1. Mark Jaquith

    To answer an issue that came up: no, I don’t have any hand in WordPress.com goings-on. If there is a patch for WordPress core that we want tested, Ryan Boren may roll it out on his WordPress.com testbed, but none of the non-Automattic contributors have access to WordPress.com code.

    Similarly, Automattic employees don’t get automatic commit access to WordPress core just because they might have access to WordPress.com. They have to earn that just like anyone else. Look in Trac to see Automattic employees submitting patches to WordPress core, without any unearned consideration.

    There are two main things that make this separation fuzzy: Matt, and the naming issue. The naming issue is sort out out of the bag, unless Automattic starts using its wp.com domain instead of WordPress.com. And the Matt issue is simply that because he founded Automattic and was a co-founding developer on WordPress (and is the bottom line when it comes to the WordPress.org site), people think that he’s unable to “change hats,” so to speak. That’s just something you’ll have to judge by his actions. And even the non-Automattic WordPress core developers have to deal with the issue of objectivity. I get asked all the time whether I can use my influence over WordPress core to promote a plugin, a company, a service, or commit a feature or patch that would benefit one group to the detriment of another. My perspective, and I’d wager other WordPress core devs would agree, is that WordPress is more likely to outlast any one company or client, and selling WordPress up the river for some short term gain would be a really stupid move.


  2. Jake Goldman

    Mark – thanks for the comprehensive answer to my question. The curiosity was genuine.

    I can’t remember if I said it during the podcast or after, but I mentioned that a conversation about WordPress “leadership” and the relationship between the open source project and the biggest commercial WordPress-based entity (Automattic) is worth some exploration, maybe an episode of its own.

    We touched on the issue (but tried not to let it consume the episode) because I think it’s fair to examine whether commercial SaaS endeavors like page.ly are actually competing on an equal playing field with Automattic, or whether Automattic has a unique relationship with the software.

    Whether it’s fair or not, I do think many WordPress “customers” have conflated the two. I’ve heard “WordPress software is managed and owned by a company, Automattic” from smart professionals more times than I count. Why, exactly, this is is unclear. I suspect it’s a combination of both factors you raise.

    I’m not sure how many listeners will read the comments. If you’re around at 2 pm EST on Saturday, we’re doing a call in show for the wrap up episode. It would be great if you could share your clarification and POV.


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