commentary

I appear to have become one of those people who does their blogging in other people’s comments threads. Oops.

So, here am I on putting the P into wOrDpReSs: 1, 2 and 3 (bonus link to camelcasers needing to get out more).

And whipping the dead horse of GPL just to make sure it will never rise again (oh, it just did):

All this debate does is make Thesis sound better and more important than every other theme that exists.

I feel sort of disappointed that this has sunk to the level of personal attacks. (On re-reading, I’ve decided I was a little harsh on Jane here. What actually irritates me about this post is the focus on how loud and aggressive and generally ignorant Chris is in comparison to gentlemanly Matt and sweet, altruistic Jane. He might be mean and you might be lovely, but it doesn’t follow that he’s wrong and you’re right. I hate to break it to you guys, but copyright law doesn’t care whether you’re nice.)

I wish somebody could build a time machine and tell Michel Valdrighi what a mess his decision was going to make years down the line.

and for the obligatory wordpress.com slant:

Seems harsh to get rid of wordpress.com themes purely on ideological grounds (no, I don’t know why permalinks to comments on Matt’s blog are broken either. Probably something to do with SEO).

I wish people would quit pretending this is a legal issue rather than an ideological one. Hands up who believes that a judge’s decision that themes did not have to abide by GPL would change Matt’s position, and that he would immediately throw open the doors of wordpress.org to non-GPL themes and quit badmouthing non-GPL developers? Nobody involved in this actually cares about the law, any more than the law cares about whether they are nice or not. Chris wants the power to licence his work as he chooses and Matt wants everyone else to licence their work as he chooses. And the GPL is obscure enough that it is possible to interpret it either way. Can we stop squeaking now? Thanks.

12 Comments »

  1. KB said

    I’ve noticed that most people forget to mention that WP is GPL because b2, its predecessor, was and sometimes I wonder whether Matt would have adopted the GPL of his own accord if he had another option.

    I also wonder how Matt would have reacted if Michael raised a claim that WP was in violation of the GPL. Not saying that it was, or is, just thinking out loud.

    And I don’t think you were that harsh on Jane. Her post did have a decidedly biased slant–an emotional one–when it should have focused more on the true matter at hand, whether Matt or Chris have a legal leg to stand on.

    • Well, Jane’s not a lawyer, so I’m sort of thankful she wasn’t opining on the legal aspect (btw, I really loved how Matt claims in the Mixergy interview that EVERY LAWYER IN THE WORLD except for that one guy in ‘rural Florida’ agrees with his personal take on the GPL. It’s the bit about ‘rural Florida’ that cracks me up, like that invalidates any opinion he might have on cool funky urban web 2.0 issues. Um, welcome to the internet?)

      I think most of the fanboys came to WP too late to be aware that GPL is a legacy from b2, and the devs rarely go out of their way to put them straight. Actually, I am starting to think that the fervour with which they promote the GPL is a direct consequence of it having been imposed upon them. Like religion. It’s not like anyone sat down, looked at all the options, and came to a cool-headed, rational decision about what would be best for them and the community. Not even Valdrighi did that (early releases of b2 required a linkback, though granted the GNU site was pretty hazy on the legality of compulsory vanity links at the time).

      Because it wasn’t an intellectual decision, it’s become an emotional attachment, and that leads to a whole bunch of irrationality and defensiveness that wouldn’t otherwise be there. If you’d chosen GPL because you thought it was the best licence available, then you might be more confident in the community’s ability to filter the ‘right’ software from the other stuff; you know, like when everyone deserted MT for WP because it wasn’t free enough (as in beer, mostly). And you might even be more willing to let other people make their own licencing decisions, if you’d been in a position to make your own.

      But I tend to think that Matt would have chosen GPL anyway, it offering a nice balance between allowing you to feel smug and virtuous and continuing to tell other people what to do. (Again, like religion.)

  2. drmike said

    The irony of all this is that they’re complaining about copyright while in violation of it themselves. Once again we see Matt’s “Do as I say, not as I do.” Amazes me how many people miss that.

    And I love how they talk about WPMUDev’s paywall and ignore Andrea’s paywall. I guess being a moderator allows her to get away with it. It didn’t with me. I was told very specifically I was not allowed to make any mention of my hosting or products.

  3. drmike said

    Oh, nice to see you’re still alive and kicking Wank. I hope you;re well. :)

  4. KB said

    The comment permalinks aren’t broken, just disguised. (Or maybe they were broken and he just fixed it.) In any event, found the permalink to your comment: http://ma.tt/2010/07/syn-thesis-1/#comment-482096

    And TheMatt™ actually responded to it. Hm.

  5. drmike said

    By the way, did they remove Misty Look and the others by that designer whose name escapes me. I ask because his themes are not GPL’ed as the footer links are required. Always wondered about that.

  6. [...] Read the original article here: commentary « wordpress™ wank [...]

  7. drmike said

    Hmmm, interesting. The core Trac is now loading scripts from afterthedeadline.com which is a “grammar, style, and spelling checker”. I guess this is important to Matt.

    It’s interesting that they’re release the server software for this. Maybe all those times that it’s been pointed out that Akismet’s server isn’t available for download and it;s questionable GPL status has finally gotten through.

    • It’s more likely that they realise nobody else is actually interested in After the Deadline (there don’t seem to have been any other prospective buyers…)

      But Akismet remains an anomaly. I am pretty sure that if anyone else developed a plugin that demanded a valid email address from you before you could use it they would get kicked off wp.org sharpish.

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