The WordPress vs Wix Open Source Shitstorm

The WordPress vs Wix open source shitstorm.

  • Disclaimer – I was a developer at Wix when the website editor creation took place.

Yesterday, some big accusations were thrown from WordPress’s founder Matt Mullenweg, blaming Wix for using an open source lib from WordPress, protected with GPL licence, and not following the rules of the GPL licence which are infectious – If you use it in one piece of your app – you have to open your whole app, and give it back to the community.

These are the GPL license rules, simplified:
http://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/47032/can-i-use-gpl-software-in-a-commercial-application

This is the post by Matt Mullenweg, blaming Wix:
https://ma.tt/2016/10/wix-and-the-gpl/

This is the answer of Wix’s app developer, telling the story of how it happened:
https://medium.com/@talkol/how-i-found-myself-accused-of-stealing-code-from-wordpress-a7350da9f9f2#.30yyxtw00

What’s interesting is, that WordPress took a normal MIT licensed script (aka – do whatever you want with it) and wrapped it with some code, then GPL licensed it. Fair?

This is the diplomatic answer from Wix’s founder:
http://www.wix.com/blog/2016/10/dear-matt-mullenweg-an-open-letter-from-wix-coms-ceo-avishai-abrahami/

Looks like legally, Wix is wrong. But it is a naive, fair mistake, and WordPress are not that clean here. Explained: https://medium.com/@miriamschwab/why-wixs-response-to-wordpress-re-gpl-license-is-weak-3e8a5027f850

The main conclusion that I can take from this thing is – always list your open source used parts in your code, and check their license.

And  try not to use GPL.

I also experienced (and still) similar stories in some of my projects and all I can add is – Some companies want really hard to be “open source company” but, they just don‘t have the mentality.

Don’t open source just in the name of open source. Know what and why you are doing that.

You can release your app for free, but that’s a free app. Not open source.

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