[kwlug-disc] Wordpress themes must be GPL

Khalid Baheyeldin kb at 2bits.com
Mon Jul 26 15:50:51 EDT 2010

On Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 2:03 PM, Johnny Ferguson <hyperflexed at gmail.com>wrote:

> On 07/26/2010 01:47 PM, Khalid Baheyeldin wrote:
>> On Sun, Jul 25, 2010 at 9:47 AM, Johnny Ferguson <hyperflexed at gmail.com
>> <mailto:hyperflexed at gmail.com>> wrote:
>>        But, to Paul's point: How do developers put food on the table?
>>    I got into this debate with someone on another mailing list, and I
>>    now wonder the same question. I think the short answer is they can't
>>    (or they have to do something free to establish an opportunity to
>>    potentially provide extended service which others could very well
>>    provide).
>> Sure they can!
>> Just not by the older model of selling copies of software they wrote.
>> They can do support, consulting, hosting, training, extensions, or what
>> have you.
> as can everyone else with the code being GPL which was the point I tried to
> illustrate.

Bingo, so you have to differentiate, find a niche, provide more value,

Who says business was easy?

> I guess as an example:
> 1. Team X creates WebWidget5000, spending $4000
> 2. Team X creates WW5000 Support Premium
> 3. Team Y comes along and undercuts WW5000 Support Premium
> 4. Team X is very sad
> 5. Team Y laughs mischievously

So you are talking about commodity markets: Look at the shared hosting
and tell me how can someone make a profit on $4.99 a month plans?
Overbooking and airlines come to mind.

Depends on your business model if you want to stay in such a market or not:
if you can get 100,000 such clients and you have a good cost structure, then
maybe. Otherwise, you are better not competing in such a market.

I suppose whether GPL or Proprietary, the same scenario could occur, but
> with proprietary, Team Y would have to have some kind of magical powers. I
> just think the GPL has potential to make it difficult selling extended
> services.

The GPL is just a license. Selling X or Y or Z is a business question,
depending on the market you are in. The GPL is just one factor here, but
there are other equally important factors.

This is purely from theory. I've never made a massive GPL app or tried to
> sell support licenses. Any counterexamples would be welcome.

I have.

I gave a talk about that a couple of years back at the KWLUG.


Here is an updated version with video too

Khalid M. Baheyeldin
2bits.com, Inc.
Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
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