Hmm…this is an interesting one. WooThemes have pulled off a pretty spectacular move today and forked Jigoshop (our favourite new WordPress eCommerce plugin) into WooCommerce, which will replace it’s heretofore unsuccessful attempts at creating a WooCommerce platform off their own bat. The possibly bigger news is not only have they forked Jigoshop but they’ve brought in the 2 main guys responsible for making it in the first place – Jay Koster & Mike Jolley from Jigowatt. This move by WooThemes raises all sorts of emotions.
Has this move effectively killed Jigoshop?
I’m sure Jigowatt will not be too pleased. In one swoop, WooThemes have forked their project and nabbed the 2 guys responsible for most of the work that has gone into it to date. Jigoshop has been to date a rip roaring success and is by miles the most polished eCommerce plugin for WordPress. But best of all for the WordPress ecosystem it was truly open source and free to download with Jigoshop looking to build a strong community around the core product. It looked to be on to a winner in a big way. I don’t care what anyone says, no one to date has really cracked eCommerce within WordPress and Jigoshop looked like a good bet to do so. WooThemes clearly realised this a long time ago too and have had ambitions to crack this too with previous attempts at making WooCommerce. Woo clearly has a massive community in it’s own right and is a firm proponent of the GPL – but you can’t help but feel the WordPress Community has lost something today. Let’s face it, GPL or no GPL, WooCommerce is going to be a commercial plugin. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not someone who believes that developers should invest their time and effort to create wonderful products for no financial return – quite the opposite actually. What I did/do love about Jigoshop was their approach to developing what one would hope to be a sustainable business model by offering additional commercial extensions and themes around a really solid core free product. I think they are really on to something with this but it could now be stillborn with the departure of the main minds behind the project. And that would be to the detriment of community and ecosystem as a whole. I would love to see WooThemes pick up the challenge from Jigoshop and pursue a similar approach but I don’t think it will happen. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong.
The crossroads of ethics, morals and capitalism?
As I’ve already alluded to, I have mixed emotions on this move. On one hand it’s a stellar bit of business from Adii and the Woothemes crew. I’m sure WooCommerce will take off like a rocket. More power to them – heck I’ll be using it if it turns out to be a more compelling offering than Jigoshop. I’m also glad that Mike & Jay get to keep working on developing and enhancing the plugin albeit under a different name. On the other hand, if you’re Jigowatt, you’re pretty pissed right about now. Clearly a lot of time has been invested into Jigoshop. While forking projects is at the heart of what the GPL is about, I firmly believe that the GPL can be easily abused and taken advantage of. The worst thing that could happen now would be for development of Jigoshop to stagnate and for WooCommerce to become a ‘closed’ platform. While the GPL will ensure that can never technically happen it doesn’t mean the Woo guys can throw a few barriers in the way. Heck just look at Google and Android. Yeah Android is open source right? It might be in name but in reality – it’s still a pretty closed platform. A comment by Adii on the announcement post goes a long way to easing my initial fears about the future of WooCommerce/Jigoshop. It would seem that a collaboration on a single codebase was proposed at one stage (which would be what I consider to be the overall scenario for the community as a whole) but this didn’t work out. Adii also states that Jigoshop are free to backport any enhancements that come about from WooCommerce. The fact that efforts were made to work on a single codebase must be applauded and recognised. Not everyone is happy with this announcement. I will be very interested to hear what the remaining Jigoshop team plan to do going forward. Maybe a bit of healthy competition between the two forks will ultimately lead to better products overall and more choice for the community.
One thing is for sure. We all want to see a rock solid, slick and professional eCommerce platform emerge for WordPress. This is a real problem that needs solving. I firmly believe that whatever platform that emerges as the plugin of choice will have to embody the core values of the WordPress community to be a long term success.
17 thoughts on “Hello WooCommerce, Bye bye Jigoshop?”
WooCommerce will remain free, open source & won’t be behind a paywall. We plan to monetize via premium support, WooCommerce themes & extentions to the core plugin.
Hey Adii, that’s fantastic to hear! I think it’s the right approach. I hope it works out really well for WooThemes and can’t wait to see it in action.
I’m part of the Jigoshop team and the one responding while everyone else is coincidentally putting the final polish onto V1.0.
I just wanted to clarify a few things in what’s an interesting post. For starters, although Jay and Mike were obviously very heavily involved in Jigoshop, they weren’t alone, and in addition to the original core team, plenty of additional internal developers and external collaborators via sources such as GitHub are already involved in a lot of cool new features which will be announced and released shortly.
In addition, one reason for Jigowatt retaining the copyright and ownership of Jigoshop was to ensure that it reamins under a GPL licence and therefore any derivative must remain under the same licence ensuring that the code source has to be available, which means that changes and improvements can be included.
The plan for Jigoshop is very simple. Regardless of what anyone else does, it continues to be developed and evolved to become the best possible open source WordPress eCommerce project, which was always the aim, and it will not stagnate – in fact there’s a lot of announcements I’ve got the job of writing over the next few days! And it will always be open, as will any derivative, due to the preservation of the GPL Licence.
The only shame is that someone has chosen to fork the project and potentially split the userbase and developer community at an early stage, but certainly the amazing group that already exists around Jigoshop is already providing an amazing amount of feedback and brilliant additions to the core product.
Hey again Dan 🙂
I think the decision to have the source up on github and get the dev community to help contribute to Jigoshop is brilliant and will no doubt lead to a better all round product in the long run. I love your ambitions for Jigshop and if I can find time to contribute to those ambitions at some stage I will!
As part of the Jigoshop team, I want to confirm that Jigoshop is not stillborn (with 14k downloads already), and will not even be sloweed down by these events, as not only have we got additional interal resources now, but the GPL/Open Source route has meant we have an amazing group of external collaborators who have been working with us for a while.
Jigoshop/Jigowatt remain utterly committed to making the best possible open source eCommerce project and helping anyone get involved in it. And Woothemes will be bound by the terms of the GPL licence due to the commitement of the Jigoshop/Jigowatt team to retain the copyright of the project and ensure that any existing users of Jigoshop always have access to the latest versions of it.
We’re always keen to support collaboration on Jigoshop, and the only pity is that forking may lead to some confusion and a split in the dev/user community. But we believe that if we continue to do the best we can in our work and our collaboration with the wider community, then things will work out.
thanks for dropping in and sharing your comments. As one of the biggest fans of Jigoshop from the first day you guys made a public release it’s encouraging to hear Jigshop has a bright future. I wish you the best of luck with the future developments.
I really dont see much of a problem for your future, all you have to do is make your extensions compatible with woocommerce and sell them to the woo clients, at those prices ($50 – woo) i am sure you have a good business model ahead.
If your paid extensions are compatible then you have a bigger chance of generating revenue because you have more users looking for extensions, and many will not want to pay 50 to add paypal, or other simple features that should be included – especially if woo claim to make such an amazing product.
I will try jigo, as my past experiences with woo were rather poor, there is a reason why they couldn’t develop an ecommerce plugin by themself after all 🙂
p.s: and the big up, look at how much exposure jigo is getting, i havent heard of jigo till i have heard about woocommerce and their forking, just make sure you get mentioned according to the GPL licence and that you promote your plugins to woo users (if they are compatible) and you are laughing.
This story will be one to watch out for
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Just a quick comment to mention that the latest version of Jigoshop (0.9.9) has now been released, including the much-awaited and requested Configurable Products, and we’re already working hard on 1.0, so hopefully that will allay any fears that we won’t be around for a long, long time!
Hey Dan, fantastic to hear you’ve shipped 0.9.9 with Configurable Products. I think you’ve definitely put any fears about the future of Jigoshop to rest. Really looking forward to doing lots more with Jigoshop in the near future.
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Usually, any Plugin author adds an attribution link or a credit to the plugin page if it is a fork. But I don’t see a single credit link on any where whether on plugin page or on a blog post
I like the JigoShop and it’s flexibility. I hope it would be active in future with better development and features
if that’s true then not only is it ethically wrong, I’m pretty sure one of the conditions of the GPL is to provide credits to the original source of the work.
I guess there are two points behind the thing that they don’t want to give a credit
1) The developers who are mainly responsible for JigoShop development left JigoShop. They feel that they need not give credit to ‘JigoShop’ which the two developers can’t touch now and is maintained by former employer (JigoWatt). So may be… they think that…it is their wish to rename their own script or create forks with out mentioning the original script(JigoShop plugin=jigoshop.com=jigowatt) ?
2) Woo-Commerce don’t want to give the credit in WordPress repository because they don’t want to mention the name ‘JigoShop’ as it is their competitive company now, who disagreed to collaborate. Which leads them to hire and split the developers (JigoShop plugin=jigoshop.com=jigowatt)
This is only my guess. Woo-Commerce have every right to fork the plugins and it’s their business to hire employs to their company
I am curious to know what the Woo-Commerce guys speak about this.But I don’t think it is appropriate to distribute a fork with out ‘Credit / attribution’
you are probably right with your points – but – it still remains – if WooThemes fork Jigsoshop (which they have) then they are legally required to credit the original project under the terms of the GPL.
I worry if Woothemes’s fork affects the user downloads and eventually it results the JigoShop’s development