WordPress daddy Matt Mullenweg says the editor offered by drag-and-drop website-builder Wix.com “explicitly contravenes the GPL” (GNU General Public License) and “is built with stolen code, so your whole app is now in violation of the license.”
Mullenweg made that accusation, and plenty more, in a post that accuses Wix of having “copied WordPress without attribution, credit, or following the license.”
“Wix has always borrowed liberally from WordPress — including their company name, which used to be Wixpress Ltd,” Mullenweg writes, “but this blatant rip-off and code theft is beyond anything I’ve seen before from a competitor.”
The WordPress developer goes on to call for Wix to release its app under the GPL “so that we can all build on it, improve it, and learn from it.”
Wix CEO Avishai Abrahami responded with a post of his own in which he says “Yes, we did use the WordPress open source library for a minor part of the application (that is the concept of open source right?), and everything we improved there or modified, we submitted back as open source”.
Abrahami also says that Wix totally gets open source, so much so that it has 224 projects on GitHub.
Mullenweg's reply starts with that factoid, with this riposte:
Releasing other random open source projects doesn’t mean that you can violate the license of the editor code you distributed in your mobile apps.
He then points out that using any GPL code means all derivatives have to themselves be GPL-licensed and again calls on Abrahami to let the app's code loose.
There's also lots of sparring about business models, branding and other inside baseball matters for the web-building industry to digest.
But there's no mention of another prominent GPL dispute, namely Canonical's inclusion of CDDLv1-licensed ZFS with GPL-licensed Ubuntu. GNU guru Richard Stallman weighed in, obliquely suggesting that bundling ZFS and Linux is impossible. Debian's developers subsequently worked around objections to that arrangement by including source code only, rather than the pre-built kernel modules Ubuntu offers.
Mullenweg and Abrahami have resolved to settle their differences over coffee, as soon as possible. ®