Support » Fixing WordPress » Non-GPL plugins

  • What is the official stance of WordPress regarding non-GPL plugins and what should the stance of the WordPress community be?

    1) I’m talking about plugins such as WP Wishlist which charge for a license to use the software and are not released under the GPL, or a GPL compatible free software license.

    2) I’m aware that it is perfectly within the bounds of the GPL to charge for software, so long as the four freedoms of the GPL are preserved. However, these freedoms include the right to run the software (on as many domains as desired), the right to redistribute the software (with or without charge) and the right to modify and distribute modified versions of the software.

    3) According to GPL FAQ “If the program dynamically links plug-ins, and they make function calls to each other and share data structures, we believe they form a single program, which must be treated as an extension of both the main program and the plug-ins. This means the plug-ins must be released under the GPL or a GPL-compatible free software license, and that the terms of the GPL must be followed when those plug-ins are distributed.” [emphasis added]

    4) There is certainly no question of infringement, nor any wrong doing, in selling installation, customization, support or training services. I’m only talking about software (plugins).

    I am interested in hearing the views of the WordPress community on this issue. Perhaps you see it as immoral to flout the terms of the GPL by selling plugins? Or maybe it is an essential service, providing you with functionality that you couldn’t otherwise obtain. Others may even see it as irrelevant, “que sera sera” – whatever will be will be. What do you think?

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • whooami



    why do we care? why do people want to have philosophical conversations about crap thats not controllable.

    I need gas, and I have to pay for it — therefore I do.

    if it were free, I wouldnt.

    whats to discuss? what does it matter what the community thinks about gas prices or plugin prices?

    re: what “wordpress” thinks ..

    why do people continue to use the word “wordpress” like its a person thats going to come here and answer?

    It is a requirement that plugins be GPL in order to use and be listed in the plugin directory.

    there’s absolutely NO control over what someone does elsewhere.

    meanwhile another 100 2.8 blogs arent loading. 😛

    Ryan S


    you are correct Whooami. Wecantcontrol these things, so no need to discuss about it. Also, a programmer works hard in order to develop a plugin, so he can take a charge for that 🙂

    Except that WordPress is released as GPL and, as the recent WP Developmnt blog post points out, this carries into (infects, some people say) certain related software. IANAL and so I won’t go into whether plugins are covered by this requirement but to blithely say they are not is not a good way to end this thread :).

    I found an article with a legal analysis of the “plugins must be GPL’d” claim (written by lawyers for a change):

    It call such claims “absurd”. It’s a long article but it’s well worth a read.

    GPL does not require software be given away for free.

    A developer can sell a WP Plugin and still be within the terms of the GPL. If you copy and distribute it to all your friends, the developer can’t stop you (also part of the GPL). However that does NOT mean the developer has to give you the original copy for free. The can charge for the original copy of the software.

    So in short – you can sell people your plugin, but you can’t stop them from selling or giving it to someone else?

Viewing 6 replies - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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