29 Comments

  1. David McCan

    Thank you for the good reporting and analysis. It does seem that rather than just correcting the mistake Wix over-compensated and introduced other issues. The process is turning out to be a learning experience for Wix. Hopefully “the third time will be the charm” and they will get it right.

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  2. Laura

    That’s a crappy move by Wix.

    Local by Flywheel is a proprietary app.

    Their app includes WordPress in it in /Applications/Local by Flywheel.app/Contents/Resources/extraResources/virtual-machine/vendor.

    Are Flywheel allowed to distribute their non-free* app if it includes WordPress as part of it?

    * I mean free as in freedoms.

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    • Brainy

      But Local by Flywheel is not a WordPress competitor, rather an ally. It directly helps create WordPress websites. That said, the free version of it could be open source indeed, but I ethically see no reason why it should.

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    • Otto

      There is a difference between integration/modification of parts of the code and mere aggregation. This is made clear in the license text.

      But: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0-faq.en.html#MereAggregation

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      • Laura

        This is from the url you posted:

        Combining two modules means connecting them together so that they form a single larger program. If either part is covered by the GPL, the whole combination must also be released under the GPL—if you can’t, or won’t, do that, you may not combine them.

        If the modules are included in the same executable file, they are definitely combined in one program. If modules are designed to run linked together in a shared address space, that almost surely means combining them into one program.

        If the ping Local sends to the WordPress api doesn’t return, then Local uses the bundled version of WP that comes in the app to spin up sites, if you’re working offline on a plane or train for example.

        IANAL, but that doesn’t appear to be ‘mere aggregation’, like separate programs existing on a usb key which is then distributed, they’re linked. If WP wasn’t included in the app, it wouldn’t function if you attempt to create sites offline.

        I think Flywheel need to clarify this. They’re listed on WP.org as one of the recommended hosts.

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      • Otto

        If it’s simply including a copy of the WordPress ZIP file, or downloading one based on the API response, then that definitely falls under “aggregation”. It’s just installing WordPress for you, it’s not integrating directly to it.

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      • Laura

        Downloading one based on the API response is fine because they’re not distributing it as part of a proprietary app, that’s not the issue.

        The issue is how WP is integrated into Local when the response fails (it does more than installing WP), what Locals license actually is, and what restrictions are involved.

        I’m unable to find any concrete license details for the app on their site or in the app itself, which could be an oversight on my end. When they have been asked explicitly what their license is, they say it’s proprietary without providing any further details.

        Everything may very well be GPL kosher, but they should have details of their own license on their site, in the app, or available when requested.

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      • Dave

        License or no license included, their software is still protected by copyright.

        The GPL doesn’t apply since they are not modifying any WP source code. Copying files for use in a dev environment is not considered “integrating”. They are simply including a verbatim copy of WP. That is totally “kosher” under the GPL.

        WordPress is included as a zip file which contains how WP is licensed. At least in the mac version, if you choose “About Local” from the app’s menu, they rattle off every piece of software in use and its license as well.

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  3. John Teague

    It was clear from the previous WIX CEOs response to Matt’s complaint that Wix could not be trusted to comply with GPL. WIX simply got caught ripping off WordPress code, and then pulled this badly crafted stunt. The sooner WordPress completes customizer advances for WordPress, the better. Until then the best course is to let Wix dig it’s own grave. I’m sure Matt and WordPress legal will take care of the rest.

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  4. Nico

    I knew exactly that they would drop the GPL code after the first round. Their responses were pathetic.

    “I did not know that we were fighting”

    “We are great because we open source other stuff”

    “MIT has a ‘BUG’ ” pfff.

    Funny thing is in another context I would even get the reasoning.

    But for WIX (Wixxen is German for masturbate btw) I think the claim that the MIT did not intend this is total BS, I think this is a very personal FU to Matt a “hell no you will not make us do anything” move.

    But the funny thing is that is kind of what the GPLv3 is doing it forces people to license enhancement with the a comparable license and the only license listed as compatible is Apache 2.0 so it for now is almost as if you force the GPLv3 on people who use your code. I personally love this and specifically chose GPLv3 for my code because I personally think GPLv3 is the most ethical and best license. I don’t want Tivoisatio) and stuff done with my code.

    But they did not have any deep thought about licensing, they just have no clue, grab some stuff from the web and then get childish when they are educated about their volatilizations.

    People use MIT specifically because it has very few restrictions and thats the opposite or GPLv3 for example. So calling it “Enhanced MIT” is a oxymoron.

    They will soon learn that they are making themselves look very sill with this. They should just save themselves the trouble and stick with the WP code and the GPL or at least stick with the MIT if they now dropped the WP code.

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  5. Gaurav

    From the Reddit thread:

    This seems to try to make EMIT just as viral as the GPL, therefore just as “bad”.

    I’ll just leave this here :D

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  6. Jeremy Benson

    Not surprised by this hostile move from Wix.

    After all their policy on web hosting in general follows the same pattern of disregard for the web community at large:

    from Wix Support

    “Your Wix site and all of its content is hosted exclusively on Wix’s servers, and cannot be transferred elsewhere.

    Specifically, it is not possible to export or embed files, pages or sites, created using the Wix Editor or ADI, to another external destination or host.
    It is also not possible to embed your Wix site onto an external site.”

    They also have a history of making serious mistakes without considering the consequences, remember when wix sites started getting de-indexed because they were using ajax but hadn’t implemented ajax crawling yet?

    Wix is anti-portability, anti-open source.

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  7. Nathan

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but WordPress.com uses WP.org source code, and yet it is not freely available for me, or others like me, to download, modify, fork, etc.

    I think Wix is a PoS and hate what they do, but lets not pretend that this is about GPL. This is about competition…period.

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    • John Teague

      The code used and developed by WordPress and Automattic for WordPress is GPL and available. It always has been, and will continue to be. And perhaps it’s instructive to point out that WordPress has defended the GPL, and that Wix ripped off WordPress code, lied, and then pulled this latest “licensing” stunt, not the other way round. Competition, whether motivating or not, is simply not the point here, and shouldn’t be used as a distraction from the real culprit or their actions and their behavior.

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      • Nathan

        Please tell me where I can find the full source code for WordPress.com. I’d love to take a look.

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      • John Teague

        We’re talking about applications and code developed under GPL, not the entirety of all code written by a company. If you don’t know the difference, educate yourself before you make an accusation, please.

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      • Nathan

        John, it won’t let me reply to yours, so I’ll reply to mine. WordPress.com uses some .org code, does it not? If so, then the entire app must be licensed under the GPL. Otherwise, MM calling Wix out for not releasing their code is hypocritical at best.

        Lastly, it might do you good to educate yourself before calling other people out, since it seems you are unfamiliar with the entirety of the complaint.

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      • Nimal

        “WordPress.com uses some .org code, does it not? If so, then the entire app must be licensed under the GPL. ”

        According to MM this statement is 100% true. So where I have misunderstood?

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      • David

        In my understanding: open source (read: GPL) doesn’t mean it need to be publicly available for everyone.
        but if you use open source code for public (in this case: downloadable app) you must explicitly include and use the open source license (because it is open source code)

        no?

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    • Chuck

      Right – and based on other articles I’ve read (including comments by Matt himself), the instant you make a single call to a WP function your entire project now has the GPL antibodies and must come under the GPL. WordPress.com does some interesting things related to scaling so I am looking forward to seeing the entire code library out on github. Let me know when that happens…

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    • Dave

      Indeed. This was a quarrel between rival CEOs, the GPL just played into Mullenweg’s hand.

      Regardless of what I think about WordPress or Wix, Mullenweg lost points with me in this whole ordeal. It’s a bit like instead of telling his friend that his wife was cheating on him, he takes out an ad in the paper and lets everybody know about it first. This could have been resolved with a phone call and then if Wix didn’t respond, call them out on it.

      Taking the “moral” high ground here doesn’t make up for being smug. Passive aggressive BS at its finest.

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  8. Jeffrey

    Oh boy, I am so lost now…

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  9. Mike Little

    Chuck and Nathan, the GPL V2 (under which license WordPress is distributed), kicks in when the application or library is “distributed”. Hence it applies to the downloaded version of WordPress, and specifically in this case the downloadable Wix iOS app.
    It does not apply to the Wix website (I don’t even think there is a suggestion they are using GPL code there) nor does it apply to wordpress.com. Both wix.com and wordpress.com are “services” accessed remotely not distributed applications.
    Two additional notes:
    Most of what the extra stuff Automattic add to WordPress on wordpress.com is also GPL and available: either in the Jetpack plugin or for example here https://wpcom-themes.svn.automattic.com/. They have also released a number of os-level tools they have built for scaling.

    Note also that the above mentioned GPLV3 (and the earlier Affero GPL) addresses this ‘software as a service doesn’t need to comply’ issue. But WordPress does not use that license.

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    • Andreas Nurbo

      From what others have written they have not released that which make wp.com actually work. But thats ok. Matt himself says SaaS is the way to go. Good thing about SaaS is that then you can modify GPL code as much as you want and never release anything. Its like eating the cake and having it too.

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    • David Rothstein

      I don’t think GPLV2 vs. GPLV3 actually makes any difference in that regard. Neither requires you to release code modifications if the software you modified only runs on your web server.

      Affero GPL does require that, and that’s the one distinction between it and GPLV3: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/why-affero-gpl.en.html

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  10. WixIsNotPerfect

    Meanwhile, Wix stock price is up 10 bucks a share since this whole fiasco developed in 4th Q 2016 :) regardless of all this.

    Remember, Wix is not perfect, Wix is not WP, WP is not Wix. You have no more worries. Carry on now.

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