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All You Need To Know About the WordPress GPL
If you use WordPress, you may have come across the WordPress GPL
, also referred to as the Bill of Rights, but it is highly likely that you do not understand it completely. It is quite a complicated topic, and most people would rather spend their time earning a living than understanding product licensing. Nevertheless, it is very important to study and understand the WordPress GPL since it defines how the platform is used by both developers and users alike. Here is a brief detailed guide to help you out.
Defining the GPL
The WordPress GPL was developed by Richard Stallman, a computer programmer, as a reaction to the huge growth of propriety programs. It was initially called GNU GPL, and it was primarily used for licensing the GNU operating system. Basically, the GPL is a license for free software, in terms of both price and the user’s permission to use, modify and also distribute the software.
To summarize the GPL license, here are the four main ‘freedoms’ associated with it
• Freedom of operating the software for any reason
• Freedom of studying the code and make any changes you wish
• Freedom of redistributing copies
• Freedom of improving the software, and also releasing your improvements to the public for the benefit of the entire community.
Simply put, the GPL is the direct opposite of proprietary software, such as iOS and Windows. It is designed to empower its end users and does not necessarily work for the best interests of its developers. However, WordPress GPL certainly works for the benefits of its developers as will be explained below.
Why is WordPress Licensed under GPL License?
The WordPress GPL is basically the Bill of Rights equivalent that protects the core freedoms of users. One of the main reasons WordPress is such an intuitive system is the input of thousands of people right from its start and all the way through to the present day. The idea of free software is the basis of WordPress, and the founders had a clear mission of simply democratizing publishing so that everyone would be able to publish their own content.
Why you May like the WordPress GPL Ethics
Proprietary software has two limitations: you cannot share and suggesting changes to the program can take a long time. It is an antisocial system, which is fundamentally wrong and is driven by dividing the consumers and keeping the end users helpless. In an increasingly accessible world, the WordPress GPL offers real transparency in program development.
The Benefit of Community
It is not just software transparency that makes WordPress GPL so powerful, but the fact that it is more readily repaired, extended and advanced better and faster when it is open. Software, where more programmers can inspect, tweak and also distribute it, means that you gradually get a better and robust program. The size of the WordPress community, its popularity and the exponential growth the platform has experienced is due to the GPL status.
Peace of Mind
Practically speaking, the WordPress GPL gives all end uses the peace of mind. Besides being free in every sense of the word, all trademarks linked to WordPress are held by WordPress Foundation, which is a charitable company founded with the single purpose of ensuring free access to the platform in perpetuity to all software projects supported by the platform. In short, WordPress will always be free.
Reasons you should adopt the WordPress GPL
Align Your Creations with Important Influencers
Even though most WordPress users are not familiar with WordPress GPL, it is an essential topic to all the important influencers in the WordPress community, including the co-founder, Matt Mullenweg, who is very passionate about protecting GPL. You will, therefore, be adopting the same philosophical and ethical view as the important influencers in WordPress.
Boost Your Exposure
The main theme and plugin store, WordPress.org, has remarkable resources for users and great marketing tools that developers can use. Any developer can easily upload their unique themes or plugins for free and benefit from having them exposed for use by the whole WordPress community. There is only one catch, which is the fact your theme or plugin must be WordPress GPL compatible. Simply put, when you are developing free themes or free plugins, only developers who include GPL in their creations gain exposure on WordPress.org.
Including GPL is Essentially the Right Thing
An easy way of understanding WordPress GPL is by looking at it practically. Without WordPress, then your theme or plugin would not exist, nor would you have the opportunity to gain from being exposed to such an enormous platform. Hence, even though adopting GPL license is not unquestionably necessary, if all other factors are equal, it is fundamentally the right thing to do as a developer.
With all the above information, you are now comfortable with WordPress GPL. You now understand its impact on end users like yourself, and also how ultimately the GPL benefits developers who adopt it in all their works. One may reasonably state that the single way that GPL could harm you is when you refuse adopting it in your work. This is because you will have to content with limitations, fallout within the larger community, and also the adversaries you might attract by failing to do so.
All that aside, there is plenty to treasure about WordPress GPL ethically. This distinctive license that WordPress has chosen to use showcases the possibility of creating and distributing software in a fully transparent fashion, all while reaping the advantages of a huge community of developers and also earning profits along the way. Is that not a win-win situation for everyone? It truly is, and everyone involved in the WordPress platform can count themselves as a winner due to the freedom of the WordPress GPL license.