[wp-hackers] anyone looked at Chameleon closely?

Matt Mullenweg m at mullenweg.com
Sat Jun 10 03:05:59 GMT 2006

David Chait wrote:
> Looks to be WP with a modded admin system, a bunch of custom plugins, and 
> otherwise a claim to be their unique product.  Don't know how they 'sell' it 
> (or GPL issues) but thought I'd bring it to the attention of folks around 
> here. ;)

Great thread, let me try to summarize some of my thoughts, from 36,000 feet:

I can't speak for everyone, but all of my work on WP from the beginning 
has been with the knowledge that someone would rip/sell/steal/etc any 
and all of it. Just like giving people freedom to say whatever they want 
means that they might say things that you disagree with, in the end I 
think the inherent freedom is more important than control. In my 
experience I've found the good far outweighs the bad. I've applied the 
principles of "give as much away as possible" to other parts of my life 
and it has been nothing but rewarding.

Even *if* there were some sort of awful license violation, in 99.9% of 
cases it's not worth pursuing. The time and cost of a legal battle (in 
another country, to top it off) would be energy far better spent on 
bugs, support, features, etc. Besides, if the features are that great 
it'd be better just to clean-room implement them as GPL rather than 
extracting them forcibly from someone who doesn't want to share. (Not to 
mention it would probably be 3-5x faster.)

I think supporting a platform you're building on is a no-brainer 
business decision though, natural selection will do far more than legal 
action in the long-run for these types of cases.

I have always recommended people doing development around WordPress 
license their work as GPL, as I think that provides the most long-term 
benefit for both the individual and the community. (It's a virtuous 
cycle.) We've socially encouraged that with GPL requirements on 
wp-plugins and in the theme competitions, and I think the flourishing of 
those areas is a testament to the power of the GPL and open source. 
(Thousands of examples are available outside of the WP ecosystem, too.)

When I see or hear about people who want to work for themselves or make 
a living off of WordPress-related things but having trouble the problem 
has never been with the license. If you want a Real Job with a Big 
Company, don't you think organizations like New York Times and CNET that 
are putting huge investments into using WordPress aren't crazy for 
people who know the system really well? Watch Craigslist, Monster, etc 
for listing with "WordPress" in them, they're popping up pretty commonly 

For people just looking for some extra beer/server money from their 
work, the biggest mistake I see is simply not asking. Make it *really 
easy* for people to find your Paypal or Amazon wishlist. I won't say how 
many times I've tried to buy a book or something as a thank you for 
people on this list and couldn't for love or money find something on 
their site that enabled me to. (As an aside, if you're overseas try to 
have a donation mechanism that's easy for US folks too.) Have a mailing 
list for release announcements. If you'd work on something more if you 
got more money, then tell people. Provide amazing free support and put a 
"if you found this useful" link at the end of every email. If you're 
open to people sponsoring features, or paid customizations, make that 
obvious. Also consider publishing how much you get in donations, as most 
people VASTLY overestimate donations, or they assume someone else is 
doing it so they don't need to. Outright charging is usually not the 
most successful model.

Finally, I think striking out on your own can be incredibly rewarding 
and is a great lifestyle and challenge, though I know it's not for 
everybody. Biggest mistake I see in this group is forgetting it's a 
business, just like anything else. Buy or check out as many books about 
small businesses, finances, entrepreneurship, etc as you can. At the 
same time, don't forget to budget time for community. Before I started 
left CNET and started Automattic I knew about a dozen people doing 
full-time WP consulting and work, names you mostly don't know because 
they were so caught up in their own work they weren't improving the core 
platform they were building their livelihood on. I swore I wouldn't let 
that happen, and luckily have found a model that allows 95+ percent of 
work to be completely Open, but it's something you have to plan ahead of 
time because it's very easy to get caught up. There are business models 
around consulting, support, services, training, development, 
advertising, and dozens of other things that can include and encourage 
supporting Open Source.  I will happily phone chat for 30 minutes with 
anyone in the WP community who is fleshing out a sustainable business 
idea to strike it out on your own. I'm happy to share what I've found 
worked and what didn't. If you need help, just ask!

Matt Mullenweg
  http://photomatt.net | http://wordpress.org
http://automattic.com | http://akismet.com

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