WordPress and Thesis talk GPL and the debate over license

From time to time this issue raises its head in the blogosphere and it pretty much came to a head recently. Its interesting to see the difference in the points of view of the supporters of Open Source and those that work on it but sell theirproduct in the typical fashion, namely for profit and their reasons and issues with this process.

WordPress GPL

WordPress, developed by Matt Mullenweg has a General Public License (GPL) which means that it is distributed freely to all and as such it has allowed development from 1000’s of people who are part of the user base and community. With 11.4 million users out there hosted on WordPress and an estimated 12 million more on self hosted solutions it has established itself as one of the top platforms to use for a blog or website.

Thesis Theme

The Thesis Theme by Chris Pearson has been developed and sold as a separate entity (164 dollars for an unlimited license) but it is based on the WordPress platform. It has an estimated 27,000 users and is NOT under GPL (apparently it is as of recently but I’m still seeking confirmation on this.)

Chris as a business person is arguing that he isnt beheld to WordPress, the license and is resisting the GPL. Have a listen to the debate, arranged by Andrew Warner in the vid and see how you feel on the two sides to the story.

Personally I think Matt came across as more convincing and with a stronger basis for the “correct” thing to do in this particular situation. What do you think?