Archive for January 24, 2010

on the founding of the founderation

Let’s have a Q & A session on the vaporware Wordpress Foundation! Here is Andreas Nurbo with the questions:

1) Any plans to make all the people involved at decision level with the foundation and their role public?
Yes. It is Matt. Next question.

1a) Will documentation of decisions, meetings be made public and easily accessible?
Matt is a busy man and cannot be expected to chronicle his thought processes in public, however I am sure that if he has any foundation-related ideas he will post them on a blog somewhere.

2) You write that you will support projects and ensure that stuff lives on.
2a) Who decides what gets support and what does that mean exactly?

Matt decides. If he likes you, he may give you money. Or a T-shirt. Or a mug. Or, if he’s feeling especially generous, a link in his blog.

2b) Which projects are suppose[d] to be “owned”, if any, by the foundation?
Wordpress. Duh. Well, not Wordpress the software, since the code is jointly owned by all the contributors and can be taken and messed about with by anyone, but the Wordpress trademark. That seems to be about it. Now the community gets the opportunity to contribute to the legal and administrative costs when Matt wants to take a WP-related domain off someone. Oh happy day!

2c) What will the foundation control, if anything, in terms of projects? Projectroles, websites, servers etc.
Nothing, unless at some point it proves financially advantageous to do so. You know as well as I do that setting up a non-profit is mostly done for tax purposes. Handing the wordpress.org website over to the foundation would hardly amount to relinquishing personal control, but changing the name on the domain registration seems an unnecessary formality if there is nothing more concrete to be gained by it than community goodwill.

2d) Will the foundation put up any rules for openness of the organization and decisions in the projects it decides to support?
Matt’s always been pretty clear about the projects he’s willing to support; their work may not be released under any licence other than GPL (other open-source licences are apparently a no-no, which seems offputtingly, well, religious), they should not be overly enthusiastic in the pursuit of profit, and they should respect his authoritah. As the plan seems to be to dole most of it out to Wordcamps, these demands should not be too onerous. Also, it would be kind of rich for an organisation administered inside one person’s head to demand openness and accountability from its beneficiaries, don’t you think?

I do not understand why even the most dedicated fanboy would be jumping up and down over this non-event. Are we meant to be excited about the revelation that Matt still runs everything and plans to subsidise selected Wordcamps? Seriously? And did anyone actually believe that this foundation would be some kind of committee that would administer wordpress.org for the benefit of the community? If they did, they obviously haven’t been around Wordpress for very long.

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