The sentiments in this entry have been brewing for some time now, and I feel it’s high time to tell the world how I feel. It’s about WordPress and Automattic, Inc., and it involves that big chunk of the blogging community that uses WordPress.
Just as many others, I love WordPress and will probably continue using WordPress until blogging runs out of fashion, but sometimes the Automattic attitude bothers me. Months ago I already ranted over at Jack off All Blogs about Matt Mullenweg, Automattic and attitude. From that day on my sympathy for Automattic, and indirectly WordPress, has diminished greatly. That’s because of the hypocrisy, more particularly hypocrisy towards the community.
When Matt expressed his opinion on sponsored WordPress themes, both in the WordPress Idea area and at Weblog Tools Collection my antipathy for Automattic reached a never seen level. I was done with Mullenweg, even with his awesome link entries on Sunday evenings. I believe Matt’s position on sponsored themes is purely hypocritical.
Automattic and Matt have always said that they value and want to continue the open-source spirit of WordPress. And while I see the effort to keep WordPress open, sadly this interest is not community-driven, but a purely business and economic focused strategy. All the good things the community puts into to the WordPress code DIRECTLY benefit Automattic. WordPress is a registered trademark, owned by Automattic.
This means that with every code improvement WordPress benefits, the value of Automattic, Inc grows. Above all, there is a bi-directional exchange between the open source WordPress.org code and the code of WordPress.com, a hosted blogging platform operated by Automattic.com.
I highly respect Matt Mullenweg for having created WordPress and made the community around WP possible, but I can’t value the hypocrite Mullenweg, who takes position against other people, particularly themes developers, trying to earn an honest living with sponsored themes.
Right now, after weeks of reflection on Matt’s stint in the WordPress.org Ideas area, I can only appeal to Automattic, Inc. to start thinking of the community again and to return to honesty. Return to honesty and give WP back to the community. Not only the source code, but also the name. It’s time to create a Foundation, a community-based Foundation and hand over the Trademark registration for WordPress to the Foundation. If you care about the community and want to keep the WordPress community free from any financial clutter, stand up and release the Trademark registration.
Be consequent with yourself.
PS: Ryan Caldwell‘s entry at Performancing stimulated me to finally publish my opinion.
In an effort to avoid the Grammar Police, my blogging friend J. Angelo Racoma edited a majority of my linguistic errors.