[wp-hackers] WP e-Commerce + GPL + Protecting Plugins...

Dan Milward dan at instinct.co.nz
Tue Dec 14 02:52:06 UTC 2010

Hey Guys,

Because of Brian's comments I changed the wording on our site. It now says less about the licensing and more about what you get when you make a purchase.

-- WP e-Commerce and the GPL --

WP e-Commerce is GPL and unlike some other e-Commerce Plugins it is actually listed in WordPress Extend and free to use.

We were not always GPL though. When we launched we didnt know anything about the GPL, licenses, or anything like that... we just knew we liked WordPress and we wanted to contribute back. We were just like everybody else on this email list who didnt know about the GPL until they took the time to learn about it. It took some time for us to make the leap of faith, the reasons we didn't do it sooner were fear based, we were scared that it would somehow have a negative impact on our business.

Anyway as time went on we kept being told that we should use the GPL, especially as we were a WordPress Plugin, and in 2008 at the Sydney WordCamp I announced that we were going fully GPL.

Going GPL did not have a negative impact, it was one of the best things we ever did. Our community has grown and our Plugin is getting better and better all the time. The pending 3.8 release is half the file size of previous 3.7 released and it consumes a hell of a lot less memory. We put a lot of these benefits down to moving products and product categories over to Custom Post Types and Taxonomies.. and generally using WordPress code to do more and more things.

Bear in mind though that we did hacks out of necessity. I remember being attacked for not using the WP media manager before there were the hooks & filters in place to do it. It was a crazy time. We "had" to write our own hacks back in the day - can you imagine a shop with no images?

-- painting the bike shed --

To be honest what frustrates me the most about this conversation and the many others like it, is that absolutely everything here, the essence of this whole conversation, has already been said before in a multitude of different languages, by a multitude of different people, from a multitude of different countries over and over again... it seems like a gross waste of time / information.

Actually we've got enough here to nail this subject once and for it.

-- my point --

The big problem here from my point of view is that there is no official stance or guides on this from WP on the wordpress.org website. And it "does" need to be on the wp.org website for this type of conversation to go away - otherwise its just hearsay.

It is all very well that some of the key WP influencers out there have made "comments" on their blogs about this subject but I have a feeling that this conversation is not going away until somebody makes an official stance. It will just keep getting repeated. Once there is an official stance we cant just point people to a link... and its all good. Man hours saved = more beer o'clock.

So in Open Source Spirit I am going to start fleshing something out over the holidays. I think I have a fairly good understanding of how this whole freemium model works, I have an ok understanding of what is allowed and what isnt. And there are other people out there on this list that also seem to have their finger on the pulse, so I'll start asking around and see what I can come up with.

If people have any feedback or would like to help write something official please flick me an email - that would be cool!!!

-- end --


p.s. the gold cart plugin itself has gpl license.txt in it

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