[kwlug-disc] Wordpress themes must be GPL

Insurance Squared Inc. gcooke at insurancesquared.com
Sat Jul 24 17:38:18 EDT 2010


GPL just streamrolled right over a commercial application.

Background: Most folks here know wordpress as a content management 
system/blogging platform.    Chris Pearson created a paid theme called 
'Thesis' and promoted the heck out of it, right down to affiliate 
marketing.  By all accounts he was wildly financially successful.  The 
thesis 'theme' is actually a combination theme, toolset, and theme 
development package.  I personally bought and use the 'developer' 
license of the Thesis theme.

The folks at wordpress got into a twitter/interview/blogosphere argument 
with the developer of this theme, suggesting that because of the theme's 
association with wordpress, which is GPL, that therefore the theme must 
also be GPL (instead of $89 or whatever it was that he was charging.  I 
think I paid $150).

Long story short, the thesis theme is now effectively GPL.   Some 
articles on this:
http://mixergy.com/chris-pearson-matt-mullenweg/
http://mixergy.com/chris-pearson-thesis-interview/
http://mashable.com/2010/07/22/thesis-relents/
http://www.webmasterworld.com/content_management/4173762.htm

Interesting application of the GPL forcing someone to release code from 
a very profitable business model.  Also this may stifle some creativity 
in wordpress themes - one of the reasons many people use wordpress 
instead of better CMS's like drupal.  Which is ironic, since wordpress 
forced this issue and it may end up harming them.

Actually - actually!  This may be good news. Because now someone can 
port this over to drupal (something I've actually wanted) and I can get 
rid of the tech nightmare that is wordpress.

g.




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