So, we’ve finally got an official word on this, the one sentence summary by Matt reads:
PHP in WordPress themes must be GPL, artwork and CSS may be but are not required.
Ok, so that’s the final truth, because the Software Freedom Law Center (who are of course absolutely NOT partial in this, even though they’re called the “Software Freedom Law Center”) said so. Nice. Really nice actually as all I’ve done and released for WordPress, ever, has always been GPL, and I chose to work with Brian because his themes were GPL and the others were not (at the time).
You’d think I’d be happy, and I am, sort of. But I’ve got an itch that needs scratching. With this final statement, there’s also a new page on WordPress.org for Commercially supported GPL WordPress theme makers, and Genesis is among those of course.
So, all the theme makers who decide to go fully GPL (their artwork and CSS included), can get listed on that page. Well, good for them. You’d think, that by now, Matt and Automattic would have been smart enough to know who their friends and who their foes are. I’m not saying these theme makers aren’t their friends. But there are these people out there, who have been building things that have been GPL all the time, who do NOT get that recognition.
Of course, we plugin authors get to host our own plugins on wordpress.org, and we can get links back to our site etc. But where’s the page for commercially supported GPL WordPress PLUGINS Matt? Don’t you think it’s time you started treating the plugin authors the same way as the theme authors? Or do we have to start a theme war for that first?
And yes I do have an interest in this, and yes I am planning on going the “commercially supported GPL” route with some of my plugins, just because keeping them all free doesn’t make any sense any more. Free does other things, just as Chris Anderson says, it has helped tremendously in getting my name out, but “free” doesn’t make me rich, far from it even. I can be quite honest in that so far, in working with Brian on StudioPress… Well let’s just say the effort to gain ratio is a LOT better.
The fact that people are able to build business models around a project, is the reason that projects grow. The premium theme market, started by Brian but also greatly pushed by my buddies at WooThemes and others, has increased development on themes tremendously: it has done the entire WordPress community a lot of good. (BTW, read Daniel Jalkut’s post on the GPL vs liberal licenses, it’s a very good read and offers some nice food for thought).
So my plea, to you, Matt, is to help people build up viable business models around WordPress Themes AND Plugins. For several reasons, including the fact that I’m loving to be able to make a living with it, but also because I think it will do the community a lot of good. And ow yeah, I’d love a haiku on WordPress.org about me too!