This morning, WordPress published some advice I gave them on CMS packages and themes. They also had some good thoughts on what the GPL means to the WordPress community:
If WordPress were a country, our Bill of Rights would be the GPL because it protects our core freedoms. We’ve always done our best to keep WordPress.org clean and only promote things that are completely compatible and legal with WordPress’s license. There have been some questions in the community about whether the GPL applies to themes like we’ve always assumed. To help clarify this point, I reached out to the Software Freedom Law Center, the world’s preeminent experts on the GPL, which spent time with WordPress’s code, community, and provided us with an official legal opinion. One sentence summary: PHP in WordPress themes must be GPL, artwork and CSS may be but are not required.
So as before, we will only promote and host things on WordPress.org that are 100% GPL or compatible. To celebrate a few folks creating 100% GPL themes and providing support and other services around them, we have a new page listing GPL commercially supported themes.
By coincidence, Joomla also made some changes regarding GPL and extensions today. Their extensions directory now only carries GPL-licensed extensions. This fulfills a promise they made back in 2008. Amazingly, this action is the end of a long arc that began with meetings we had in 2007.
The communities that have grown around the various GPL-licensed CMS packages are breathtakingly passionate. I’m continuously impressed by their ability to discuss contentious issues in an atmosphere of universal respect. And their commitment to the GPL warms my heart. Congratulations to both projects on taking some big, positive steps today.