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WordPress Matt Mullenweg and Thesis Pearsonified GPL Controversy

WordPress Matt Mullenweg and Thesis Pearsonified GPL Controversy

We have talked a lot about Thesis and here is a news which will interest both WordPress and People who are using Thesis theme along with WordPress.

News 1:  Bill Ericson Kicked out of Code Poet

Code Poet is a community Started by Automattic which is a directory of WordPress consultant around the Web. Members are selected by Automattic team and from here all the fiasco started. Automattic CEO Toni Schneider Sent an Email to Bill (one of WordPress consultant listed in CodePoet), stating that he is out of the list because he has promoted Thesis theme and Automattic team find it unfair to promote a theme which violates WordPress GPL license.

codepoetremoval thumb This image is uploaded on Flickr and here is Comment added by Matt:

“Nothing is personal to Mr. Pearson (though I’m not crazy that he verbally abused a female community member at a conference yesterday) it’s merely consistent with Automattic’s policy of not promoting businesses from the directory that break the law.
I also want to correct the notion that it’s about charging or giving things away for free: Woothemes, StudioPress, iThemes, and many others make many millions of dollars charging for their products, none of which violate WordPress’ license. In fact, the overwhelming majority of WordPress-based businesses have no problems with the license. Tens of thousands of new businesses every year are prospering on top of the community-built platform of WordPress. I love what premium themes, a market led by Brian Gardner, Adii Pienaar, and Cory Miller, have done for the WordPress world.
Regardless of whether you care about the listing or not, I hope you consider the ethics and morality of the situation. Mr Pearson ignores the licensing of the platform he profits off of because he feels that respecting it will make him less money, or even worse allow someone to profit off his work. (The horror! Disrespect of license is not inconsistent with his previous experience of selling counterfeit handbags.) If he has an ideological problem with the GPL, there are many other platforms such as EE that don’t restrict the restrictions he can place on his customers.
WordPress is over 200,000 lines of code written over 8 years and thousands of contributors explicitly licensed so you can profit off their work. You may think that nobody cares, but already some of the more prominent Thesis users such as Laughing Squid are starting to switch away.”

News 2: Twitter Conversation between Matt , Pearsonified, WordPress Community and Thesis Theme Users

After this news spread, next thing which every one saw was one on one conversation between Matt and Pearsonified which doesn’t seems to be friendly :

Here are screenshot of the conversation along with the tweeted link:


matt1 thumb

Tweet from Pearsonified:

pearsonified thumb

Tweet 3, Tweet 4, Tweet 5, Tweet 6

While reading about all this fiasco, I also found this link which explains: Why GPL doesn’t apply to Premium WordPress theme.

Some how bringing all this conversation over Twitter was not a great idea as it’s going to cost the credibility of both: WordPress and Thesis theme.

At the time of writing this post, a strong discussion is still going on Twitter. You can follow the discussion on Twitter with #thesiswp.

If you have understanding about GPL license and WordPress, I would love to know your view on Premium WordPress theme and WordPress GPL license issue?

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Article by Harsh Agrawal

Harsh has written 1069 articles.

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{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Nile

    Thesis is not a derivative work of WordPress. It merely has hooks that grab on to the filters, actions, and functions of the WordPress core that make Thesis operate in a roundabout way versus most premium themes. There really is nothing special about Thesis, especially from people who develope PHP and have thoroughly looked at this (I have two popular GPL PHP scripts listed in Hotscripts and other places myself.)

  • Jay

    Harsh, interesting debate between the two. It doesn’t sound like they will find any common ground. BTW, this post was #1 on Google for search of “thesis theme Matt Mullenweg”

  • Jitendra

    One correction in my comment above…by “someone”, I mean “the wordpress community”

  • Jitendra

    I don’t see any problem Matt asking Chris to adhere to the GPL license…how can you disrespect someone who has given you the opportunity to earn…

  • Asif

    I support Thesis Themes on This, Matt is saying this because he has already got a platform, Premium services are everywhere. This GPL seems to be coming from a different world to me.


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