Are people abusing Wordpress' GPL license?

fancy

New member
For the people who know what it is, I'd really like to know your point of view. Basically, there's a lot of paid plugins and themes being shared under the pretex of GPL. Is it ethical and do you use it?
 

Peter

New member
Plugins are in some sense building on top of the existing Wordpress software so i think it should be considered derived worked and therefore it should also be released under the GPL (or compatible license). The price is not the problem because you are allowed to sell GPL software.
 

smalpierre

New member
Plugins are not derived work, it's the moral equivalent of dynamically linking a GPL library in a closed source app. If you static link the library, you have to release GPL, if dynamic you don't since you can upgrade the GPL library separately from the program.

Until you're actually modifying wordpress core, you're fine. However ... you are really releasing the source in a way, even if it is obfuscated. It's a scripting language, not binary machine code.
 
The GPL doesn't not mean you release it for free. Under the license, it states, you are free to do what you want with the code, as long as you give the author credit and a copy of the altered work.
But, I believe this only applies to the core files. Plugins may not be included as they are add ons for the core files. Themes now, that could sit in grey area. That would be buyer beware type of thing.
 

smalpierre

New member
Plugins nor themes - except the ones that come with Wordpress. If you develop your own theme, there's no grey area. If you're modifying an existing GPL theme, then yes it has to be GPL'd, same with a plugin. Writing it from the ground up it's yours though.

As for it extending wordpress ... by that logic, if you use PHP and use any of it's built in functions you have to now GPL all of your code too? No ... absolutely not. Calling Wordpress functions is no different from calling a PHP native function.


There's nothing that says you can't sell wordpress core though - if you can get someone to buy it. You just have to provide the source code as well - which isn't hard since it's all source anyway.
 

Peter

New member
This is what the wordpress.org webiste says about it:
[url=https://wordpress.org/about/license/]Wordpress[/url] said:
There is some legal grey area regarding what is considered a derivative work, but we feel strongly that plugins and themes are derivative work and thus inherit the GPL license. If you disagree, you might want to consider a non-GPL platform such as Serendipity (BSD license) or Habari (Apache license) instead.

When I think some more about it, releasing only the source code for a plugin is probably legally fine because it's not a derived work until you put the two pieces of software together. Distributing wordpress with the non-GPL compatible licenced plugin preinstalled should on the other hand be a clear violation of the GPL in my view.

smalpierre said:
Plugins are not derived work, it's the moral equivalent of dynamically linking a GPL library in a closed source app. If you static link the library, you have to release GPL, if dynamic you don't since you can upgrade the GPL library separately from the program.

You are confusing the GPL with the LGPL.
 

Jo93

New member
I tought it's allowed to write own Wordpress Plugins. Isn't that the porpose of Opensource?
Jo
 

Peter

New member
You are allowed to create your own Wordpress plugins, but the question here is under what terms you are allowed to release them. The GPL is a copyleft license, which means if you modify a GPL-licensed software and share it with others you have to license the modified parts under the GPL (or a compatible license) so that the whole software is still GPL.
 

fouadChk

Member
fancy said:
For the people who know what it is, I'd really like to know your point of view. Basically, there's a lot of paid plugins and themes being shared under the pretex of GPL. Is it ethical and do you use it?

If I would use it?.. The answer is no. Not the plugin not even the framework. That's how one can avoid the whole issue and buy some peace of mind.

Is it ethical?... I don't know. The question has a personal component/judgement in it. If you ask me personally, I would say that I wouldn't bother building something on someone else work. But since they do and it's a GPL licence then they are (as far as I know---I'm not a layer) in the obligation to publish the code under the same license and (if they like/can make a living out of it) charge money for it...

GPL is all about freedom (not money), as Richard Stallman keeps saying. You get those freedom(s) when you get the raw material/software and you must keep those freedom when you build up/extend on that code and publish the result---charging money or not is up to you the developer. WP offers a huge API for the developers willing to extend its core functionalities and since WP plugins are useless without the framework/WP then what I said previously applies here IMHO (for a definitive answer check with Eben Moglen--he is the official/Senior layer @ FSF.)