Posts by greenshady

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greenshady says

Triggers another question. Is it possible to include MIT licensed plugins with GPL themes without conflicting GPL’s freedom? It looks like an 100% GPL theme will require an author to have multiple skills to comeup with own set of plugins (or use only GPL based 3rd party plugins, while MIT is the vast majority available for front end scripts)

The MIT license is GPL-compatible. See: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html#GPLCompatibleLicenses

When TF talks about allowing “GPL-licensed” themes, I hope they’re talking about any open-source license that is compatible with the GPL. Even if they’re not, you can still use other scripts and libraries that are compatible with the GPL.

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greenshady says


We actually deal with “copycats” easily on WordPress.org…
Thanks for your insight Justin. I guess it’s not as complicated as I’d thought. Envato would have to draw a similar set of guidelines and be consistent with them.

This does still leave one aspect open though, which you guys don’t have to deal with on .org…

What do you think Envato should do if I took a design of a WP theme (100% GPL) and ported it to Drupal / Joomla. Would this be ok, so long as I kept the author credit in the CSS?

I can see a fair few authors not worrying about the copycats, or those who want something for nothing (as they’d pirate it anyway). I can, however, see them being very unhappy about their theme being sold by someone else on a different platform. Yet that would kind of be the point of extending the GPL to cover the CSS/images wouldn’t it? If it’s ok to do it with the code, should it be ok to do it with the design too?

I don’t think Envato should or will allow it. It’s sort of like what I said about straight up copies on .ORG. We want themes that are original work. It’s not that allowing such a thing is illegal or unethical. It’s just that we like to showcase the original designer.

Now, if that person wanted to release that ported copy on their own site, it’d be perfectly fine.

I can, however, see them being very unhappy about their theme being sold by someone else on a different platform.

I just wanted to point out something about this. If seeing something like this makes you unhappy, you definitely shouldn’t be releasing fully, 100% open-source themes.

I have people port my work to other platforms all the time or just build derivatives of it on WordPress. I usually give them a “great job!”, post about on Twitter, or something like that. I want to promote people who build off my work (within the confines of the license, of course) because it helps my business grow.

You wouldn’t believe how many people I’ve had sign up to my site because they were using a ported Blogger version of one of my themes and thought they’d get support from me. Within a day, I’d have them set up on WordPress and running my WordPress themes/plugins.

Of course, I’ve been doing this a good while longer than most people here, so I’ve had time to see how a lot of these things benefit me over the long haul.

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greenshady says

We actually deal with “copycats” easily on WordPress.org.

It’s not illegal or immoral to copy a GPL-licensed theme and distribute it. However, we want original themes and not a bunch copies of TwentyTen or something like that. It simply doesn’t make sense to allow such a thing. Otherwise, the repository would be flooded with junk.

Here’s a few ways we deal with theme submissions copied in whole or in part.

Straight up copy

Not allowed. Themes should be your original work, at least as far as the overall design is concerned.

Copied theme with design modifications

Not allowed. We tell you to build a child theme instead. Now, if the theme has enough significant changes to warrant a completely new theme, we deal with that on a case-by-case basis.

On TF, this could be a golden oppurtunity to bring in more cash for authors, but I won’t get into that too much right now.

Copied code

Allowed if you follow the license requirements. For example, if you copy code from a GPL-licensed theme, you must keep copyright notices intact.

By the way, I just had another author’s theme removed from WordPress.org the other day for removing my copyright notices from the code he used of mine.

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greenshady says

Waiting for that too. Did they decide to go with terms meta in some future version of is that still open for discussion?

It’s currently closed as “maybelater”, but there’s a lot of interested parties: http://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/10142

Even if it doesn’t happen directly, I do believe there’ll be some solution at some point in the future.

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greenshady says

I don’t like the idea of a portfolio object being a tag, a taxonomy. I like it more as a main container, where you can add and set various options that will manage his items and an area where you can directly see the containing items, at least in a minimal form. This letting you change order and maybe even set quick or all individual options for items. I find this approach better and easier to manage, compared with the default wordpress structure available.

You can actually do all that via a taxonomy too. It’s just a matter of saving the data, which is one reason I’ve been pushing for a term meta table in WordPress core. But, it’s still easy to save that data in the wp_options table or as a “shadow” post type.

The data part is easy. The UI is the hard part.

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greenshady says

I’ve released the first of the standard content types plugins on the WordPress.org plugin repository: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/custom-content-portfolio/

Right now, it’s just a simple base. I want to get feedback from users and theme developers about what features are needed over time. But, even if a feature doesn’t get added to the plugin, other developers can build on top of it.

I’d really love to see this approach work with authors here at ThemeForest. I already have several non-TF theme authors on board with the idea, and they’ll be building their portfolio themes with this in mind.

The next order of business for this plugin is to support post formats. In particular, the image, gallery, audio, and video formats will be a way to separate various types of portfolio items.

I also want to thank everyone for the feedback they’ve given me thus far in this topic. If I didn’t use your idea in version 0.1, it’s still on my list of things to consider for 0.2.

158 posts
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greenshady says


WordPress.com doesn’t sell themes. They sell a service. The GPL kicks in when distribution occurs. WordPress.com is not distributing themes to users. “Distribution” is a fundamental part of the GPL.
So here’s how ThemeForest can get around this. Instead of offering direct downloads, they can just sell a subscription to a “download service” run by a third party. Then they’d just be selling a “service” and the two situations would be exactly the same.

I don’t see a need for ThemeForest to “get around” anything. They’re legally in line with the GPL.

I’m simply answering the question about why WordPress.com doesn’t have to distribute their code since several people asked.

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greenshady says


Are not sleezy people re-selling people’s work regardless of the license? There tends to be a new thread around here every day or so about this sort of thing. I can pretty much find any TF theme I want for free or a lower price tag with a Web search.
I’ve seen more people make that argument and it’s a fallacy. Let’s not bring this up again as it helps nobody and nothing good comes out of it.

Just because you state something as a fallacy doesn’t make it so. I’ll continue to bring it up until someone convinces me otherwise.



You’re misunderstanding what “free” means. Free doesn’t mean “no monetary cost” in open-source language. It’s talking about the freedom to use, modify, and distribute code.
We get that. But why isn’t wordpress.com supplying the code to the themes purchased with a GPL license attached. You say it is fine as long as the service is hosted and no distribution occurs. The split license is just fine too. The end result in both business models is the same.

WordPress.com doesn’t sell themes. They sell a service. The GPL kicks in when distribution occurs. WordPress.com is not distributing themes to users. “Distribution” is a fundamental part of the GPL.

I agree that a split license is perfectly fine. I haven’t made any arguments to the contrary. Any one of us is free to use a split license for our work.

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greenshady says


Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com does not run WordPress.org, own the WordPress software, or run the WordPress Foundation.
I’m not even trying. click here http://en.wordpress.com/about/ read first paragraph

Nowhere in the first paragraph or anywhere on that page do they say anything that contradicts my statement. In fact, they confirm it.

Their text:

WordPress.com is brought to you by some of the same folks who work on the open source blogging software available at WordPress.org.

Mine:

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com does not run WordPress.org, own the WordPress software, or run the WordPress Foundation. They are a business built on top of the open-source software we all love: WordPress. They are not “the people who created WordPress” (though some of them work for the company).

Just like I could write on my own site: “This site is brought to you by one of the guys who works on the open source blogging software available at WordPress.org”.

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greenshady says

First, I want to say that I believe what the WordPress Foundation is doing to Jake is crap. It’s petty. But, at the same time, it’s their playground and we’re subject to their rules if we want to play there.

Second, I’d really like for ThemeForest and CodeCanyon to allow those of us who do want to sell themes/plugins under a 100% GPL license to have that option. It can be completely opt-in. Frankly, it’s not going to hurt Envato’s bottom line as a business.

Now, on to some replies:


How does allowing sleezy people to resell someone else’s work and at the same time steal their income fit the spirit of the GPL? And if it does, why do we care about the spirit of the GPL?

Are not sleezy people re-selling people’s work regardless of the license? There tends to be a new thread around here every day or so about this sort of thing. I can pretty much find any TF theme I want for free or a lower price tag with a Web search.


Well the spirit of GPL is a nice thing if you’re developing some hobby project and have income from something else, but the spirit won’t pay your bills.

Hard work and providing something of value pays the bills.



They are 100% GPL, however, you don’t download themes from WordPress.com. It is a hosted service, so you couldn’t re-distribute that way if you wanted to.

this bring a new set of problems.

so the logic is. wordpress is released under gpl license. all stuff based on this license must be released under the same license.

yet, those themes are not released for free for everybody. those themes are breaking the wordpress license that themeforest supposedly should follow.

isn’t this the whole point of this debate?

they ask themeforest to respect a license that they actively break.

You’re misunderstanding what “free” means. Free doesn’t mean “no monetary cost” in open-source language. It’s talking about the freedom to use, modify, and distribute code.

Automattic doesn’t have to release any of their code for their service to the community. However, they still do it anyway. They regularly release free themes and plugins back to the community. They also hire full-time employees who contribute to the core WordPress code.

Also, you’re mixing up “they”. Automattic and the WordPress Foundation are two different things.


Back to topic, it appears that a few years ago Matt contacted the Software Freedom Law Center to clarify the status of themes as derivative works of WordPress and received the fitting answer : Third-party developers of such themes may apply restrictive copyrights to these elements if they wish. Obviously he’s not gotten over it and for him to come back now and say that the split licensing goes against the spirit of GPL is a very poor argument…

I just wanted to point out that this has always been Matt’s stance on this regardless of the SFLC’s opinion. He’s not coming back now with a new argument. This is the same argument.


the people who created wordpress and ask for 100% GPL are the same people who created a business in selling the use of themes without giving the users the code for those themes so they can modify and distribute them for free.

The amount of hypocrisy here is amazing.

When all the premium themes sold on wordpress com will be freely available for everyone to use, share, modify and distribute under GPL license we can have all this debate about how evil envato is and how all the authors here are greedy and bad people.

The authors who sell premium themes on wordpress com should be banned from that wordcamp event. They will do this?

Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com does not run WordPress.org, own the WordPress software, or run the WordPress Foundation. They are a business built on top of the open-source software we all love: WordPress. They are not “the people who created WordPress” (though some of them work for the company).

Also, WordPress.com does not sell WordPress themes. WordPress.com is a blog hosting service. They allow you to run a theme on their site. Some of these themes cost money to run on your site. But, they’re not selling themes.


the point is that themeforest authors are banned from wordcamp because they make money utilizing wordpress (this is debatable but let’s say is true)

Well, it’s not true. This has nothing to do with making money.

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