[wp-hackers] Plugin Licenses

Alex Günsche ag.ml2007 at zirona.com
Fri Mar 16 16:33:14 GMT 2007

I'm +1 on GPL-only (or GPL-compatible) in the official repositories. 

Users should not have to consider a bunch of legaleese before using
software. The GPL may be a restrictive license among the Open-Source
ones, but it still makes it possible to modify and share software
without limitations. That's what makes Free Software popular.

And: If you restrict commercial use, then what will happen? People will
download and use it commercially anyway, if they want. (Yet they won't
spread the word about it.) And what are you going to do about it? If
you're in the same country, and you have plenty of time and a good
lawyer, you can start a lawsuit. Elsewise -- you just sit and watch.

As for putting food on the table: I publish my plugins under the GPL, I
even refuse to take donations. But the users of my plugins spread the
word, and that's very good PR for me. So good that I sometimes have to
reject requests for new projects (as much as it hurts). And if a
competitor takes my software and earns money with it, so what? I am well
off, and I see no reason for wasting my nerves with complaining. By the
way, my experience shows that some of them even come to me in the end,
and ask me to improve the plugin for special purposes.

Besides, what happen if Matt and Automattic would put WordPress itself
under a non-commercial license, forbidding to earn money from plugins?
You see, you couldn't earn money with proprietary plugins, if WordPress
itself was proprietary.

We should be happy that WordPress is free software, and what WordPress
provides for us with the provisions of the GPL, we should also give to

Best regards,

Alex Günsche, Zirona OpenSource-Consulting
work: http://www.zirona.com/ | leisure: http://www.roggenrohl.net
PubKey for this address: http://www.zirona.com/misc/ag.ml2007.asc

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