Fork at the Road

Congratulations to Matt Mullenweg for the a (job/contract?) with C/Net and the Houston Press article. Looks like C/Net wants to tie itself into the weblogging golden goose, and has grabbed a talented member of the community as a start.

Matt has an agreement with the company that 15% of his time can be spent on WordPress. In a normal 40 hour week, that less than 8 hours, so I imagine that Matt will still be spending lots of his off-time on the weblogging tool, too. And I imagine the WordPress development team will also start growing with new members.

It wasn’t long after Matt made his announcement that the questions started coming about the independent state of WordPress. However, WordPress is GPL, and though commercial variations could spring up right now, he’s correct when he assures people that C/Net can’t swoop down and gobble WordPress up.

Dorothea raised a good question on Matt’s continued freedom as regards IP, and Matt said he’s satisfied with the contract on this regard. I am curious myself about what other ‘open source’ projects C/Net is getting into, per his aside on this. As he says, C/Net is news and media, not software.

WordPress will most likely continue it’s development as it is, so folks shouldn’t be worried about this. For myself, though, after the release of 1.3, I’ll be forking off from WordPress and maintaining my own codebase from that point. This isn’t because I’m pissed at the WordPress community or Matt (jealous, heck yes); or am picking up my cookies and leaving in a huff. No, I’ve reached a point in my customization of of WordPress that after I incorporate what I want, and it’s a lot, in 1.3, I’m going to be diverging too much from the direction the weblogging tool is taking. In addition, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to merge my code and the team’s, and it has reached a point where it’s just easier for me to maintain my own code.

I’ll provide links to my version of the code, and updates and fixes, but I’m not going to try to establish an empire as competitor to WordPress. It will also be open source, and I might throw it up on SourceForge, but I’m not promoting the product, or starting a support forum. I imagine I’ll be the only person using the code.

(And truthfully I think most weblogging tool vendors would rather I not be a customer. Heck, I wouldn’t want me as a customer.)

It will be disappointing to not provide tidbits of help to people using a common tool, but I’ve become less interested in this over time. And I have different things I want from my weblogging tool than what the WP developers want, and that’s a goodness. Thanks to the GPL, I can be happy, they can be happy.

Congratulations again to Matt. I hope C/Net works out nicely.

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