Wordpress vs. Thesis Theme

I don't use Wordpress. I also never used the Thesis Theme when I did use Wordpress. Despite the fact that you can do some pretty cool stuff with Wordpress and the Thesis Theme together, I don't know how to do so and I've always been overwhelmed by the thought of trying to figure it all out. Regardless, I have some thoughts about this whole Wordpress vs. Thesis Theme debate that's going on right now.

Yesterday, Matt Mullenweg of Wordpress and Chris Pearson (creator of the Thesis Theme) clashed as to whether or not Thesis should be required to use the GPL, a license that is used to license free software. Wordpress "requires" that everyone who develops for the Wordpress ecosystem release their work under the GPL, and Pearson doesn't think Wordpress has the right to dictate the terms under which he releases his software. You can listen to the full debate here. Pearson does not currently use the GPL to license his software, because it would allow people to freely distribute his work that he's built a business around selling.

While Pearson did himself no favors in the debate by declaring himself as one of the three most important people in the history of the development of Wordpress, and comparing the issue to a law that made it "illegal to get a blow job in Georgia" by explaining it was unenforceable, I have to say that I completely agree with his position against Wordpress forcing 3rd party developers to release Wordpress shiz under the GPL.

It is ridiculous for Wordpress to attempt enforcing a rule that states everyone who develops for their platform has to abide by a specific software license, especially when the license requires the software to be given away for free. The question of legality is where the debate lies.

The Thesis Theme is software written on top of Wordpress, software that fits on top like a Lego piece, and as such, is not actually part of Wordpress. As a completely separate entity, Wordpress should claim dominion over 3rd party plugins.

In place of Pearson's blow job analogy, I submit my own. Let's relate this to the physical world. Imagine Apple creating a rule that states no company is allowed to make a red iPhone case unless they give it away for free. Sure, some companies might be okay with giving red cases away for free, thinking that plenty of people might come for a free red case but end up purchasing a different color case instead. But Apple would have no right to prevent anyone from selling a red case. Can you imagine Apple's case standing up in court? Neither can I.

Despite Mullenweg's best interest to keep Wordpress and all related software free for the benefit of users, it's irrational to try to force everybody to release their software under the GPL. The reason Pearson wrote software for Wordpress was so that he could make money. He shoudn't be faulted, or stopped, for doing that. The fact that Mullenweg is trying to control how Pearson releases his software is insane. It's not up to him, and it's not up to Wordpress.

As for me, I'll stick with Posterous. There are no such bogus restrictions here. Sachin and Garry know full well that any BS like that would totally disincentivize people from developing for their platform, and besides that, people have the full right to make money off of their own software, regardless of what it's built on or how it fits into another piece of software.

Ultimately, the free market should decide what stays and what goes. If people don't want to pay to use Thesis Theme, they can choose to find a theme elsewhere. There are plenty. It's as simple as that.

Are you this dedicated to reading my blog?

I was chatting with a friend tonight and we came upon the subject of Posterous. She proceeded to share this with me:

I read your blog religiously. You want to know my dedication to your site? I was actually laptopless for 7 months, but I made sure I had your site as a bookmark on my Blackberry so that I wouldn't miss anything.

If only more people had this kind of dedication to reading my blog, the world would be a much better place.

Dear Chase, Keep up the great design work. - Cory

I'm not going to even bother dissecting this hideousness. It would take me too long. The people at Chase should be ashamed of themselves.

Also, according to the Wayback Machine, the website hasn't changed since 2006, which equates to about 28 internet years - a very long time.

And somebody even created a Chrome Extension to modify the design of the Chase account portal when using Chrome. Once people start using their own CSS to improve the functionality of your website, it might be a good indicator that it's time to start over.

A little side project: FolioHD - Your online portfolio

Just a quick note to let you know about a side project I've been working on recently.

It's called FolioHD, and it's a great way to showcase your portfolio of digital work, like photography and even website design. Here's what a portfolio site can look like, without any technical setup or hassle: http://gooley.foliohd.com

I have a lot of friends who are getting into photography, and as a result, want a way to show off their work online. I used to always set them up with a Wordpress blog, installing Wordpress manually on my server each time. Then we'd install a Wordpress theme that would work for their needs. This was a tedious process, so I wanted to come up with a solution - something they could do on their own from start to finish.

Enter: FolioHD

Here's a screenshot of the user interface:

I teamed up with a buddy of mine, developer and photographer Christopher Gooley and soon after I shared the idea with him, we had a working prototype. We've been busy adding features ever since. Here's some of the things FolioHD can do:

  • A homepage rotator of your best work
  • Full theming support
  • A contact form
  • Google Analytics integration
  • Domain binding (use yourwebsite.com rather than yourname.foliohd.com)
  • Your own email alias on your own domain

And this is just the start. We've got lots more coming, like cool themes that will really make your work pop.

So if you know anyone who is looking for a way to easily get their portfolio online, tell them to check out http://foliohd.com. They'll be up and running in seconds; it's the quickest and easiest way to get a professional-looking portfolio.

A REAL Facebook privacy issue: Email addresses NOT listed on Facebook are getting indexed by Google - Update: Fixed by Facebook


I'm not one to freak out my personal information getting "leaked" from my mostly private Facebook profile, mainly because I don't publish things that I don't want people to know, but this is another story. This is a REAL Facebook privacy issue.

I Googled my email address (as I occasionally do) to see if it was indexed anywhere, because I like to keep it off the grid as much as I can. As it turns out, Facebook is the ONLY website that publishes my address, and the thing is...I don't even use that address on Facebook.

So what's happening here? Well, Facebook's "Opt out of emails from Facebook" page is getting indexed by Google. I'm assuming (based on critical thinking and moderate fact checking) addresses appear on this page if the following criteria are met:
  • Email address is not tied to an account on Facebook
  • Email address has been submitted by a friend using the "Find a friend" feature


What makes this a big problem is the fact that you can find THOUSANDS of email addresses by doing a simple Google search like:

site:facebook.com "Do you want to stop receiving Facebook emails" - fixed by Facebook

or

site:facebook.com "Do you want to stop receiving Facebook emails" @gmail.com - fixed by Facebook

Queries like this returned thousands of results, and I'm sure with a little digging, you could find more.

One obvious problem is that spammers can easily scrape this data and add easily legitimate address to their lists, many of whom might not give their addresses to Facebook for a reason. I actually remember seeing this problem a while back (maybe 6 months to a year ago), but forgot about it. I'm a little surprised that this one has slipped through the cracks for this long.

Follow me on Twitter and I'll let you know how this thing turns out.

Update: Sachin Agarwal pointed out on Hacker News that a lot of addresses getting indexed are secret addresses that people use to post to blogs (ie: Blogger). Yikes.

Update: It looks like Facebook has fixed the issue by preventing search engines from indexing that page. A big thanks to Blake Ross from Facebook for joining the thread on Hacker News to find the root of the problem and get it fixed. My email address is safe, once again!