GNU GPL license and it's benefits is a tricky topic to deal with and definitely better to spend your time making money than learning about licensing. However, if you're using WordPress, the GPL is important and should be understood. The GPL defines how both users and developers use WordPress. With that said, this quick guide covers everything you need to know about the GPL licenses associated with WordPress without a single reference to legal or overly complex language.
What to learn
By the end of the read, you will know what the GPL license is, why WordPress is properly licensed, how the GPL benefits both end-users and WordPress developers, and ultimately why you need “derivatives” of WordPress (such as themes and plugins).
What is GPL License
The general public license (GPL) is WordPress's free and open-source software license. This license was chosen because it supports the ideas behind the WordPress project and protects the rights of WordPress developers and users.
Ideas behind GNU GPL License
The GNU program was started in 1984. In 1989, Richard Stallman released the first GPL through the GNU program. Under the GPL, owners can also modify digital content. The GPL is widely used and is the most widely used free license to sell or distribute free copies of software covered by the GPL. To do so, Licensee must comply with certain terms of the GPL.
Benefit of GPL
The GPL best summarizes the four freedoms associated with the “free software” movement.
- Freedom to run the program for any purpose.
- The freedom to study how the program works and change it to make it work the way you want it to.
- You are free to redistribute copies to help your colleagues.
- Freedom to improve the program and publish improvements (and generally modified versions) for the benefit of the entire community.
Why is WordPress licensed under GPL
WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg is arguably one of the world's leading advocates of “free software“. He created WordPress.com with a clear mission to “democratize publishing”. The principles of the GPL mean a lot to him, and this has been proven over the years. Without the GPL, WordPress would not have reached this milestone. The world's most popular content management system has benefited from the contributions of literally thousands of people from inception to today in a way that proprietary software cannot.
Pros of GPL
The GNU Public License has a lot to offer consumers. To understand just how powerful the GPL is for software users, you only need to read Stallman's passionate prose about “ownership” of software and the good thing GPL has done for the world
Compare gpl and proprietary software's
For instance, Proprietary software, also known as non-free software or closed-source software, is computer software for which software publishers or others have specific license rights to use, modify, adapt, share, or distribute the software.
It also stated that if you share or change anything with your neighbor, it is a pirate, if needs be for you to change anything, you should contact them for review and they will implement therefore keeping users helpless for a minor change.
What changed after GPL
Since the inception of GNU GPL license and since the WordPress platform is offered under the General Public License. This means it is open and freely available for use by anyone who wishes to use it. The WordPress trademark is owned by the WordPress Foundation, a charitable organization formed with the mission of ensuring that you always have free access to the software. In other words, you always have full rights to use, copy and distribute what you are using today.
Cons of GPL
As an end-user, you will like and sing praises for GNU GPL license and it's benefits however, the main reason the average WordPress entrepreneur may react negatively to a full understanding of the GPL is its impact on business operations. After all, if the GPL gives you the freedom to use, modify, and distribute the “software (and any “derived” work), what do you mean by premium WordPress themes and plugins that can be called “derivatives” of WordPress?
Why you should join GPL as a developer
As a WordPress entrepreneur, it's easy to be wary of what the GNU GPL license and it's benefits can mean for your business, but actually observing the effects of the GPL is far more rewarding. It is a special marketing tool that allows developers to promote or market premium software. Any developer can upload and submit themes and/or plugins to the WordPress community for free and sell the premium software which is a win-win for both the end-user and the developer because once people find value in the free version of your product, they will be glad to pay for the premium version but don’t forget Your plugin [or theme] must be compatible with the GNU General Public License v2 or later.”
If you're wondering what GPL is before and how they work, I hope this post has answered all your questions! You know now why this is important as a user and what benefits you can get from a developer. Also, from a very ethical standpoint, there's a lot to love about the GPL. The WordPress license you choose demonstrates that you can create and distribute software in a completely transparent way, benefiting everyone and earning some money in the process. Isn't this everyone's victory? Even though I have premium software's from the author, GPL have helped in creating this blog and my ecommerce store and some of my online course which you can learn how to create one here
Thank you for reading, please let’s have your comment in the comment section…. SHALOM