17 Comments


  1. Great interview – audio quality didn’t affect it!


  2. Really helpful to hear this viewpoint. I have no issue paying for quality Premium themes or plugins as long as it doesn’t involve rape and pillage. I have purchased developer licenses from Brian Gardner and Nathan Rice and their product has been superb. Excellent value for money. I have also purchased a couple of themes from Themeforest and they have been disappointing in terms of their unnecessary underlying complexity and the pricing structure (I am sure that I have just been unlucky).


  3. A gem of an interview, Jeff.

    Also, no need to apologize for asking direct questions, or naming names! Direct questions are precisely what we need and you gave Matt the opportunity to clear up any misunderstandings; that was useful because this whole “controversy” has been whipped up by one side in order to increase traffic and move product.


  4. Great interview Jeff, I’m sure this will go a long way in easing user’s fears about these latest “controversy’s”.

    p.s. Anyone ever consider that premiummod could be run by Small Potato? We all know he’s got some marketing skills after what happened previously;)


  5. Interesting interview.

    I am glad to hear Matt admit that he is intentionally conflating the legal construct that is the GPL and the philosophical concerns and ethics of the Free Software “movement”.

    It is basically Matt saying, implicitly, “I want the WordPress community to adopt the ethics and philosophy of the Free Software movement”. I would *love* for Matt actually to use this terminology, rather than the bogus “spirit of the GPL”. If so, the community can actually have a conversation regarding adopting (or not) those ethics and philosophy.

    But until the ethics and philsophy of the Free Software movement are explicitly separated from the copyright implications of GPL, that conversation really can never properly take place.

    Of course, the other critical component of that conversation is actually letting the community decide – which requires turning over control of wordpress.org (and its all-critical theme and plugin repositories) over to the community.


  6. @Chip Bennett – When you say turn it over to the community, what do you mean? A representative voted upon by the community to head the theme repository? Same for plugins? Will we then have to worry about corruption just like the government?


  7. @Jeffro – See my comments on the Forum thread along the same topic.

    I think the best solution would be a Community Council that would, among other things, administer the wordpress.org web site.


  8. @Chip Bennett – It is always hilarious when people who don’t understand the GPL decide that they’d like to start forming committees to take over control of a phenomenon that would not have been possible without the GPL.

    If you want a say in the direction of WordPress, get coding. Or forking. Just stop with these Rush Limbaugh / Bill O’Reilly style attacks, there is absolutely no support among regular WordPress users for this hateful and sloppily-argued campaign against Matt and the WordPress project.


  9. @donnacha | WordSkill – I understand the GPL just fine, thanks, though I don’t appreciate your condescension.

    The GPL is very straight-forward, and easy to understand.

    I also don’t appreciate the notion that having a say in WordPress requires contributing code. So much for the concept that “there are other ways to contribute”, eh? Some of us aren’t coders, and will never contribute a line of meaningful code. That means that we should never get a say in WordPress, or its community?

    And why on earth would I want to fork? I love WordPress. I don’t have, and have never expressed, a problem with the WordPress code.

    And by the way, I *am* a “regular WordPress user”. There is nothing “Rush Limbaugh / Bill O’Reilly” style (whatever that means), hateful, or sloppy about my arguments. I’ve not argued against the WordPress project, though I have disagreed with statements that Matt has made.

    You know, Donnacha, I highly respect you. You have no reason whatsoever for the specious tirade you just leveled against me. If you want to do more than take cheap shots at me, come join us in the Tavern Forum, where we are having a respectful, adult conversation on the subject.


  10. @Chip BennettBefore I say anything else, I should make it clear that I am not Donncha O’Caoimh, the WordPress MU developer, I think you may have us confused, it’s an easy mistake to make, so, I always post as “donnacha | WordSkill” to differentiate. Note, too, that my name is Donnacha, his is Donncha – mine is longer.

    I didn’t mean to come across as condescending but I did mean to come across as angry – because I am. When I questioned your understanding of the GPL, I did so because of this comment:

    I am glad to hear Matt admit that he is intentionally conflating the legal construct that is the GPL and the philosophical concerns and ethics of the Free Software “movement”.

    Pretty much all the people who have done the heavy lifting in the WordPress project (and the Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP projects upon which your installation of WordPress depends) would be appalled and insulted to see you refer to the Free Software movement, with the word movement in inverted commas. By any definition, the Free and Open Source Software movement is, indeed, a movement, one to which people have dedicated their live’s work, one which has had a major impact on the evolution of the software industry, one without which the Internet as we know it today would not exist and the GPL has been one of the keystones of that movement.

    The Free and Open Source Software movement is not some hare-brained scheme that a bunch of hippies have come up while picking nits out of their hair – this is a movement of countless people, in every country of the world, united by a common vision and the WordPress project emphatically shares that vision.

    You may not agree with that vision, but your failure to recognise and acknowledge a bona fide and long-standing movement suggests that you don’t understand the history and legacy of the project you are so determined to change. That it not condescension, it is an evidently accurate observation.

    You then went on to say:

    It is basically Matt saying, implicitly, “I want the WordPress community to adopt the ethics and philosophy of the Free Software movement”. I would *love* for Matt actually to use this terminology, rather than the bogus “spirit of the GPL”.

    This is want I meant by hateful and sloppily argued, it is straight out of the Bill O’Reilly playbook: you set up a proposition, that Matt is somehow trying to hide a belief in the ethics and philosophy of the Free Software movement, as if it is his dirty secret and you just want him to come clean, when, in fact, he has been repeatedly, consistently and eloquently espousing FOSS right since the beginning of WordPress.

    Again, you can disagree with his position but, please, do not try to spin the argument, we are not morons in the WordPress community, we are people with an interest in and a deep understanding of ideas and meaning, we are not sitting in front of Fox News drinking cheap beer and potato chips, we actually notice when someone uses cheap rhetorical tricks to smear someone else.

    I do not mean to level this complaint entirely at you, you are just falling into line with a quite recent increase in rudeness towards Matt and the deliberate misinterpretations of the GPL, orchestrated by a very specific group. I have been around WordPress long enough, and have observed the community closely enough, to know that these memes are being stirred up by a handful of guy with a personal financial interest in using the WordPress eco-system to sell products, usually products that are not very good.

    I have nothing against premium themes and plugins, and it is worth noting that the really talented and productive guys, such as Carl Hancock and Brian Gardner, understand and are cool with WordPress and appreciative of the platform that WordPress provides. By comparison, ask yourself, the guys who are moaning loudest about access to WordPress.org, the guys who stir up the most vitriolic attacks against GPL, the nastiest personal attacks on Matt – exactly what have they produced that they are so anxious to sell? If you will look closely, you will notice that they have failed to produce anything worthwhile and now, disappointed and frustrated, are eager to blame their failure on “the system”, personified by Matt.

    Again, I don’t know where you stand in all this, perhaps you are just picking up on and echoing their frustrations – people with a gripe are always louder, it would be easy to mistake a cabal of malcontents as being the community, but they are not. There is a huge, mostly silent majority of WordPress users who don’t necessarily have time to hang out on WordPress forums, or to maintain a high profile in blog comments, mainly because they do not have a vested interest in doing so, but they are the real stakeholders and contributors to the WordPress project, you can be pretty sure that they are glad that its leaders are holding firm to the simple philosophy upon which it was founded. Anytime anything worthwhile is created, the hustlers gather, the vultures circle. From time to time, someone has to kick the money changers out of the temple.


  11. To lighten things up a bit.

    I watch Fox News and so does an overwhelming part of America. Should I be watching Keith Olbermann to fit in a little better? My choice of drink is Rum and potato chips make this Irish boy fat.


  12. @donnacha | WordSkill -

    efore I say anything else, I should make it clear that I am not Donncha O’Caoimh, the WordPress MU developer, I think you may have us confused, it’s an easy mistake to make, so, I always post as “donnacha | WordSkill” to differentiate. Note, too, that my name is Donnacha, his is Donncha – mine is longer.

    Wow, that explains and clears up something that has been confusing me for a really long time!

    Pretty much all the people who have done the heavy lifting in the WordPress project (and the Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP projects upon which your installation of WordPress depends) would be appalled and insulted to see you refer to the Free Software movement, with the word movement in inverted commas.

    Well, perhaps I can allay some of that anger right off the bat. I intended absolutely no offense whatsoever to the many great Free Software projects. Heck, I’m a Linux user! I admit to having a problem with some of Richard Stallman’s beliefs, but I don’t associate the entire Free Software community (or movement) with him or his beliefs.

    So, hopefully, that was just a misunderstanding, and I apologize for causing it.

    This is want I meant by hateful and sloppily argued, it is straight out of the Bill O’Reilly playbook: you set up a proposition, that Matt is somehow trying to hide a belief in the ethics and philosophy of the Free Software movement, as if it is his dirty secret and you just want him to come clean, when, in fact, he has been repeatedly, consistently and eloquently espousing FOSS right since the beginning of WordPress.

    You give me way too much credit. I have no ulterior motive, nor did I attempt to set up a canard or straw man. Matt and others have (often, and incorrectly) used the term “spirit of the GPL” when what they really mean is “Free Software principles and philosophy”, and that choice of phraseology has led to no end of confusion in the community. That’s my whole point: not that Matt or the WordPress community shouldn’t espouse Free Software principles or philosophy, but that those principles and philosophies shouldn’t be confused or conflated with the GPL, which is only and entirely a matter of copyright.

    Again, you can disagree with his position but, please, do not try to spin the argument, we are not morons in the WordPress community, we are people with an interest in and a deep understanding of ideas and meaning, we are not sitting in front of Fox News drinking cheap beer and potato chips, we actually notice when someone uses cheap rhetorical tricks to smear someone else.

    Again, I’ve used no rhetorical tricks, cheap or otherwise (unless you question that Matt and others have, in fact, used the term “spirit of the GPL” when what they really mean is “Free Software principles and philosophy”). I never imputed any motive for such use of the term “spirit of the GPL”, but rather have merely pointed out that its use is incorrect and leads to confusion.

    I don’t doubt Matt’s (or anyone else’s) sincerity.

    And, for the record, I don’t watch Fox news. I don’t watch news. If I did, I would watch Fox news. Likewise, I neither drink beer nor eat potato chips. Perhaps it is possible that I don’t fit the rest of the stereotypes with which you have labeled me? I am a conservative (politically and socially), but I really don’t see how that has any bearing on the discussion. I have no problem with the GPL, or with the Free Software movement. I love both WordPress and Linux (and the many projects on which they are built), and do what I can to contribute (which, admittedly, isn’t much).

    I have no desire to smear Matt (or anyone else). At the same time, I’m not a sycophant, and if I believe that Matt’s actions or decisions are wrong or detrimental, then I have no problem airing that belief. After all, if I love WordPress, why would I keep silent?

    I do not mean to level this complaint entirely at you, you are just falling into line with a quite recent increase in rudeness towards Matt and the deliberate misinterpretations of the GPL, orchestrated by a very specific group. I have been around WordPress long enough, and have observed the community closely enough, to know that these memes are being stirred up by a handful of guy with a personal financial interest in using the WordPress eco-system to sell products, usually products that are not very good.

    Well, I’m not one of those people. I have no financial interest in WordPress. I’m just a user. Granted, I’m a user who has discussed GPL at length with a lot of other users and developers. I don’t think I share the misconceptions about the GPL that you ascribe to the people you describe, and I am equally critical of third-party developers who try to abuse the GPL as I have been here in this discussion.

    There is a huge, mostly silent majority of WordPress users who don’t necessarily have time to hang out on WordPress forums, or to maintain a high profile in blog comments, mainly because they do not have a vested interest in doing so, but they are the real stakeholders and contributors to the WordPress project, you can be pretty sure that they are glad that its leaders are holding firm to the simple philosophy upon which it was founded.

    I’m one of those users. I just choose to participate (as I am able, not being a developer/coder), because I believe that I *do* have a vested interest in WordPress. I’ve been a user for almost five years, which to me qualifies as a vested interest. I wouldn’t ever want to have to explore using another platform, so I want to see WordPress exceed to the greatest extent possible.

    Anytime anything worthwhile is created, the hustlers gather, the vultures circle. From time to time, someone has to kick the money changers out of the temple.

    Well, again, I’m no money-changer. And I have no problem with “kicking the money changers out of the temple”. For example, I have no problem with Matt removing 180 obviously spam-ridden themes from the repository, although I have a bit of a problem with the way the other removals were handled.

    Certainly we can have a discussion about these various things, without assuming each other has ulterior motives? Because I have none. I am interested in what is best for WordPress and the WordPress community (to which I consider myself to belong).


  13. @Brad Potter – Well, right now we’re watching football (my eyes were bleeding for half the game). Usually we watch Top Chef, or Chopped, or House Hunters, etc. We don’t watch news or political shows.

    And if I’m going to have something to drink, it’ll be a dry wine. I usually snack on nuts, but lately it’s been deer sausage. (I’m sure I’m just locking in my stereotype lol.)


  14. Jeff – Don’t let the people you are interviewing trap you into answering your own questions. Even if it is Matt. Good interview otherwise.

  15. Carl Hancock

    I want that beer… I’ll consider it an IOU.

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