11 Comments


  1. Code can be redistributed, regardless of whether clever redistribution hacks are involved, support from the people who created the plugin cannot.

    No need for anyone to stress out – people who pay for themes are a valuable minority, exposing those potential customers to an unsupported version of the plugin is GOOD for the plugin creators. Carl might not be eager to buy a pint for the Your Inspiration Themes guys, but I very much doubt that this situation keeps him awake at night.

    This comment was written on a ferry in the middle of the sea between Ireland and Scotland – how fucking cool is that!

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  2. Bundling a plugin with a theme is indeed a-bad-idea, but note that this is different than a theme adding extra functional support for use with a specific plugin.

    I’m working on a special-case theme at the moment, and I plan on providing additional functionality in it for use with a specific plugin that fits the use-case nicely. Using the plugin will be optional, but it will detect whether or not the plugin is installed and if not, suggest to the user to install it, for additional functionality.

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  3. @Otto +1 – This scenario has always been a concern with me. How to add functionality to a theme but keep the functionality and the theme separate and yet have both function separately. I like the idea of the theme suggesting installation of a plugin for added benefit. If the plugin could then also work independently of the theme, Hallelujah to that.

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  4. Ted Clayton

    @donnacha -

    This comment was written on a ferry in the middle of the sea between Ireland and Scotland – how fucking cool is that!

    River Ribble, 1066-1760. As cool as it gets!

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  5. Great news that ThemeForest is looking at this issue because it may get out of control – seen more of it lately as Theme devs feel they have to do it to compete in that market place.

    All that will come of it in the end is that we will all get a bad name out of it. Coens comment about the infinite support Loop is right on the money – As WooThemes extension developers (WooCommerce Compare Products plugin) I have had first hand experience of a certain ThemeForrest Theme dev who purchased a Woothemes support License for the plugin and then bundled the script into a theme.

    Then they come direct to use wanting support – of course we just sent them directly back to WooThemes where they purchased the License.

    Here is the rub – of course they can take and do what they like with the script – maintain it, alter it whatever, but what they have been doing is when a Theme Client posts a support request about the script on their support forum they them that they will get the script devs to fix it (us). As was stated we have no idea what they have done with the code and no intention of touching it for them.

    Bundling is a bad practice that in the long run will hurt all of us – Theme buyers and plugin developers alike.

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  6. If said GF or similar plugin is in the theme directory (and you keep your theme updated by the WP update mechanism) could you not make a plugin that loads the ‘up to date’ plugin from the themes directory using the useful wp_plugin_dir() functions?

    Basically without even using the theme directly someone could enable the use of gravity forms (or similar) and use the most up to date version as the theme permits.

    Entirely peculiar that ‘free’ has become as infectious as ‘copyright’ through use of copyright. I suppose it’s just delightful that one does not have an edge over the other.

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  7. @donnacha – The only thing that was debated and something for which I couldn’t find an answer to is whether the GPL v2 allowed people to redistribute works without any modifications to the author or simply, masquerading as someone else.

    @Otto – Well, now that you’ve explained your special use case, I have to admit that I’m completely ok with your implementation. Better to build in enhanced functionality that is only enabled after a plugin is downloaded and installed versus bundling the plugin in the theme and building the functionality so that the plugin is required.

    @Steve Truman – Yeah your comment is right on the money. As I read the terms of service for gravity forms, they mention that the key holder is exclusively not allowed to redistribute forum support or other documentation to prevent this type of behaviour from happening.

    @Mike – Not sure where your going with your comment. Are you trying to describe a method in obtaining the latest version of GravityForms without using the required API Key?

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  8. @Jeffro – Yes exactly.

    I’m not condoning this practice I’m just saying it can be done. And because it can be done (within the attention that the theme developer puts in to keep a included commercial plugin up to date in their theme). Perhaps a rethink is needed or at least attention needs to be had by those using a similar model to GF in the future.

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