Brilliant

brilliant.pngdear wordpress.com – when did you lose your mind?
I’ve had an about page since, oh, February 2006.
My domain expired in November (see previous post).
The only thing that’s changed between then and now?  Matt would have to hold a gun to my head for me to consider putting $10 towards wordpress.com.

Selling A GPL product is a bad idea

I would not think this sort of thing would need to be explained to someone like matt mullenweg. Here’s the comment I left on his blog, which will probably not make it past the great firewall of matt:

I think I’m missing something -
so I make this “killer” GPL, CSS only theme. you sell it for $50, on the premise that it’s not a generic XXL poncho (I know you said pink, but what you meant was gray with a blue hood). Immediately on release, any self-hosted blog can download it and install it themselves. Since it’s CSS-only, anyone on wordpress.com can pay for the CSS Upgrade and start using it. Suddenly it seems like my theme is another XXL poncho, and the guy who bought it trying to get a unique design is seriously screwed.
I must be thinking about this wrong.

It’s not that there aren’t perfectly valid revenue models based on the GPL. It’s just that this is the only one that isn’t. Once a GPL slice of code is released1. There are (very few) projects that actually sell GPL-ed code. X-chat for windows is the one that comes to mind. It works because compiling source code on windows is such a pain. The more viable methods of making money from GPL software include selling support2, and selling proprietary add-ons.

The way the latter option works with wordpress themes is that the underlying PHP has to be GPL, but the CSS can be any license. Matt, instead is looking for CSS-only, GPL themes. This gets extra bizarre in that any CSS-only theme can be implemented by anyone with the CSS upgrade. Since the themes are GPL, automattic can’t even legally suggest that they shouldn’t do that.

Designing premium themes is already a tough market. At least designers willing to handle the storefront themselves aren’t further hampered by having to open-source their graphics. Arpit is right to question the sensibility of such a marketplace, and Michael Martin reaches a similar conclusion.

  1. Meaning, once it’s been bought, but in this context, Matt is saying that it will also be made available to self-hosted users (back ↩)
  2. CSS support on wordpress.com is currently volunteer-only, staff refuse to touch it (back ↩)

Walk in the Shadows for WordPress.com

This CSS design is an experiment in layout. There are two sidebars stacked vertically. The second sidebar stacks horizonally, visually making 2 sidebars out of 1.  

Screenshot

Walk in the Shadows

Credits

A List Apart’s article on typesetting (followed to the letter because IE sucks)
Joen Asmussen’s brilliant idea about adding columns without touching the markup
Dezinerfolio’s web2.0 layer styles
KDE‘s Oxygen icons project
Datestamps inspired by the cover of Eero Saarinen, designed by CoDe Communication and Design

License

CC-GNU <acronym title='GNU General Public License'><span class='caps'><acronym title='GNU General Public License'><span class='caps'>GPL</span></acronym></span></acronym> This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; version 2 of the License.

Download

Walk in the Shadows CSS

Promised Land for WordPress.com

This design is a single column, fixed width theme, with 2 footer widget areas. 1 area contains 4 widgets that stack horizontally, the other area contains horizontal widgets that stack vertically. The main page highlights the first post, and shows the next 4 as links below the first.  

Screenshot

Promised Land Screenshot

Credits

Some abuse of a stock photo by Ryan Ford.
Based on “for elaine“, which became archGFX v02.

License

CC-GNU <acronym title='GNU General Public License'><span class='caps'>GPL</span></acronym> This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; version 2 of the License.

Creative Commons License

This design is dual-licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License. Where possible, please include a link to this page for attribution.

Installation

Select the Sandbox-10 theme (currently on page 4).  Then open the download link below, and copy the contents into the Edit CSS box, Making sure to check the “Start from scratch and just use this” box.

Download

Promised Land CSS
 

This is the last time, I swear

There’s no reason I should still be posting about wordpress.com. I guess I’m just annoyed that I ever thought it was a good place to blog/journal/post. The exclusion of anyone who’s not a child or a christian has reached a fever pitch. They’ve just released the following guidelines ((taken to their logical extreme, with commentary)):

  • No inappropriate titles. Do we suppose this means that if you’re posting about the really hot sex you had last night, you should make sure the title is “fluffy kittens for everyone”?
  • No profanity or nudity. This means that my cuss-like-a-sailor-because-it-makes-people-respond-not-just-think-about-it tactic is definitely outlawed. I hate to think what it means for ICHC.
  • No extraneous categories. I’m sure my 2.0 category was causing serious consternation. let alone “cult-of-matt”. In fact, only the officially sanctioned categories are allowed. Anything else and you’ll be relegated to the dustbin, because then you won’t drive traffic to our ad-laden tag pages.
  • And really, you should only post to one category at a time. nevermind that wordpress.com categories can’t be used as categories, since the links lead out of your blog. if you use categories as tags (meta information), you’re definately going to be banned

Basically, if you’re not an aspiring member of the web 2.0 a-list-aspiring echo chamber, you’re not welcome on wordpress.com. fantastic. glad i left. now I’m off to find the 11 most relevant tags for this post.