Home – New Forums Tech talk GPL and the premium plugin reseller debate

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  • #989087
    Zava Design
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    Had a quite, umm, vigorous debate on a LinkedIn WordPress developers forum, that my involvement ended once I was called “scum” and told I would be “brought down” due to my views. But putting that aside, the subject matter was quite interesting before the trolling began…

    The discussion involved WordPress plugin “resellers” such as woogang.com, woohooclub.com, sozot.com and the like.

    I am of the opinion that by releasing ANY software under the GPL, you are giving inherent permission for anyone to redistribute in any way they choose. That is specifically what the GPL encourages, and one of the core reasons why WordPress has grown so much in my opinion.

    While some others saw this as something bad/evil/something, that would “destroy” the WordPress ecosystem if left unchecked.

    My view comes from two directions:

    1) The WordPress “ecosystem”, that I and many others make a pretty decent income from, would not even exist if the GPL didn’t exist with this exact purpose: To encourage the distribution of GPL software by anyone in almost any way they choose.

    Hence it would seem hypocritical of me to condemn someone from doing this, in any way they choose.

    2) With this understanding of the GPL, and the whole reason any WordPress “business” even exists in the first place, those creating “premium” WordPress software need to ensure the value they deliver is in the service they provide, not the software. A great example of this is Gravity Forms, who I gratefully pay my annual developer licence too because I get what I perceive as value for money from them.

    Justin Tadlock (who I presume most within the WP community would know) certainly supports this view: http://justintadlock.com/archives/2013/08/19/its-legal-but-unethical (and read the article and further comments from him, not just the headline… ;) )

    (Though that doesn’t mean that “I’m right, anyone else is wrong”, merely that I believe it’s a valid opinion worth more than being denigrated as “scum”)

    So, what do folk here think?

    #1170315
    Greg_M
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    Wordpress is not my thing, but I’d agree 110% on your take of the GPL and Open Source software.

    I’m a little surprised this debate is even running within the WP community (or should I say, businesses leveraging off the framework).

    WP along with so many other tools would probably not even exist without the collaboration of the communities that develop them … seems to me, you’re biting the hand that feeds you if you want to close it down and selectively make parts of it proprietary for a select few.

    The GPL has almost single handedly been responsible for creating many freedoms of choice for “everyone” not just developers.

    Without it, developers are only “share farming” for whoever holds the proprietary licence, and consumers are captive to the pricing and whims of same.

    I have been a bit of an Open Source “Nazi” in the past, making a point of only using Open Source software and operating systems … mellowed enough in my old age, to realise there’s a place for both … but OS does keep the bastards honest, and innovation alive and well.

    Long live the GPL.

    #1170316
    Zava Design
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    I can certainly understand where it’s coming from and why. There are some businesses making serious $$$$ from their WordPress plugins/themes …etc.

    So those folk I can understand why they’d have an issue with the situation, they’re worried about their cash cow. It’s the others who are not in this boat that has me questioning if they fully understand what the GPL actually means, and where the WordPress “ecosystem” would be if it did not exist?

    But am interested in hearing more, it’s obviously an area that has generated a lot of discussion recently.

    #1170317
    MatthewKeath
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    To be perfectly honest, it’s not something I think or care about.

    Wordpress is a strong community, there is tons of money involved which I think it good, and if people who develop in the WordPress ecosystem who are not legally required to release code don’t, then I really don’t care.

    To me it’s a distraction – I will let others argue.

    #1170318
    Zava Design
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    I don’t really give a crap much myself Matthew, but the hate coming out of this discussion was just mind boggling, and completely ignorant of what the GPL actively encourages – sharing of GPL software anyway you want.

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