All posts filed under: GPL

Understanding the GPL licensing of WordPress

Licensing As I’ve noted previously, WordPress is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), version 2. The text of version 2 of the GPL has accompanied every release of WordPress since its inception, in the license.txt file included in each download. Originally, and until version 3.2 of WordPress, the license.txt file was a verbatim reproduction of the GPL, with no reference to b2 or the WordPress contributors. Matt and his co-developers had, instead, included full attribution to b2 and Michel Valdrighi in the readme.html file included with each download. For example, in the open source spirit that pervades the WordPress community and which Matt has championed from the outset, the readme.html file in version .71 of WordPress said this: “WordPress is built from b2, which comes from Michel V. We wouldn’t be here without him, so why don’t you grab him something from his wishlist?” Nice. As WordPress matured, each download continued to include a license.txt file and a readme.html file but, with the release of version 3.2 of WordPress, Matt and his co-developers …

Automattic, open licensing and open data

The open spirit of WordPress Everyone knows that the founders of and contributors to the WordPress software at WordPress.org wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of open source software. The GPL (the open source licence under which WordPress is licensed) sits at the centre of what they do and Matt Mullenweg, for example, speaks passionately about the GPL and champions the cause it represents (and those that defy the GPL’s requirements (or spirit) when the community thinks it applies (or should be applied) may, well, be frowned upon). Here’s an example of Matt speaking about the GPL: [wpvideo ABaVkvrA] From software to other creative content Whilst copyleft has its origins in the software world, the open source software movement is now a subset of the larger world of open licensing and open data. Various licences and tools exist to enable people to share not only their software but also their creative content and other data on standardised terms that are quick and easy to put in place. Automattic’s generosity Not surprisingly given its founders, Automattic has always …

A brief history of WordPress

Many have written accounts of the birth and growth of WordPress. For example, there’s a punchy timeline in the WordPress codex, an interesting 10 year visual history on WPMU DEV and interesting posts on WPExplorer, WPBeginner and Kinsta WordPress Hosting. An even richer account is likely to be released soon, as certain WordPress aficionados are currently writing “a new book about the history of WordPress drawing on dozens of interviews with the original folks involved and extensive research”. For the purposes of this blog, I don’t need to explore the history of WordPress in the same level of detail (and it’s best that I leave that to the historians and others). It does help, though, to set out a few key points about WordPress’s development as well as the nature and roles of Automattic Inc and the WordPress Foundation. They help one understand the origins of the WordPress software, the legal structure around WordPress and its licensing, the relationship between WordPress and WordPress.com and the relevance of the WordPress Foundation. In addition, the origin of …