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.