The WordPress GPL Timeline


The GPL has been a hot button issue for some time. It’s interesting, for sure, but can be a bit tough to follow. It can be especially difficult to catch up on.

Toward the purpose of maintaining a definitive source for tracking back all notable GPL discussions, we at WPCandy have taken the time to assemble the following GPL timeline.

When/if a link was in question of inclusion, we err’d on the side of what was most interesting to read. There is plenty of incorrect information in these links. They are blogs, it would be impossible to find posts and comments that were all correct information. But the hope is that by reading through these (or by referring someone interested over to it) one could catch up on this whole GPL thing.

We assume we’ve missed some notable conversations and events, somewhere. What should be included that isn’t? Leave us links in the comments!

January 1989
Richard Stallman writes the first version of the GPL.

June 1991
Version 2 of the GPL is written.

May 2003
WordPress is released for the first time, under the GPL.

April 10, 2007
WPDesigner switches from Creative Commons to GPL.

July, 2007
Weblog Tools Collection takes a stand against sponsored themes.

September 15, 2007
Mark Jaquith comments on Movable Type going GPL.

November 1, 2007
The marketplace idea is discussed.

July 18, 2008
The new WordPress themes directory is opened.

September 8, 2008
Ian Stewart comments on the ethics of premium themes.

October 2008
Brian Gardner’s Revolution theme goes GPL

December 2008 removes hundreds of themes from the WordPress theme directory.

April 2009 goes GPL.

June 4, 2009
A WordCamp attendant’s comment thread is used to discuss the GPL.

June 11, 2009
iThemes goes GPL.

June 17, 2009
WooThemes goes GPL.

July 1, 2009
The GPL commercial theme page is added to the repository.

July 2, 2009
The Software Freedom Law Foundation rules themes are GPL.

October 2, 2009 goes GPL.

October 9, 2009
Q&A with Matt Mullenweg on the GPL.

July, 2010
The Thesis/GPL discussion reaches a peak.
Thesis goes split GPL.

April 30, 2012
GPLv3 and compatible plugins can be listed on

5 thoughts on “The WordPress GPL Timeline

  1. For the December 2008 portion of the time line, I believe it would be more accurate to state Matt Mullenweg removes hundreds of themes or at the very least, removes hundreds of themes.

  2. Very interesting timeline (a bit too “themes” inclined, maybe. There have been a few plugin detabe also (which I don’t remember, because I flee away in boredom every time I read something about licenses))

  3. Pingback: When is a Free WordPress Theme Really Free? Some Thoughts and Some Places to Find Them - WordPress, Multisite and BuddyPress plugins, themes, news and help –

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