Removal from

Toni Schneider (CEO of Automattic) kicked me out of the WordPress Consultants list for supporting Thesis.


One more casualty in Automattic's War Against Chris Pearson.

  • Miranda 5y

    I don't understand this, but it doesn't really seem fair...
  • Bill Erickson 5y

    Basically, WordPress is under a license called GPL, which means its free to use, distribute and modify. The company behind WordPress (Automattic) is up in arms against premium themes because they usually have a license that says you can't distribute it for free (because then they couldn't sell them). Automattic says that because WordPress is GPL, anything built on top of WordPress, including themes, must also be GPL. And since some premium themes refuse to change their license and give their theme away for free (in this case Thesis), they are taking it out on developers who use the theme.

    I agree, it doesn't seem fair.
  • scott kivowitz 5y

    That is just insane. Make love not war
  • Matt Mullenweg PRO 5y

    Nothing is personal to Mr Pearson (though I'm not crazy that he verbally abused a female community member at a conference yesterday) it's merely consistent with Automattic's policy of not promoting businesses from the directory that break the law.

    I also want to correct the notion that it's about charging or giving things away for free: Woothemes, StudioPress, iThemes, and many others make many millions of dollars charging for their products, none of which violate WordPress' license. In fact, the overwhelming majority of WordPress-based businesses have no problems with the license. Tens of thousands of new businesses every year are prospering on top of the community-built platform of WordPress. I love what premium themes, a market led by Brian Gardner, Adii Pienaar, and Cory Miller, have done for the WordPress world.

    Regardless of whether you care about the listing or not, I hope you consider the ethics and morality of the situation. Mr Pearson ignores the licensing of the platform he profits off of because he feels that respecting it will make him less money, or even worse allow someone to profit off his work. (The horror! Disrespect of license is not inconsistent with his previous experience of selling counterfeit handbags.) If he has an ideological problem with the GPL, there are many other platforms such as EE that don't restrict the restrictions he can place on his customers.

    WordPress is over 200,000 lines of code written over 8 years and thousands of contributors explicitly licensed so you can profit off their work. You may think that nobody cares, but already some of the more prominent Thesis users such as Laughing Squid are starting to switch away.
  • Chris Everson 5y

    Personally, I'm against premium themes in general, so my opinion might be a bit bias, but I feel like licensing should be adhered to fairly strictly. When you're using something with a license, you're using someone else's hard work, whether you can modify it or not, it still has rules, and these rules are made to ensure the respect of the license owners time and effort.

    If you relate this more to a tangible item and rules and regulations behind them, say for instance, physical media, things seem a lot clearer, but not all that different. The regulations of IP are known pretty well by everyone in the business of creating music, video, written word, etc, and the same goes for software.
  • Stephen Rafferty 5y

    Dang it, the name is WooThemes, not Woothemes as written by Mr. Mullenweg above. Why can't Flickr implement a simple filter... Call it capital_T_dangit() or something equally pithy. This brand dilution is really problemattic.
  • Mike Schinkel PRO 5y

    @The Irony Police. LOL! Thanks, that made my day. :)
  • Zeke Franco 5y

    Bill Erickson You can sell GPL stuff, but it means people that buy it have the right modify what they paid for. It seems fair to me if I buy code I should be able to modify and adapt it. There are premium themes for sale that are GPL.

    I code and design for a living. I don't charge client's for code I charge them for my expertise in crafting code. Once they have the code they are able to do whatever they need to do with it. Imagine if I built a Web site for a client and then said sorry you can change that CSS file, because it's my code. Need to change links from blue to green? Nope that's my code, you'll have to pay me to do it.

    It would be easy for Thesis to sell the plugin/theme GPL'd.The user would just be paying to get access to support, forums, documentation, etc.

    It kind of does suck the dude got kicked off the list though.
  • xioup 5y

    quasarkitten said: Imagine if I built a Web site for a client and then said sorry you can change that CSS file, because it's my code. Need to change links from blue to green? Nope that's my code, you'll have to pay me to do it.

    Actually, that's the way most proprietary software has been sold in the past, and much of it is still sold that way today. It's even possible to create a website with HTML and CSS that's practically impossible for the customer to change on his own. Simply build the project in some platform that delivers compiled code (think ASP.NET), and you can hide every bit of the presentation code behind a firewall that's difficult to break, assuming you don't provide the customer with the source code.

    You could also build the site in a CMS and host it yourself. If you don't give the customer a way to log into the CMS, you also have complete control over the site. Believe me, there are companies and consultants doing just that.

    To go a step further, when you buy Microsoft Office products, you don't get the source code, so there's only a limited amount of customization you can perform on the applications.

    I'm not defending this model, just pointing out that it's not as ridiculous as it sounds. It's one of the big differences between proprietary software and open source + GPL software, a la WordPress.

    A question for Matt and/or Toni: Is there an official position on consultants who use but do not promote Thesis?

    A general question: Where should I look for alternatives to Thesis for building small business CMS sites that are just as good in the SEO department? I'm not married to any theme, and I don't do affiliate stuff, but it's such a jungle out there to research the themes and get an honest recommendation for a good small business CMS theme.
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