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September 29, 2009

WordPress MU, GPL and Paywalls

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It started with a 16-word comment, a reply to a commenter on Weblogs Tools Collection that had lamented not being able to afford a WordPress MU plugin that was being offered as a premium service by WPMU.org for $79. The comment simply said the following:

It would be nice if someone entered in the contest plugins that do everything theirs do.

However, the comment came from WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg and that caused a hailstorm of controversy, including a blog post from James Farmer the founder of Incsub, a WordPress MU community, Edublogs, a blog hosting platform based upon WordPress MU and WPMU.org, a WordPress MU community site with free and premium elements.

Farmer accused Mullenweg of wishing that the company would “bust” and the heated exchange continued in the blog comments.

The case shows exactly how heated and volatile the mixture of open source and business cane be sometimes. When community-driven projects meet with business interests the relationship is rarely smooth and perfect, even though the two need each other to survive. read more

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