You may already hear about GPL and what it stands for; however, most likely, you’re not fully aware of how it affects the WordPress platform and community.
This article will dive deep and talk about WordPress and GPL, what it is, and how it works.
Here are some of the subjects we will cover:
What is GPL
The GNU General Public License is the most commonly used free software license, often shortened to GNU GPL (or simply GPL).
One of the basic tenets of the GPL is that anyone who acquires the software must make it available to anyone else under the same licensing agreement.
The GPL was created by Richard Stallman, a free software movement activist and programmer.
Richard Stallman created the GPL to protect GNU software from being made proprietary. The four central core beliefs of the GPL are:
- Run the program for any purpose.
- The freedom to study how the program works and functions.
- You have the right to redistribute copies to others.
- You are allowed to improve and modify the program or software and release your improvements to the public so the whole community benefits.
GPL is designed to ensure that every user of a program gets the essential freedoms—to run it, to study and change the source code, to redistribute copies, and to publish modified versions
Richard StallmanRichard Stallman
WordPress and GPL
WordPress, along with thousands of other software, is also under the GPL license.
As mentioned above, WordPress benefits a lot from the GPL license. That is one of the main reasons why WordPress is the most popular CMS software today.
Thanks to the GPL, the public can access all WordPress files. As a result, developers worldwide started to study the code, modify it, and improve it.
A big, vibrant community started to form around WordPress. As a result, it created hype and caused more people to join and try the software.
Today, over 36% of the world’s websites use WordPress as their CMS platform. It is an unbelievable number only possible thanks to WordPress is GPL.
Moreover, WordPress is the most popular CMS (Content Management System) platform and has over 60% market share.
Even though all the other CMS platforms were created around the same time as WordPress, not being under the GPL held them back and let WordPress open up a significant gap in usage and popularity.
Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, is one of the biggest promoters of the GPL in the world. He stated multiple times before that ‘If WordPress were a country, our Bill of Rights would be the GPL because it protects our core freedoms.‘
Matt himself knows and believes that for the software to thrive, you should release it under the GPL. That is why they protect their Bill of Rights and live by it.
Much of WordPress’ competitors that are not GPL vanished and died over the years. That happened because they didn’t have enough users to keep their heads above water.
Eventually, the users who used their platform just left them and moved to a more evolved software like WordPress. This was due to other developers improving it thanks to the GPL.
GPL and Ethics
Some developers may look at the GPL as a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, thanks to the GPL, they can reach millions of customers worldwide. Thanks to the GPL, WordPress is the most popular system, as we talked about above.
But, on the other hand, everyone can redistribute copies of the plugins and themes because that is legal under the GPL license.
We believe that redistributing the plugins and themes can greatly benefit developers, so we created this website.
Think about it. If a developer sells his plugins for hundreds of dollars, it will be almost impossible for a beginner site owner to afford and purchase the plugin.
As a result, the website’s owner won’t be able to scale up and reach the full potential of his business.
Suppose the website’s owner could purchase the desired plugin from us for a small fee. In that case, there is a better chance for him to scale up his business, make more money, talk about the plugin, spread the word to his partners and customers, and even purchase a license from the original developer to get help or support.
Like the WordPress and GPL founders, we honestly believe that when more people use a plugin or theme, whether purchased from the original developer or us, it will benefit the original developer in the long term.
Is GPL Safe?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer will be: it depends. Let me explain.
Similar to us, there are many WordPress plugins and themes redistributing websites, but they are not all the same.
Many sites download the plugins and themes to their computer first, modify the products (usually with ads) and upload them to their websites to sell. They do it to get a quick buck with ads.
Unlike them, we do it differently. We developed an intelligent bridge mechanism that connects our website servers to the original developers’ websites.
As a result, the bridge we developed will automatically download the newest versions from the official websites and upload them straight to our website.
Above all, we DO NOT change or modify the products in any shape or form. It’s going straight from the original developer to our website. The plugins and themes that you’re downloading from us are precisely identical to the original developer’s.
One of our core beliefs is not to change or modify the files whatsoever.
This article teaches what GPL is and how WordPress benefit from it.
GPL is an excellent software license that benefits WordPress immensely. Therefore, it helped WP develop and become the most popular CMS platform of all time, with millions of users worldwide.
If you have any comments or questions, please let us know in the comment box below.