One of the most controversial and hotly debated public arguments in the WordPress community ended this week when Chris Pearson of DiyThemes.com changed the license for his very popular Thesis theme to a split GPL license which has the backing of Matt Mullenweg of WordPress.
In a nutshell, the decision by Chris to switch to a split GPL license ends a potentially nasty and expensive legal battle between Matt and Chris – which in the long run would only damage the entire WordPress community as whole. For this alone, Chris’s decision must be praised.
We had covered the recent war of words between Matt and Chris which extended out to a Mixergy.com video cast and things had gotten pretty nasty. But it would appear it is now safe to say the issue is closed. I purposely didn’t post on this announcement for a few days to observe how the community would react.
It would appear that the community as a whole is relieved that the issue did not go to a legal battle and the general impression is that Chris has done the right thing in switching to a split GPL license. I would also suspect that the additional revelations that Thesis has taken entire core snippets from the WordPress core would strengthen the WordPress legal case and at a minimum lead to a copyright infringement case was enough for Chris to make a prudent business decision – even if his ideological stance has not changed – which I’ve no evidence to the contrary that it has. I would suspect that Chris still strongly believes in the views he expressed on the Mixergy videocast and has only made this decision to save his business from a costly legal case.
For now, the issue is closed. I fear we’ve not heard the last of the WordPress Theme/Plugin GPL debate. For now, I’ve decided to not reinstate my affiliate links to the Thesis theme as the whole affair has left me with a bad impression of what the Thesis guys are about and frankly I don’t want to do business with them at this point. Sorry guys you’ve lost me as an affiliate. I shall keep close attention to how Thesis evolves in this new reality though.