WordPress developer Simon Dickson had the chance to sit down with WordPress co-founder Mike Little for about a half hour during their WordPress 10th anniversary party. This is one of the longest interviews with Mike that I’ve seen and it covers his history of using computers, programming, the beginnings of WordPress and several other topics. One of the biggest takeaways I’ve had from watching all the interviews with Mike Little is that he is just as humble if not more so than Matt Mullenweg.
When you listen to the story of how WordPress began from Mike’s perspective, you begin to realize how the planets must have been aligned in order for those two to meet. There are a couple of different time points in the early days of WordPress that could have changed everything. For example, the lead developer for b2 disappeared without a trace for several months. Because of the disappearance and the presence of major bugs as well as the domain coming up for renewal, Matt published his Software Dilemma post where Mike Little volunteered to help out with the forking of b2. If the lead developer didn’t disappear, would we be using WordPress today? Then there’s the mass exodus from MoveableType in 2004 after they announced MT3 would have a $70.00 fee attached to it. Considering MT was one of the leading platforms at the time, had MT continued to be free, how would that have affected WordPress as we know it? Last but not least, TextPattern appeared to be everything Matt wanted in a publishing platform but because of its license, decided not to work with it. If TextPattern would have been licensed under the GPL at the time, would WordPress have been created? Ironically, TextPattern is now licensed under the GPL version 2, the same license as WordPress.
A couple of other tidbits to take away from this interview:
- Mike Little was responsible for the Links Manager in b2 which ended up as a part of WordPress.
- All of the settings pages, Mike wrote the original options code for those
- He is also responsible for the WP-Configsample.php file to prevent people from overwriting settings
- WordCamp UK Birmingham changed Mikes life because of the amount of people he saw raise their hand when asked how many people make most or all of their living from WordPress.
Mike was around during the mass exodus from MoveableType in 2004. I’d like to know if he noticed it, or had any thoughts on that part of WordPress history.