o2 Development Team Shifts Focus to WordPress.com’s Core Products

O2 Is The Successor To The P2 Theme
O2 Is The Successor To The P2 Theme

Since writing about o2, Automattic’s successor to the P2 theme in 2013, a number of readers have requested updates on the project’s status. When asked about the project in a recent interview, Matt Mullenweg explained that despite loving the project and truly believing in it, work on o2 has shifted to other parts of WordPress.com to focus on the service’s core products.

Saying no is one of the hardest things but I think that’s where great design comes from is when you say no to a thousand things, including the things you love, or you really wanted to do. Saying no to the lame stuff is easy, but saying no to something you really believe in like o2 is much harder but that focus is crucial for creating great products.

Although Mullenweg says anyone on WordPress.com can enable o2, this is not the case. Searching for o2 on WordPress.com generates no results while P2 brings up the original P2 theme.

o2 Theme Not Found
o2 Theme Not Found

o2 is used internally at Automattic and the code is available via WordPress.com’s subversion repository. o2 is not listed since it was supposed to be a plugin but the work inside of o2 is listed under P2 Breathe. While you can download the code, it’s developed in such a way that it doesn’t make sense to run it outside of WordPress.com’s infrastructure.

Listen to Mullenweg explain why development resources have shifted away from o2 to WordPress.com’s core products and be sure to check out the full interview.

16 Comments


  1. I suppose half of the reason they stopped is because of Slack, which seems to have gained a bit of traction regarding internal communication.

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    1. I didn’t think of that angle, but it definitely makes sense. Slack is preferred over Skype and is now deeply integrated into the way of doing things and communicating inside Automattic.

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      1. Patience. It’s Friday night (where I am). Give’em to 4th of July. or Labor Day.

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  2. That’s a pity. They should at least take the WP.com code out and make it easy for the community to keep the development going, or something. If they are not gonna finish it, someone else should, because the idea was really interesting, and lots of people were looking forward for it.

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    1. You can download the files or anyone for that matter, remove the code that relies on the infrastructure and come up with something different or something that doesn’t tie into it.

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  3. Do any of you know what Matt was alluding to when he said it would only work on WordPress.com in it’s current form?

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    1. I don’t. The only thing I’ve been told and it’s something you know already is that it doesn’t make sense to run outside of WordPress.com’s infrastructure. I don’t even know how to set it up to try to figure out what that means.

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  4. Although Mullenweg says anyone on WordPress.com can enable o2, this is not the case. Searching for o2 on WordPress.com generates no results while P2 brings up the original P2 theme.

    Anyone who’d like access to the “new” P2 on WordPress.com (aka O2) is welcome to make a request in the Themes forum and we’ll be glad to get you set up. We’ll also add you to the beta users group.

    https://en.forums.wordpress.com/forum/themes

    Also to clarify, O2 on WordPress.com is called P2 now, while the old P2 was renamed P2 Classic.

    https://wordpress.com/themes/p2

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    1. Once upon a time I submitted a solicited request to be part of the testing on this and I never heard back.

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      1. Sorry about that! If you post on the WordPress.com site right now, letting me know the URL of the WordPress.com site you’d on which you’d like the new P2 activated, I would be glad to help you out.

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      2. I wasn’t wanting it for Dot Com.
        My experience mirrors the frustration expressed in this article. If my memory is correct, there was an announcement with some fanfare about a P2 replacement, if anyone wants to participate please convince us why YOU should be invited. I bothered to write something and then I never received a response nor until this post even learned what happened to the project.

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      3. I’m very sorry you didn’t get a response or an update. P2 was not release for self-hosted sites for the reasons mentioned above.

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  5. Any WordPress.com user can now activate it on their WPcom site.

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