Hasty Mistake With WP2.8 Header Design Challenge

Jeremy Visser published what I believe to be a great post regarding the recent WordPress 2.8 header design challenge which took place this past weekend. In his post, Jeremy discusses the fact that the challenge requires entrants to work from a .PSD file which is a proprietary format tied to Adobe Photoshop, a program which costs hundreds of dollars and is not readily available to use by everyone within the WordPress community.

So because I choose to use free software for my day-to-day tasks which is morally better and technically superior (SVG is much better for such mockups), I and hundreds of other WordPress contributors would be unable to submit my designs for the competition because of the simple fact that they choose to be locked into a proprietary format.

In response to Jeremy’s post, Matt Thomas who created the mockup design in the first place responded to the criticism in a comment left on the post. Granted the challenge was created virtually without notice. If there had been more time, I think Matt Thomas and company would have opened up the challenge to more formats just as long as they preserved the layers and could be edited in Photoshop which is what they plan on doing in the future.

I think Jeremy did a great job with his post raising this issue as it flew right by me after reading the initial challenge announcement. I’m also enlightened to see folks such as Jeremy keeping a watchful eye on everything the WordPress project/Automattic does to see if it falls out of line with the open-source mantra. In the end, I think this was all just a hasty mistake. What do you think?

Jeremy said something in his post that I think could be turned into one of those motivational posters you see in corporate offices regarding open-source projects.

Do not alienate the community that gives you your very existence.


2 responses to “Hasty Mistake With WP2.8 Header Design Challenge”

  1. At first, I didn’t realize that this was a contest that was “officially” supported by WP.org.

    Apparently, WP’s new motto out to be: “WordPress – we support Open Source (but only when it’s convenient)”

    Wouldn’t this requirement for an Adobe Photoshop proprietary format file be analogous to Canonical requiring job applicants to submit their resumes in Microsoft Word format?

  2. Well, as Automattic expands, not all of the people it employs are going to have a background in open-source software. They’re probably forced to agree to the coolness of the concept in order to get hired, but that doesn’t mean it’s something to which they’re personally committed, or even something that they think about much.

    I wouldn’t say it’s inevitable that Automattic’s commitment to open-source gets watered down the more mainstream they become, but it’s certainly something the community should continue to watch out for.


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