GPL Themes Get Some Love, Plugins Suffer?

Matt Mullenweg asked the Software Freedom Law Center whether WordPress Themes are GPL too. One sentence summary: PHP in WordPress themes must be GPL, artwork and CSS may be but are not required.

As a huge proponent of the GPL, this is exciting. However, as Joost pointed out in On the GPL, Themes, Plugins & Free, there’s some disappointment as well. The exciting part is that a question that’s long been asked has been answered by a “pro” (albeit a biased “pro”), and the answer is just what many of us wanted to see. Now we can get some people to focus on commercially supported GPL themes rather than just themes with more restrictive licenses. They have even added a Commercially Supported GPL Themes page to wordpress.org! That’s awesome, and a great followup to Matt’s “State of the Word” talk at WordCamp San Francisco.

So what’s the problem? Well, Matt has said that the plugin developers have been the rock stars in the WordPress community, and it’s time for the theme designers to shine. I have no problem with the theme designers getting to shine, but as a plugin developer I wonder “Where is the Commercially Supported GPL Plugins page? I love to give to the community with GPL WordPress plugins, and will continue to do so, but I’ll also be offering premium support for many of these in the future. I’d like to see the same treatment for theme designers and plugin developers.

Having said all that, I’m really glad to see the GPL themes page and I think it’s a good step in the right direction.

About Aaron D. Campbell

Owner and lead developer at BlueDog, Aaron has 10+ years of web development experience, it a regular core contributor to the WordPress project, and has released many WordPress plugins.
This entry was posted in WordPress News, WordPress Themes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 thoughts on “GPL Themes Get Some Love, Plugins Suffer?

  1. RaveN says:

    I think there are plugin developers that offers premium support to users (e.g. Crowd Favorite). So, I think we are doing this now. But we are not offering our services as themes are doing now.

    But I strongly agree that a Commercially Supported GPL Plugins zone will be great for us.

  2. There are definitely some people already doing this. I’ll be doing it over at Xavisys Web Development once I’ve got all the tools in place, and I’ve talked to other prominent plugin developers that plan on doing the same thing.

  3. Not all is as clear about this as GNU wants us to believe. The following article gives a legal analysis of the “plugins must be GPL’d” claim:

    http://www.law.washington.edu/lct/swp/Law/derivative.html

    It’s a long article but it’s well worth the read.

  4. Pingback: WordPress Themes are GPL and Chris Pearson still acting like a bully » Mark Finch Thoughts

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