WordPress Theme Kerfuffle 2010 July 19
People reading this blog outside of an RSS reader will notice something different with my blog. I changed the theme. I was using the Coppyblogger theme by Chris Pearson which I really like. However there has been a bit of kerfuffle that Chris is in the center of. The developers of WordPress feel that themes are part of the WordPress code base and therefore subject to the GPL as a derivative work. Chris feels differently. I don’t know from a legal standpoint who is right, except to say that if any WordPress GPL code is in the theme (which is true of many themes, including Thesis which Pearson wrote and is at the center of the kerfuffle), than it would definitely by GPLed.
For a convincing argument about why the developers think that it themes are subject to the GPL, see Mark Jaquith post about Why WordPress Themes are Derivative of WordPress. Whether or not it is legal to distribute themes under a license other than the GPL, after thinking about the issue, I feel not distributing themes under the GPL is unethical, or at least shows a lack of respect now that this issue has come to light.
The Copyblogger theme is free and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5. Outside of this kerfuffle the CC Attribution Share Alike would be fine by me. Still I decided to at least temporarily change my theme since it was developed by Chris Pearson. I mostly did this as a tiny signal of support for the WordPress developers. I may change the theme again soon because I didn’t do a lot of searching/experimenting for a theme – I just took the first one that looked good.