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Jetpack by WordPress.com
Is there a double standard? (5 posts)

  1. Trevor Green
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Below I list the jetpack "feature" for enabling modules that "don't require a WordPress.com" connection. And rule number 6 that says "you cannot "cripple" functionality in the plugin and then ask for payment or provide a code to unlock the functionality."

    So I'm confused, is requiring a wordpress.com login not the same things as requiring a code?

    Does jetpack not violate the spirit of the rules of the repo by requiring wordpress.com login?

    So what does this suggest that a person should be able to do if there is not a double standard here.

    You should be able to provide a plugin who's functionality is only enabled by logging into a third party service.

    So clearly there are components of jetpack that are services. But other components "modules" are not.

    So is the answer that you have to have at least one service component and then you can gate the functionality of the rest of the your plugins by just bundling theme alongside the plugin that requires a service.

    Can someone explain to me why this is not a double standard? Can I make a jetpack style plugin bundle and require that someone has an account with me to use it, and host that on the repo, or not?

    Enhancement: Development Mode: Define the JETPACK_DEV_DEBUG constant to true to enable an offline mode for localhost development. Only modules that don't require a WordPress.com connection can be enabled in this mode.

    6. Trialware is not allowed in the repository. It's perfectly fine to attempt to upsell the user on other products and features, but a) not in an annoying manner and b) not by disabling functionality after some time period. Similarly, you cannot "cripple" functionality in the plugin and then ask for payment or provide a code to unlock the functionality. All code hosted by WordPress.org servers must be free and fully-functional. If you want to sell advanced features for a plugin (such as a "pro" version), then you must sell and serve that code from your own site, we will not host it on our servers.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/jetpack/

  2. No double standards here. Part of the reason they added the development mode function is in response to criticisms of this sort.

    Fact is that for a large portion of its lifespan, the majority of the features in Jetpack have required a WordPress.com connection. Of those, you have these: Stats, Sharing, Publicize, Notifications, Comments, Likes, Subscriptions, Spelling and grammar, WP.me shortlinks, Beautiful Math, Photon, Enhanced Distribution, Push notifications. These rely on backend support on the WordPress.com servers.

    Recently, they've added several more that work without that connection as well. Carousel, Tiled Galleries, Infinite Scroll, and the JSON API, for example, are relatively new. They work on their own.

    Now, the reason they bundled these together is for ease-of-use and for the simplicity of it, to make it easier for people who migrate from WordPress.com to a self-hosted blog retain mostly the same features and functionality. They have been criticized quite a bit for having the .com features and the non-.com features all behind the same login, and the DEV_DEBUG was born, to address that problem specifically for local development.

    To address your specific question:

    Can I make a jetpack style plugin bundle and require that someone has an account with me to use it, and host that on the repo, or not?

    The answer to your question is yes, if the functionality, or a suitably great majority of it, actually requires that connection. We do allow plugins that connect to, and rely on, third-party services to be in the directory. Even if those are paid services, in fact, and this one is free.

    They're not asking for a WordPress.com connection just to be jerks about it. The code in there actually needs that connection to do it's job. Photon hosts the image files on WordPress.com's CDN. The Stats are collected and hosted by the WordPress.com website. The Comment system works through the WordPress.com comments system. Even the Math thingy processes the Latex images on their servers. We allow Facebook plugins to connect to Facebook, and Twitter plugins to connect to Twitter. This is no different.

    Would I like it if Jetpack activated the non-connection modules without the connection? Sure. And we've been working to get them towards that goal. But there is certainly a real cost in user-experience when you start making things more complex for your common users, and the vast majority of people using Jetpack are using it for those .com connected features. 80/20 rule at work. Their argument is that it's a simpler process to ask for credentials once and connect up everything as opposed to having a multi-step process, or having some parts work and other parts not work until you jump through an authentication hoop and so forth. And to be fair, they have a point there. Ease-of-use matters too.

    Also, Jetpack is completely free, so the question of "trialware" doesn't really enter into the equation at all.

  3. Trevor Green
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    "Would I like it if Jetpack activated the non-connection modules without the connection? Sure."

    So there is the clear acknowledgement that the jetpack "modules" are actually discrete plugins that don't require login.

    So that's simple, just require that they be a separate set of plugins for them to be on the repo.

    The real problem here is that there are supposedly altruistic reasons for the rule set and the open source ethic, but the free content from wordpress.com is just marketing for wordpress.com and is a reduction in the opportunity of other members of the open community to service those same needs at a profit.

    There is a vast difference between WordPress.com who holds the brand and is promoted by all of the .org users at almost no benefit to them.

    WordPress.com can afford to fund all sorts of free plugin development in order to keep the king of the hill spot. Other contributors are not in such an enviable position.

    So wordpress.org just serves as a vehicle to sabotage the efforts of other cms vendors and independent developers who without it would be forced to go the potentially healthier route of offering a competing product, instead of offering marketing to another .com that puts up a hard wall between themselves and other developers ability to make money.

    There are no referral fees or affiliate programs for any of WordPress.com products that are up-sells on the credibility they gain from millions of independents using their product.

    Whatever, this is the situation we find ourselves in. Clients want WordPress because it has reached default status. So we are all forced to scramble to figure out how to monetize our work in a cms that really doesn't want us to.

    So I'm trying to play along. I'm just leery at times that it is worthwhile, and I wish that WordPress was as enabling of developers as Apple. There are only a few reasons that I can think of that it isn't. WordPress.com doesn't want to run a paid repo because they are lazy, WordPress.com doesn't want to run a paid repo because developers making money could afford to compete with what WordPress.com wants to offer. Neither of those seem to be ethical positions in open source. The argument that they don't have the time is bs, because they could charge for the sale and that revenue could support the operation, just like Apple.

    Also it wouldn't sabotage free at all because I think you would have at least 50x the developer participation if there was an official marketplace.

  4. So there is the clear acknowledgement that the jetpack "modules" are actually discrete plugins that don't require login.

    A few of them yes. Most of them started as separate plugins which, BTW, are indeed elsewhere in the repo as well. The bundling together is considered to be a good thing, as a convenience. Like I said before, the purpose is to make migration away from WordPress.com to self-hosted easy.

    So that's simple, just require that they be a separate set of plugins for them to be on the repo.

    Actually, I'd kinda prefer them to make a better user interface to make it easier all-around to use those pieces separately but still have the option for others as well.

    As for the rest of your post, well, I have no idea what you're talking about for most of it. I do find it interesting that you seem to be worried about how to "monetize" your work. You could just, you know, sell your work somewhere else...

    WordPress is free as-in-speech and as-in-beer, and so are all the plugins and themes that we host here on WordPress.org. Use them, or don't use them. If you want to contribute, then do so. If not, then don't. It won't really bother me either way.

    But WordPress.org and the WordPress Foundation (which actually holds the "brand" of WordPress) have no plans to start selling products or creating a marketplace to do so. You're free to create your own if you think there is a gap in the market. And hey, if you sell 100% GPL products, we'll probably even promote you. Look closely at the homepage. Bottom left.

    (BTW, beware that "developer support" from Apple. Last I checked, they had outright banned a lot of the types of apps that I use on my Android on a regular basis. Seen any Bitcoin apps on the iPhone lately?)

  5. Trevor Green
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    The idea that you are able to sell your work somewhere is fair, but it is sort of analogous to saying that you can sell burgers out of your home but not on a main road in your town with high traffic numbers.

    You have to make your own traffic, but in a open source environment where sharing is encouraged there is an over current of equality. So when you have add new plugin as the main road to where people get things. You are directly encouraging free over paid. Which favors people with other revenue streams providing things for free which someone on the back road could have otherwise made a living providing.

    So people like WPMU or WordPress.com aggregate and consume everything at the corporate level, and the underdog has to either become a large player or be satisfied with scraping their way along until the run out of will.

    And along the way the large aggregation services that can just take your code and repackage it due to the gpl just keep consuming the market. So while Open and Free seem to serve the community, they actually favor the corporation rather than the underdog and/or the individual.

    As for Apple banning things. There is no reason why WordPress can't have both channels but have a marketplace by default so that same donations can unlock downloads.

    "But WordPress.org and the WordPress Foundation (which actually holds the "brand" of WordPress)". I heard that an I laughed. WordPress.com is the one piece that needs to be open but never will be regardless of who owns the trademark.

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