business v. business. that is how things work now

Perishable Press on, among other things, what is wrong with the plugin repository, and the quiet removal of the community-maintained plugin list on Codex.

I don’t need to spell out how this relates to the long slow death of themes.wordpress.net (where not even the previews work anymore) or the wider strategy of transferring control of community resources from the community to Automattic. Third-party theme repositories are thriving because everyone knows themes are an effective form of linkbuilding: add your link to every theme you redistribute, sell ads, profit! It’s not ideal from a user perspective because you get more links cluttering up your footer, but it’s ever so much better than having to rely on the moribund place your dashboard sends you to, full of broken old themes you have to evaluate on the basis of screenshots. The plugin community doesn’t have any such incentive to build its own resources; so it doesn’t happen; so if Matt happens not to like you, or your plugin, or your plugin’s licence, it’s going to be very hard for potential users to find you.

Is it just me, or does that not seem very open?

We seem to be arriving at a point where we rely purely on third-party commercial interests to create and maintain open community resources. It’s become too time and money-consuming for volunteers to do for free. And .org/extend is waaaaay at the bottom of Automattic’s priorities, because serving ads on talkpress is going to make them more money for less effort than selling themes, and plugin distribution is not going to make them anything at all. So I’m wondering whether Matt’s going to have to start rethinking his hostility to those who sell links, charge for themes, and try to profit out of wordpress without contributing a line of core code, because right now they’re keeping the theme community going. And without a theme industry, what would you have? Ye Olde Kubrick and some ancient thing Dave Shea threw together in his spare time. Impressive.

2 Comments »

  1. […] latest thing that Wank pointed out is that the Plugins page on the Codex no longer exists. It was a fairly complete list of plugins for WordPress. It’s no longer there. So if Matt […]

  2. Jeff Starr said

    Couldn’t agree more. In terms of the “hotness” factor, WordPress has been dead for quite some time. Will that stop them from shoveling out upgrade after upgrade ad nauseam until the cows come home? No. I for one am tired of contributing my time and energy to a platform that seems to be selling out at every opportunity, only to watch as the link opportunities dwindle to nothing. For a fresh perspective on content management, check out modx, Habari, Chyrp, Silverstripe, or Symphony just to name a few..

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