[kwlug-disc] Wordpress themes must be GPL

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Sun Jul 25 01:10:33 EDT 2010

On Sun, Jul 25, 2010 at 12:28:46AM -0400, unsolicited wrote:
> Khalid Baheyeldin wrote, On 07/24/2010 11:10 PM:

>>  From a practical point of view, not just licensing, I believe that
>>  releasing your modules free is far better for the developer, and
>>  the ecosystem, for many reasons: the code gets fixes, features and
>>  upgrades that are impossible for one or a few people to do on
>>  their own, the developer gets recognition, the ecosystem for the
>>  larger application gets better by having more  components, the
>>  developer gets new business, everyone wins, except those who are
>>  locked into the mentality that they should press CDs and sell
>>  their software  commercially only.

> But, to Paul's point: How do developers put food on the table?

So I trawled through a few of the discussions Glenn posted, and maybe I
take my original bet back. Chris Pearson might well continue to make a
living off of GPL Thesis -- because he is only GPLing the PHP part of
the theme. Because he is keeping important stuff proprietary (the CSS,
Javascript and other things that do not directly interact with
Wordpress), the GPL-only part of the theme may not be worth much (but
I don't know this for sure). Or he may make a good living via

The larger point still stands, though, and I do worry about developers
putting food on the table even though I selfishly refrain from paying
those developers myself. 

I think that the key word in Khalid's comment is "ecosystem". Some
niches (Drupal/Wordpress consultants, sysadmins) exist in niches where
they can make income when the tools are free. In other areas the
toolmakers are not so lucky because the "tools" are commodified and easily
configurable by the masses (Office suites, firewalls and router
distros come to mind -- or maybe those are areas where sysadmins take
food out of the mouths of the toolmakers). 

- Paul


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