WordCamp San Francisco 2009 this past weekend was a resounding success, but there is some major confusion coming from the presentation on the State of the Word by Matt Mullenweg about the “merger” of WordPress and WordPressMU.
In his presentation, Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, told the more than 700 attendees news about WordPress and its relatives under the Automattic umbrella, a form of stockholders report. He also announced that WordPress – the ORG part of WordPress – would be merged into WordPressMU.
Many, including Ozh of Planet Ozh, The Theme Lab, and Aaron Brazell were quick to announce their thoughts about the “merger of WordPress and WordPressMU,” misunderstanding the story they were getting across the live blogs and twit-stream from WordCamp San Francisco.
While I’m waiting confirmation, my understanding from Matt’s announcement is that the long time home of all things WordPress, known by many as the WordPress dot org site, will become a WordPressMU site, with nothing impacting the downloadable versions of WordPress.
With the site’s move to WordPressMU, combining the WordPress driven informational site with the bbPress driven WordPress Support Forums, the site will also incorporate the hot new BuddyPress kit, a combination of WordPressMU specific Plugins that turn a site into a social media community platform, often called “Facebook in a box.”
This is a huge undertaking, with possibly million of registered users, testing WordPressMU, BuddyPress, bbPress, and the WordPress Community as the site undergoes the changes.
Building a Real WordPress Community
In the earliest days of WordPress.com, I really looked forward to the community part of WordPress.com bloggers rising up out of the multiple blogs hosted by WordPress.com. Global tags brought some people together, but individually, not by common interest.
With the move of the WordPress.org site to include the profiles and group “friends” and “followers,” I see that dream of a WordPress Community coming true.
Jane Wells has been working on building a stronger WordPress Community set of volunteers and contributors, moving beyond coders and hackers to every day WordPress fans to help contribute to the development of WordPress in a variety of non-technical ways, from translations to simply their opinion and feedback. Imagine having access through the BuddyPress profiles on WordPress.org to information on the talents, abilities, and interests of all the WordPress users! The WordPress development team could directly consult with those expressing an interest in a specific area of WordPress.
What about WordPress Plugin authors all interested in the Google Maps API. Imagine them working together to create some new mapping feature for WordPress. Or WordPress members living in a region or community wanting to get together to create a WordPress Meetup or Users Group, or maybe a WordCamp.
I’ve found that people who use WordPress want to work with people who use WordPress. They also want to play with them. Think of the possibilities of creating a special interest group on car racing, a sport, knitting, book reading, or whatever interest you have and/or blog about. Why not? I’d love to connect with people interested in what I’m interested in, learning from and with each other by a common bond.
This is what I believe is the intention of converting the official WordPress.org site to WordPressMU and adding BuddyPress. It serves as a fantastic testing ground for BuddyPress, just as WordPress.com does for WordPress and WordPressMU, and will help unite WordPress users in new and exciting ways. With BuddyPress interaction, this may also change WordPress support in some very interesting ways as people may be able to reach out for support directly from the WordPress Community, and not just through the WordPress Support Forums.
I also see WordPress.com embracing BuddyPress as well, hopefully. That would really make my dream come true for the community I so long for from among my millions of brothers and sisters on WordPress.com. It is such a vibrant and mixed community, I’d love to really get to know who they are and what their interest are beyond the Google or WordPress.com search or tags.
In the future, it will be easier to install WordPressMU or “flip a switch,” as many are calling it, between the single self-hosted version of WordPress and WordPressMU, but for now, I believe Matt’s intention was to announce the WordPress.org site going WordPressMU and BuddyPress.
It’s exciting times for the WordPress Community!