would 
continue in a "freely you have received..." spirit, only to see them become 
too commercial. If the GPL does close the linking hole, then it does 
provide an agreement that others will not come along and take advantage of 
the work provided for free to make a commercial gain for themselves. Even 
so, I have been open to the idea that throwing a bone to commercial 
developers could help get acceptance and distribution for the Sword 
Project. However, that has not been happening and the Sword Project 
continues to grow. As it grows there will be less and less of a benefit 
from providing that commercial bone. It would be great some day if there 
were free modules that would be widely recognized as being as good as the 
NIV, or what have you, by the people that would use the NIV, or what have 
you. And if there was a wealth of programmers helping, we wouldn't need to 
link to commercial programs. At that time I don't see any reason the Sword 
Project could not get along well, if it were completely cut off from 
commercial interest. Then again, maybe it should stay that way now. But, I 
still think that today a lot more people would use it if it had things like 
the NIV. Providing something like the NIV is more than a GPL issue (though 
I would have thought dynamic linking was also) but I thought I would add 
that to the discussion because it points out that there can be more to 
being free than the program code.