Syn-thesis 3: Switchers

The biggest after-effect of the Thesis license violation episode seems to be raising people’s awareness of alternatives that are both fully GPL and have better functionally too. One theme that seems to be picking up a ton of new users is Genesis. We helped Laughing Squid and Paul Stamatiou make the switch, but Chris Brogan joined the party completely independently. (All formerly in the Thesis showcase. Scobleizer switched a while back.) I’m excited about this because I think Genesis is a better theme, particularly for its advanced support of WordPress functionality like child themes. (Child themes are the only way you should build your site on top of a framework.)

Even though Thesis has done the bare minimum not to be sued for its license violation and the code it copy/pasted from WordPress, lots of folks including myself still have a bad taste in their mouths from the episode, since there was no apology or contrition shown (like a donation to the WordPress Foundation, which would be a drop in the bucket compared to the millions Thesis made while breaking the GPL). But I think it’s best to focus on the positive.

There is a linkbait from a Thesis affiliate going around asking if I favor certain commercial themes — absolutely yes! Is that a controversial question? Themes WordPress lists on its commercial page go above and beyond bare compliance with the GPL and are full members of the community, sometimes even becoming active in core development like WooThemes has done. As a business, I would feel a lot more comfortable building my online presence on a real enterprise like Woo, StudioPress, iThemes, and many more rather than a one-man-against-the-world operation, regardless of how good its marketing is, or how many affiliates it has.

For Automattic’s part, our theme team has been taking the opportunity to update our blogs stuck on Cutline and Pressrow, which were abandoned by Chris years ago and don’t support any of WordPress’s new features. The first iteration of this is Coraline which is aesthetically is similar to Cutline but under the hood is way better, with multiple layout and sidebar options, color schemes, custom background, per-post custom headers, gallery and asides support, and a few other bonuses. (Unfortunately, the switch had a bug that broke widgets for some sites, but that’s being fixed. We’ll avoid that when switching Pressrow.) A lot of this was kicked off before DIYThemes dodged litigation, but it’s important to continue because we’re building better themes for users who honestly shouldn’t worry about this stuff, they should just have theme that’s current, flexible, functional, and beautiful.

112 thoughts on “Syn-thesis 3: Switchers

  1. I switched to Genesis as a result of the “episode” and could not be happier. I have already delivered 4 new client projects all on Genesis and am loving the flexibility and functionality. While I am disappointed in the way Chris handled himself, I am delighted to have seen the truth and able to find a wonderful new framework for our company. Thank you Matt for a great push forward and focus on the positives that came out of this.

  2. I love WordPress, and I love Thesis. I want to support everything you’re saying Matt, and I hope we can do this without alienating all the thesis users who genuinely love WP. My business is based on thesis, and while I wouldn’t follow thesis if it left WordPress, it would be harder for me to earn a living without it.

    1. I would honestly say that I have even greater confidence in my business in moving to Genesis. Of course there is a bit of a learning curve, but now I am very happy and feel I have much better flexibility. Plus, creating child themes is a great approach and very easy to do with a little learning. Good luck and I look forward to seeing the progress.

  3. Thanks Matt – the funny thing is, all you did was offer those publishers the ‘option’ to switch, the ‘thesis affiliate’ in question is making it sound like your holding a gun to their head.

    They didn’t have to take up your offer – anyone on the .org software is free to use ANY theme they wish.

    Now his complaining about removing Cutline from .com, you’re simply doing whats best for your community. You think people forget that .com is a commercial project. They’re not forced to use it and can move their blog at any time.

    If its unethical to change themes on YOUR commercial site, I’ll let Facebook know next time they change their design.

    1. Lots of people do let Facebook know when they dislike their new designs. :) It is a very fair point that the transition on .com didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped, there was a giant glaring bug that snuck past testing and we’re having to clean it up.

  4. Hi Matt,

    Your comment about the “one-man-against-the-world operations” effectively discounts single developers trying to do something great, while preferring “real enterprises like Woo…” That’s a little disheartening as a plugin developer (fully GPL) who has no partners in his crime.

    My hope was that a great product might turn into a “real enterpise” at some point. Many one-man operations go on to become “real enterprises”.

    While you are correct that frequently the safest thing is to go with “real enterprises”, I hope that the WordPress community will still give the “one-man” shop a chance to prove himself as worthy or not.

    I have no experience with the “one-man” shop in question in your post, so my comments should not to be taken as an endorsement of Thesis.

    As this is my first comment directed to you (I think), I would like to end on a positive note…quite simply, thanks for helping make the web and web development accessible to me and many others! I’m proud to be a WP’er.

    Byron

    1. Byron, the cool thing is that when you are a developer in the WordPress community, you’re never alone! You’re building on and with the work of thousands that have come before you. This is the whole point, that you get a lot and give a little, and that your users will enjoy the same freedom that you did if they ever choose to build something. It’s completely natural to be aligned with the platform you’re building on, which is why exceptions to that in the WordPress community have been so rare.

      If you ever need a code audit or want some feedback on your plugin since you’re fully GPL drop me an email and I’ll pass it to one of the core devs to take a look at. You’re lone but not alone. :)

      1. Thanks for the reply.

        Everyone’s probably felt like that that one-man-against the world when your support forum feels like you’re one guy with a bucket fighting a California wild fire. But then someone from the community reaches out to help…man, that’s why you keep going.

        For the benefit of my users, I will take you up on your offer.

        Cheers,
        Byron

      2. Matt, I’d like to take you up on this in the future. Before that, I want to get the next round of coding done, go through my brand new purchased copy of WordPress/Ajax ebook, and make sure I’m following as many best practices I can find (e.g., Ozh’s plugin recommendations).

        Security is a overriding concern.

        I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, especially my own.

        Since I’m making the transition from “real” programming (c/c++ :), I don’t expect too much trouble once I master the web application model.

        I’ll write all it up, of course.

  5. No offense Matt, but shouldn’t it be up to the individual user to decide what theme to use on their site? Ultimately I understand that WordPress.com is yours to do with what you wish, but if a user is happy using Cutline or PressRow, who are you to tell them they can no longer use it?

    1. John, unfortunately the presence of Cutline and Pressrow (and Thesis used by one VIP) on WP.com has been pointed to as an endorsement of Thesis by Automattic, which is not something we want to portray. You wouldn’t believe how many people contacted me saying that they assumed that DIYThemes was above-board because Chris’ Cutline theme was promoted so heavily on .com. (I liked Cutline a lot, so we brought it on early before all of this stuff got started. Actually we commissioned Chris and Brian to do some tutorial videos when they were Tubetorial, so the relationship was good.) Ultimately this means that our users are getting a better theme with more options that is going to be updated more frequently, which is hard to argue against. It’s always a little bit painful to deprecate code, but it’s worth it in the long run. Also, of course, anyone can run whatever they like on WordPress.org.

  6. While this list is great, I think most developers will opt to choose split license (i.e. images, fonts, etc. are licensed while the PHP is GPL), especially if they create the artwork from scratch.

    I will check out these developers though, although I’m not sure if they will be able to convince me to defect away from Nick Roach’s work on Elegant Themes.

    PS

    Has WordPress listed any BuddyPress themes of late? Or will you consider listing premium BuddyPress themes if they are 100% GPL?

    1. Darnell, “most developers” have already chosen to go 100% GPL, including the biggest guys in the space. There are 2-3 that aren’t yet, including Thesis, which is pretty good when you consider how many companies there are in the premium theme market. (I believe Elegant Themes are all GPL.)

      1. In fact, the license style for Elegant Themes is the same as the new terms for Thesis. GPL for the php and js but not graphics, css etc. In other words “bare compliance with the GPL”

        In comparison all the elements of StudioPress themes like Genesis are under GPL.

  7. Already looked at Thesis, now I’ll look at Genesis.

    In reference to your comment on child themes being the best route for building on top of WordPress frameworks….This makes a lot of sense to me. I actually tried to push through a crappy theme using Twenty Ten as a base and was told that it should be made into a child theme for Twenty ten. I agree and I am now doing that. I love WordPress 3.0 and all it’s capabilities. I thank all involved for your hard work. If I every make any money I will be thanking you, like everyone should be, with the moolah!

  8. Matt, yes; I believe it was a missed opportunity for Chris to render some contrition. It is good that you have chosen essentially to move forward from the whole ordeal.

    Of all three WordPress sites that I’ve designed, each of them has been built on the StudioPress/Genesis/Platinum theme. I really like Brian’s supportive and knowledgeable staff; they go the extra mile.

    What I’m trying to do — after a long career in print — is to learn how to design websites that incorporate WordPress as a CMS. The next step for me is to learn how to better work with WordPress, Genesis/Platinum, and — for me — MAMP. Have you ever written about working with WordPress and MAMP/WAMP using a theme like Genesis?

    Thank you again, Matt. I’ve yet to really explore Headway, but hope to do so soon.

    Doug

  9. I added a link to your response in my post nice to see you cant even use my name and refer to me as a “thesis affiliate” way to keep it classy.

    1. Howdy Michael — I didn’t chose to include your link in the post (and removed it from this comment) because I didn’t think it actually added anything to this post, as its content is covered already, and because you’ve been promoting it in a way that makes me suspect it was written mostly as linkbait, which I don’t want to reward. You’ve tweeted it at least 15 times today, and as an SEO guy your site should be easy to find, so I’m sure anyone who wants to read it can.

      Also, I recognize your name because every time there’s a new release of WordPress you @reply me saying how terrible WP is and how it sucks to have to keep upgrading, and every time I reply that I’d be happy to personally help get your blog set up so it’s easy to upgrade, or even put it on an auto-upgrade. Please take me up on that one of these days, it was a serious offer and you won’t have to complain about upgrading anymore.

      1. so you didn’t link to me, edited the bit.ly link out and changed where the link to my name points? Holy cow man do you have issues or are you hiding from the truth …

        the way you act right no is so dishonorable there is no way I’d trust you to do anything other than kick someone who was lying face down in a pool of blood in the gutter

      2. Your link appears the same as a previous commenter, I’m guessing there was either a caching issue. If you email me where you’d like the link to go I’ll update your previous comment, but after the “blood in the gutter” comment I don’t plan to approve any of your future comments, so it’d be best to keep that stuff on your own blog.

      3. Just curious as to why you edited the link on Graywolf’s name to go to some other random dude’s site? Not only is it childish, but I’m sure the other dude wouldn’t appreciate you insinuating he is the person who commented on this…

      4. As I replied above, that was the link that was there when I moderated the comment, I don’t know why but I’m happy to update it.

  10. On the purely anecdotal side, seems like every time I compare numbers of users logged into the StudioPress support forums vs some of the other premium themes I work with they’ve usually got about 3x the number of some of the others. Makes me think StudioPress is pretty popular compared to their competition.

  11. Interesting to see Matt Cutts of Google being showcased as a Thesis user.

    I’m curious to know what Google’s view is on this employee’s implicit endorsement of a product given the license violations and his SEO credibility.

    I assume Google are pretty hot keeping straight on open source and GPL?

  12. I have been using Hybrid with a new client, I like that is free and it uses child themes which after using I can see the power in them.

    My site is on Thesis and I am not looking forward to switching :( I really hope things work out with Thesis.

    P.S. How did you add a spell check on the bottom of this comment?

    What theme are you using Matt?

    1. Deyson, the switch might be a bit of work short-term but it’s a good long-term investment as you’ll be on a framework which is more closely aligned with the WordPress community, which means you’ll get new features and functionality more frequently.

      I use After the Deadline for spell-check here using a plugin called “After The Deadline for Comments” that Otto wrote. The theme here is custom.

      1. Hello Matt, sounds like good advice.

        I have a four questions:

        1. Should I stick with Hybrid? I like the fact that it is free, and it has great support, but before I make the huge jump I want to make sure I make the right jump.

        2. Where should I look for help or tutorials on how to make the switch? I used everything Thesis had to offer from Custom Function Hooks to Custom CSS.

        3. One thing Thesis really sells is that their Theme has strong SEO optimization, is that something I will loose out on by switching?

        4. Do you think Thesis may switch to a full license? I would hate to spend time switching and also loose out on the developer license I paid for. :(

        Thank you.

      2. I’ve heard great things about Hybrid, and I’m a fan of Justin. You’ll find that theme and many others have markup and SEO benefits as good or better than the ones Thesis claims, and I’ve heard there’s a plugin coming out very soon to transfer all your Thesis SEO settings to one of the SEO plugins. (Which work across themes.) As for tutorials, maybe someone else can share a link there.

  13. Hmmm… did I miss Syn-thesis 2? Not finding that one. I’m trying to stay abreast of what’s happening on this topic (and had actually read most of the pages linked to in this post before I saw syn-thesis 3).

    Matt – I’m curious if you’re still working through a backlog from Syn-thesis 1 (not trying to rush a response, just wondering if there is a queue)?

    Good to hear that the Coraline issues are being worked through, by the way.

  14. You couldn’t just say “I am glad Thesis finally switched. I wish it could have worked out without all the back and forth, but look at this cool thing we did” ?

    Seems like you really want people to join you in taking a stand and even go so far as to say that there should be punishment for not going GPL…

    I’ve met you and think you are great, but it is comments like this that really bother me.

    Kudos on Coraline though. Great looking theme, and a nice name.

    1. If I thought they switched because they actually agreed with WordPress’ license, or WordPress at all, I would have been a lot happier than if it seemed like they were just trying to dodge a lawsuit. It wasn’t even announced on their site. (Neither was the security breach.)

      1. A win, even a minor one is worth celebrating, and my comment had more to do with positive community appearance than personal happiness.

        I really want to see everyone get along as good as possible, and I just am worried that “twisting the knife” so to speak won’t create any positive benefit for you, the community, the software or developers.

        I’d rather see you revel in your small victory. :)

      2. In fairness, an email explaining and apologizing for the security breach was sent to all registered users of Thesis.

        Announcing it publicly doesn’t really make sense since it had no impact on the general public.

        I think you can make pretty good arguments for and against publicly stating something about the license change. Its great link bait, and would generate some good will, but would also be basically saying “hey come steal my php please”.

  15. Wow, Matt, I didn’t see that coming – although I heartily agree. I spent about a year trying different frameworks, and it was pretty much a tossup. I was already using Studio Press’s “classic” (non-framework) themes on a number of sites, but was trying every new framework in the flurry late last year and early this year. I’m overjoyed that StudioPress got into the framework business, and has retrofitted it’s best classics as child things. I’m working exclusively with Genesis now, although I still pay attention to what’s going on in the other companies. I’ve got a wishlist of tweaks, but it’s solid. I do like the clean feel of Thesis, but I’m really having to just put the fee for the developer’s license down as “tuition” in my WP career school. Genesis is putting food on the table.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey Jon, glad to hear you’re being fed by way of Genesis. Please feel free to contact me with that wishlist of tweaks, as we are always open to user feedback!

  16. You have to admit that it all seems a bit too… coincidental.

    You’ve got a problem with Thesis, and suddenly you’re doling out theme help to private sites who don’t use the .com platform as well as creating themes that are strikingly similar to themes that normally have been run on Thesis?

    It all seems very childish. Maybe it was in the works before the whole issue with the GPL and such. But, I’ve always thought that one coincidence is just that. Several all lined up, however takes planning.

    1. Thatedeguy, as I said in the post we kicked off a number of projects when the whole issue first flared up, some of which are still ongoing. Ultimately I think that the WordPress community working together is creating much, much better alternatives to Thesis. When a user picks a “split license” theme they’re at the mercy of the whims of that developer, since without graphics, CSS, and Javascript most themes would not be very useful. (Could you imagine using WordPress with images, CSS, or JS? What a terrible experience.)

  17. We do all our work via child themes and Thesis / Genesis. Both frameworks support child themes just fine.

    Your remark on the lack of an apology is laughable. Where is your apology?

    1. Danny, Chris doesn’t have to apologize for anything. I just suggested it to him in a private chat as a way to patch up the huge gulf his comments and actions created with the broader WordPress community. As other comments pointed out, if he had adopted the GPL fully he would have gotten a ton of fantastic press, promotion from WordPress.org, kudos from me, and more from it.

      As for child themes — you probably know more about Thesis than I do, but my reading of the code looks like child themes are basically impossible because Thesis tries to bypass all of the normal loading of templates and such, which makes it impossible to overload bits and pieces of a parent without basically redoing the whole thing. That’s why he has the “custom.css” and “custom_functions.php” hacks. Contrast this to the Genesis approach with is very WordPress-native. (Which means it’s slightly faster, too.) You can just overwrite Genesis with the latest version and all of your child themes are untouched. There is a lot of this in the theme, like how it uses postmeta for per-post custom more text instead of the built-in WP tag.

      1. The Thesis child themes we build remain untouched when you upgrade Thesis just the same as the Genesis ones do.

        With Thesis 1.8 it is possible to replace the loops as well which brings it in line with the capabilities one has with Genesis.

        Each framework has some things the other doesn’t but looking at both from a global perspective they offer pretty much the same things to a developer.

        And I am still waiting on YOUR apology. You spewed insults and baseless accusations around during all this countless times and you never apologized yet you expect Chris to apologize to you?

  18. Matt, it is great to see more and more users switching to Genesis. I personally love Genesis and recommend all of WPBeginner users to use Genesis / StudioPress. We are trying to support Genesis development by releasing free child themes for it :)

    1. It would be a big move, totally unprecedented, and probably the only thing (after an apology) that would heal the rift with WordPress he created by disrespecting the community in the Mixergy interview, tweets, and elsewhere. Would it make me happy? Probably not, I’m a bit more stubborn and really burned by the things he said to me and to Jane. But for the majority of the community I think they’d bury the hatchet, and if he was 100% GPL we would be able to promote him on WordPress.org. A donation would be icing on the cake, being fully GPL and an apology I think are more important.

      1. I think the majority of the community already has buried the hatchet and moved on. I wish you would do the same.

        Let Chris do his thing. He’s not infringing on the WordPress license anymore and go back to doing what you do… making WordPress great.

  19. For an Instance I thought Thesis and WordPress issue is solved but one thing is for sure the whole #thesiswp saga left a big impact somewhere and this will not end like this….

  20. Mine was one of the blogs that was automatically switched from Cutline without my knowledge, and resulted in broken widgets. Needless to say I was surprised and unhappy at this.
    I don’t like Coraline and was thinking of switching to Pressrow but reading the above it seems that if I do then the self same thing will happen again soon!
    I think that the way WordPress handled this abrupt change was frankly poor and I hope that if there’s a next time then it will be a different story.

    1. Flighty, you’re completely right that the widget thing was botched — it was a mistake. Of course we would never deliberately remove your widgets, I know what a pain they are to get set up. If your blog hasn’t been fixed already, contact support and they can bump you up the queue. (There were a couple of hundred thousand, so the fix is taking a while to go through.)

      1. I’m frankly disappointed with your comment as you’ve not responded to two of my points at all!
        If Pressrow is being deleted as well then why is it still being shown as an available theme? It’s one that I may well have chosen to change to had I not read this post!
        Your lack of a response to my last point I consider to be discourteous.
        You deliberately changed my blog theme abruptly and without notification which you apparently think was acceptable, which it certainly wasn’t.
        Sadly because of this blogging on WordPress has now become far less enjoyable, and seemingly a lot more uncertain.

  21. Matt… I used to tolerate your capriciousness by thinking “well, he’s young.” But you’re not any more.

    Time to grow up. Whatever you think about Pearson, you need to give it up and move on. Pulling people’s themes, on which they may have significant amounts of custom css work, was wrong. You could have deprecated the theme with far more grace and dignity.

    Don’t rule by fear…it’s rather nasty. You’re better than that.

    1. If it makes you feel any better, I had to look up capriciousness. The theme team gave a lot of thought to the custom CSS issue, which is why they did the blog post and emailed all Cutline users with custom CSS before the switch, and we’ve been helping out people one-by-one if they need it.

  22. Thanks for the shout-out Matt and helping me move over! While I have yet to really dig into Genesis I am loving the child themes. Makes it super easy to separate all of my customizations.

    I just finished switching my blog to TypeKit like yours too. I had been using the Droid Sans and (Serif for my blockquotes) from Google Webfonts but they never got around to fixing a cut-off descenders issue plaguing Windows users so I would always get bug reports about it. Happy to report that cut-off descenders are no more with TypeKit. I’ll just have to upgrade from my personal plan soon.. going to blow through that 50k pageviews limit soon.

    1. Hey Paul,

      What child theme are you using or do you have something custom going on? I’ve been planning a theme move for about 18 months, to improve performance and take advantage of new WP hooks/functions, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I did buy a license to Thesis back when my hunt started, but the custom hooks combined with issues reported on their forums held me back from making a change.

      Regarding hosting, I see you’re on MT(ve). I’m still on the grid, which unfortunately runs me $100+/mo given my usage and the shared server has led to two hacks in 9 months. Still hoping Matt offers a not-quite-VIP WP hosting option one of these days. I’d rather give him $150/mo to keep me up and safe. (VaultPress has been pretty intense on my shared server space with overages billed based on cpu usage, so I’ve disabled it for now.)

  23. I love Genesis by StudioPress and Canvas that Woothemes has also makes a great starting point for theme customization, that said I think this whole pissing match got way out of hand and I can’t wait for it to be forgotten and put on the back shelf so everyone can move on :)

  24. One thing that this whole experience really highlights that wasn’t much talked about was the whole “people who know what that all meant” versus “business people who didn’t much care and just wanted something useful.”

    I say that without sarcasm, but with a marketer’s insights into what was also at play here.

    A lot of your write up summarizes what brought me to my ultimate decision. I want to be supportive of the WP community. I have been to WordCamp (before I knew what it really was about, so I have to go again and be more on topic), and I’ve used WP in many forms for several years now.

    I also wanted to support some people (I have other premium themes now in my deck of cards) that seemed to have a more collaborative mindset around the larger community.

    But the biggest thing that was missing from the whole back and forth was some really simple non-church (if you take my meaning) talk about the impact to a business person.

    “Because it’s the right thing to do” never really sells people on this. I got into it with the designer community because I used 99designs.com for a logo project, but all the arguments were church and not really a great way to help me understand why I should pay $5000 instead of $300.

    As a businessperson, my ultimate decision to move chrisbrogan.com onto Genesis lined up like this:

    1.) I wanted a community-forward company.
    2.) I wanted a company without the shadow of a future legal issue.
    3.) I wanted a framework I could grow with.
    4.) I wanted to be able to sell it if I liked it.

    I’m also going to use the Standard theme and a few more premium themes in the near future, partly because I wanted to be sure not to get stuck in a “I only have one premium theme vendor” rut again.

    So, I’m leaving this vast comment to say, “Hey, thanks for the post,” to say, “when developer communities have wars, it’s got to be communicated in business speak, if you want people to move in your favor,” and finally, “I can catch a monkey.”

    Thanks, Matt. See you around the web. :)

    1. You’re sure it has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the fact that you are in business with Brian Clark?

      1. I’m not in business with Brian Clark, in fact he was a part-owner of DIYthemes until a few days ago, as the Technosailor article I linked above mentions.

    2. My first blog post on the Thesis issue attempted to address things in a way that many business users would understand with an emphasis on “Pissing in the WordPress well” rather than looking at legal issues.
      The WordPress developers clearly intended to have the license interpreted in a particular way and made that clear for a long period of time.

      Incidentally I looked at the current package for Cutline distributed by Splashpress Media, and it very clearly has a Creative Commons license.

      My most recent post on this issue covered the differences between GPL and CC licensing, and how a business owner isn’t bound by GPL unless they are distributing, whereas CC covers display.

      That is important for a business owner – they can be forced to link which creates a footprint that can be targeted for spam and hacking and it can be a leak both from a SEO and visitor perspective.

      Also a little more specific, Thesis 1.7 seems to have at least 1 CC licensed image in the package from FamFamFam.

  25. I use wordpress, thesis & genesis. I don’t care if one developer is hated. I don’t care if he isn’t “embracing the community concept”. All I care is that I my site(s) are easy to develop.

    I read this several times before I decided to leave a comment.

    It becomes more and more evident that this is a ego trip for Matt ( and some would say Chris too). Am I to understand that Matt, as the mouth piece for Automatic Inc, is now giving “sanctions” towards another developer that caved in to the community pressure when he accepted some sort of GPL on his work product? So now there needs to be some kind of “donation” made to resolve the ongoing attack against Thesis? Do we need a set of lawyers to draft some kind of agreement that Matt/Automatic can be abide to once a “donation” is made? When does the madness stop?

    I realize that Matt and company, staff, supporters and etc. have claimed to take the moral & ethical high road, but this seems to be lower than the sludge in the bottom of Lake Travis (for all the Austin, Texas residents.) I have to question the all of Matt’s comments regarding uniting the wordpress community.

    When is enough Matt? I guess it just proves their are bullies in every culture.

    p.s. From what I can tell.. Thesis is far from a one man show.

    1. As I’ve clarified in several comments, I think for the larger community an apology and full embrace of the GPL license would be more meaningful than a donation. The Foundation doesn’t need the money.

      1. I echo the thoughts of other comments.. this is just over the top and childish behavior.

        When do you, Matt & Automatic, bury the hatchet? Hold a personal grudge. Dislike the guy. Don’t send him a Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaz card. But to continue this tirade is a injustice to all the community supporters.

        Enough is enough and moving on seems to be what the “community” wants.

  26. Thanks Matt!

    I know this is not theme related comment.

    I consider closed licensing a poison that only brings down development and innovation.

    I recently changed the closed license I was using on my premium event management plugin BACK to the GPL license.

    Why did it go from a GPL license to a closed license and back to GPL?

    Earlier this year I brought on someone that was supposed to help me manage and support the plugin I worked so hard to create over the course of a year and half. Upon bringing this person on board, he demanded that we needed a closed license.

    After about a week of going back and forth about licensing and leaving it GPL vs closed, I finally agreed to a closed license. This just didn’t feel right at all, because the plugin I was selling was built upon a free platform and a community of like minded individuals. It got so bad, that after a few weeks I started losing interest in the development of the project I used to love so much.

    Adding to that, the other person was constantly pressuring me to get the plugin finished and giving me deadlines for a launch date etc. I soon realized that this person was only interested in making money and cared nothing about the WordPress community or my interests. Things just kept getting worse until our relationship became so toxic that we ended up parting ways.

    I am now back into developing my plugin under the GPL, and loving every minute of it! I finally released my Event Espresso plugin (a premium event registration and management sytem) for WordPress. So far everyone who has purchased a support license is please with the results.

    I look forward to seeing you later this month in Salt Lake City for WordCamp Utah.

    Thanks again!!

    Seth Shoultes

    P.S.
    Just wanted to say thanks for giving us WordPress, props for going head-to-head with Chris Pearson, and clarifying what the GPL means for the rest of us. Keep up the good work!

  27. I have been a big fan of Brian Gardner’s work since before Revolution became StudioPress.

    The Genesis framework is a wonderful foundation for any site and scored highest (beating Thesis) when Aaron Brazell did his exhaustive comparison of all 4 leading frameworks back in April.

    It has continued to improve and yesterday’s 1.3 release is particularly good, benefiting from a full security review by Mark Jaquith and an SEO audit by Greg Boser.

    My only disappointment with Genesis is that they never got around to fulfilling their original vision of providing a separate marketplace where any theme designer could sell GPL-licensed child-themes designed to work on top of Genesis.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have come across a beautiful theme on, say, ThemeForest, only to read the user discussion and realise that the code under the hood is garbage or that the designer is extremely slow to update his code to work with the latest version of WordPress.

    How I wish that, even without a marketplace, Brian had found a way to go all out and establish Genesis as a standard, found a way to persuade the thousands of theme designers out there to let his framework carry the code load.

    1. Thanks Donnacha, you always have such nice things to say about StudioPress – I continue to appreciate that.

      To clarify the StudioPress theme marketplace – we came to a point where we began to take a few folks “in house” and offer their designs up on the actual StudioPress site.

      At the same time, my good friend Jason Schuller announced his concept for a full WordPress theme marketplace at ThemeGarden.com – at that point, we decided instead of competing with him in a sense, we’d direct all folks who wanted to create Genesis child themes to submit them for sale there.

      Jason was preparing the infrastructure for that, so it made sense to support him, rather than build our own and compete.

  28. Matt – Can you help me understand where you stand on plugins that do the “bare minimum” regarding the GPL? I am confused as Thesis and Headway are both partially and I believed legitimately GPL, by excluding CSS, JS, images etc. Why is this worse than say the Scribe Plugin that has a non-GPL SaaS component? Is it OK for plugins to be partially GPL? Scribe was in the WordPress plugin directory despite it’s useful core being proprietary and outside the GPL. Please would you clarify. Thanks
    Liz

    1. It’s hard to make a blanket statement for plugins because they really have to be looked at case-by-case. The plugin system was designed to integrate external systems, and there certainly are remote services that can provide functionality difficult or impossible to duplicate locally. (Akismet comes to mind.) So without reviewing Scribe it’s hard to say. As for the plugin directory, we only allow GPL or compatible code and files in there, so even if it ties to an external service the plugin itself is Free Software.

      1. The Scribe plugin for WordPress has always beem fully GPL. The service itself works via an API from our servers, which as Matt says is impossible to duplicate locally (much like Akismet).

        It’s important to note that while Scribe for WordPress is a very important part of the service for us and our subscribers, it’s really a web-based service first that also integrates with the WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla CMS platforms as an alternative to Scribe Web.

        Hope this helps.

  29. Matt, you seem like a really great guy and I would add myself to the already very large number of people who congratulate you for how appropriately you have acted in this situation.

    Hopefully in an astute economic way, Chris will economically decide that the best thing on an economic and systemic level is to switch to GPL. Systemically. :D

    I only have a basic knowledge of open-source licenses but when I first started to study and research it I was blown away by the whole concept, and like you I truly believe it is the best way to produce software for all parties involved, at least in most cases. It’s a shame it looks like you are being forced to take action that you don’t really want to take, so I wish you all the best with it however things turn out.

  30. I’ve been a client of StudioPress for almost a year. As soon as Genesis was released I jumped on it. It’s a fantastic set up because and I couldn’t be happier with their work.

  31. I’m currently a Thesis user. I’m not an affiliate.

    If it weren’t for Thesis, I probably wouldn’t have shifted from Movable Type to WordPress. Thesis made that move easier for me. I think Thesis did that for a number of people and helped build the WordPress community even more.

    Shortly after I blogged about making the change on my personal blog at Daggle (I won’t link, because I don’t want this caught in a spam filter), Matt came along and left a cryptic comment about GPL, asking if it was GPL.

    That was fairly disingenuous. Matt clearly knew it wasn’t, in his opinion. So why ask? My view is that it was a snarky way to poke at Thesis without actually explaining what his issue was.

    Since he didn’t explain himself, I had to go look up and discover that there was some dispute over this issue, which was very hard for someone who’s not up on GPL to figure out. Certainly there wasn’t any particular resolution that I could see. Rather, there seemed to be a lot of yelling on both sides.

    Above, Andrew asked about Matt Cutts and his use of Thesis. I doubt Google would express a view on what Matt does on his personal blog, since it is his personal blog. Keep in mind that Matt doesn’t use Google’s own Blogger tool. What he does personally is pretty much his own business.

    I know Matt fairly well, and I suspect he’s not any more happier than I am to have found himself in the middle of a WordPress-Thesis spat. I think he indicated recently that he might be leaving, with the dispute being part of that. I won’t link, because I again don’t want to get in a spam filter.

    Matt’s currently on vacation at the moment, so don’t expect him to wade in soon. If at all.

    Certainly the recent flare up had me feeling uneasy. I didn’t like feeling I was somehow guilty by association in Matt’s view — which influences the greater WordPress view — because I used Thesis.

    It was with great relief that I read the news that apparently things had all been settled. I could keep on using the software (I think of it as software, not a theme) that made WordPress great for me.

    So today’s news is a giant step backwards, an unfortunate one. Matt, if there were all these things you also wanted Thesis to do, an apology or a donation, gosh — I sure wish the laundry list would have been put out there at the beginning.

    Certainly it felt like you had won what you wanted. Is bare minimum not as good as compliance. Do you have themes that are doing something beyond what the GPL whatever you have require?

    I think more important, if you want to occupy the high ground in all this, a post that’s essentially telling people to bail on Thesis, complaining that you didn’t get an apology etc. isn’t the way to go. And it’s disingenuous to say within such a negative post that you want to keep the focus on the positive.

    I love that there are apparently other themes that are like Thesis which extend WordPress in ways that aren’t really “theme-like” to me but with functionality. I recently discovered Standard Theme. It’s nice to hear about Genesis. Make a page and list all of these somehow as being unique and different than what I’d consider “look” themes.

    As for Thesis, I think we’ve got it. You’ve got a big stubborn issue with them. Move past it. And move past it in the same way you’ve suggest that people should move past your hosting of thousands of spam pages on WordPress back in 2005.

    You dismissed all that as a past mistake, something you didn’t consider spam (despite having been part of a web spam working group).

    Google forgave you. Heck, Matt Cutts could be coming under fire about why he’s using a blogging platform that so severely gamed Google (and was banned by Google for a short period) because of that. You have a huge community that also turned out to give you support, that made up excuses on your behalf, some of who even said what the heck, if it was what you had to do to make money to support WordPress, so be it.

    If you could get all that forgiveness, it would be nice to see you do the same in relations with Thesis, if they’ve done what they’re supposed to do. And move on with things.

    If Thesis isn’t doing what you think they should do, then fine, stick to your ground.

  32. The Agent theme from StudioPress was my first theme ever when I discovered WordPress. And just as I started to wonder if Thesis could perhaps be a better choice, the “episode” came and that was Thesis’ undoing for me right there.

    Matt is exactly right, it wouldn’t cross my mind to base our website on a “one-man-against-the-whole-world” business either.

  33. Thanks Matt. This Thesis licensing issue brings to the fore a very important issue; ethics. Besides all the legalities regarding licensing there is also an ethical obligation by both individuals and businesses and I cannot see Thesis being ethical in it’s coding/business practices.

  34. We were using Thesis to power our site for about a year, but then even with all the upgrades we began to find it way too restrictive for what we were trying to do. At the time there weren’t that many themes offering the extensibility / child themes etc. The only one at the time was Sandbox, which was good, but not quite what we wanted as we wanted a very design-led site. In the end we abandoned Thesis and created out own theme from instead. It was quite hard after all the work and customisation that went into it, but with our new theme we can really do what we want to do and love the fact that with custom fields etc, we can really make WordPress sing. Thesis will be missed, but it was at times worrying with the nature of the affiliate links and the fact that nobody was really 100% sure the legality of the theme and its compliance to the GPL.

  35. I’m trying to catch up here – and should say that because I believe in paying for work – at least when I can afford it, I’m a paid-up member of BOTH the Thesis (diythemes.com) and FrugalTheme.com communities. Also Thematic, as well as others.

    Matt – is there a distinction I’m missing between parent/child and framework/skins that I’m missing?

    Also – if one wanted to understand the controvery – which I do not entirely understand – where woud one start?

    Thanks

    Jon Soroko

  36. The genesis theme could use some padding (whitespace) on the left most column. The container is 960 but the text is flush against that left edge.

  37. On a slightly related note, I just switched my boss’ blog from Cutline to a Cutline clone I made as a child theme for Genesis. If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to share.

  38. I am glad you are working on improved themes, but I don’t think it is necessary to be so hostile towards Thesis.

    After all, it looks like the existence of the Thesis theme is driving other theme developers to improve their products. That can only be good for WordPress users.

    1. There’s plenty of competition in the theme world without Thesis, so I don’t see how its mere existence makes it intrinsically good.

  39. Let’s have a little perspective here. I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of WP users don’t know or care who Matt Mullenweg is and far fewer know of Chris Pearson (I was among them until this mildly entertaining tempest in a teapot ••••storm blew up).

  40. Hi Matt,

    I am a big fan of WordPress, but I think you have crossed the line with this post.

    I agree you had to push the GPL issue – your business model requires this. I also can say that this issue has helped me to better understand the reasons for following the GPL licence and I will be GPL on all the themes and plugins I release. I also have never used Thesis, aside from GPL reasons I just don’t like the way its coded.

    But this post crossed the line and here’s why:

    You won the fight against Chris, now your actively pushing the issue and telling the world not to use him. You won the fight and now your kicking in his ribs. Seems a bit excessive to me.

    And to ask for a donation, seriously Matt, you are squeezing blood here and showing your youth. You won the fight. Enough is enough. Until now you had the high moral ground, but your losing it fast.

    Be the better man, walk away quietly from this scuffle and let’s get back to building WordPress.

    You won, Chris capitulated. You talked much of respect for the community, Continuing to kick Chris after he has capitulated isn’t going to strengthen the community nor is it showing us respect, its only going to create fear.

    I also do not think you should be recommending one or another theme or plugin developer over another. At most you should simply point those who ask to your premium GPL themes page.

    Yes your entitled to your opinion as anyone is, however not all opinions are percieved to be of equal value or impact. Your opinion, publicly stated, carries a great deal of impact. You wield a lot of power and as the head of our community you do have a responsibility to use your power wisely, as cliched as it may sound, it’s true.

    So you recomend Genesis. What of all the other theme producers out there? What has Genesis done that entitles them to preferential and free marketing from you? What have the other GPL theme makers done to have the head of the community say someone else is better?

    And now your only recommending theme companies, and actively speaking against lone man operations? Yes I saw the comment about ‘lone but never alone’. Sorry but as cute as its sounds its bogus. There is no way the core developers have time to do code audits on every GPL commercial theme or plugin out there.

    While we are on the topic of GPL, when are you going to threaten plugin developers with the same? Wishlist Members for example, who not only are non GPL but also encode their plugin so it cannot easily be modified or edited. In my opinion this makes them bigger ‘synners’ than Thesis ever was.

    I know some of what I am saying seems harsh and this isn’t the first time we haven’t seen eye to eye. But I do have a great deal of respect for you and what you have achieved. But sometimes you go to far. This post is one of those times.

    1. I’m talking about Genesis because it seems to be the most popular option for high-profile Thesis users to switch to, with new ones coming every day. I have no personal investment in it other than hoping to see it flourish along with other GPL themes. The WordPress community didn’t really “win” by Chris quietly changing the license on his PHP to get around the “borrowed” code, because users of Thesis still have their freedom hindered by the proprietary restrictions Chris places on his users. The hypocrisy of being cavalier with someone else’s license while insisting people follow yours still stands, and Thesis is no more part of the larger WP community than it was a year ago. Lots of people find value in Thesis, I don’t want them to have to give up the freedoms of WordPress to do so.

      1. Um, you’re talking about Genesis because Brian Gardner happens to be the first premium theme developer you bullied into going wholly GPL. He is the trailblazer, the poster boy, the shining example you can hold up to the refuseniks, and it is disingenous to claim that your promotion of Studiopress plays no part in its popularity. WooThemes have arguably contributed more to the WP community (menus, anyone?) but don’t get the same amount of love because they held out against you for longer.

        (Also, I think you mean ‘cavalier’ and ‘Lots’. Just call me After the Deadline ;) )

      2. If you can find me 3-4 high-profile switchers from Thesis to another GPL theme, I’ll happily do a post on them too. (And leave out the digs I let slip into this one.)

      3. “The WordPress community didn’t really “win” by Chris quietly changing the license on his PHP to get around the “borrowed” code, because users of Thesis still have their freedom hindered by the proprietary restrictions Chris places on his users.”

        Agreed, but that is still Chris’s right, and legally ok.

        “The hypocrisy of being caviler with someone else’s license while insisting people follow yours still stands ”

        Again agreed, but not really the point here.

        “Lot’s of people find value in Thesis, I don’t want them to have to give up the freedoms of WordPress to do so.”

        Not up to you. TOTALLY not up to you.

        If I choose to give up my freedom its my business to do so. Preventing me from doing so is as much a restriction on my freedom as the original restrictions of non GPL code.

        Yes you could argue that most don’t know their freedoms are being infringed upon but it is possible to educate them without vilifying someone you just won a very public argument with.

        My point is, Chris capitulated, whether by letter or by spirit he gave in (and legally the letter is all that matters here). Don’t misunderstand me, based on his public performances over the last couple of years I dislike most of what he says and from a programming perspective I can’t stand Thesis.

        His anti GPL arguments had about as much merit and made as much sense as “nana booboo” that my 6 year old is fond of saying.

        But that doesn’t change the fact that your still ‘governing’ your community with fear.

        Your post just feels childish and immature and spiteful. All the things we as a community do NOT want to see. Your sinking to Chris’s level with this behavior.

        We, as your community, need you to be the better man.

        Another point I would like to make:

        I watched the Mixergy interview with you and Chris and as Chris Brogan said: neither of you actually addressed the big issue.

        If you want to win this GPL battle in the hearts and minds of all of us developers you need to stop talking about respecting the community and start focusing on how GPL is viable as a business licence. Pointing to a handful of BIG names who owe their success to being early movers as much as the quality of the work they provide just isn’t cutting it.

        Yes early movers exist in all fields and its a viable business strategy. But the rest of us cannot be early movers now, so what’s left? NO early mover advantage, no protection of our IP. Where does this leave us?

        Your telling my why I should, morally, use GPL. Now tell me the business advantages. Right now the only advantage you have demonstrated is that by not going GPL Matt will pick on you.

        Instead tell me how GPL is a BETTER choice for my licencing. YES my PHP code HAS to be GPL. But what are the advantages to making my CSS and Graphics GPL?

        Tell me how my business will still be protected, tell me how I can get better and faster growth by going GPL.

        Make your case in dollars and cents and the argument will be put to rest once and for all.

        Right now all this recent episode has done is create fear and intimidation. This is neither respectful of nor helpful for the community. What would be helpful is showing the community how they can build a viable and sustainable business building themes and plugins 100% GPL (SAAS doesn’t count).

        This is. IMO, the single greatest thing you can do right now for this community right now.

        All of that aside, keep up the great work your doing on WordPress. 3.0 is a major stride forward. You have created software people (myself included) are actually passionate about. Thank you.

      4. GPL was not created to protect developers, it was created to protect users. I can’t tell you that you’ll get faster and better growth and still be protected, because in fact you’re putting the very core out there and (gasp) someone could take your work and re-sell it for half and all your customers would go there. Except that never happens because regular consumers want to support authorship because more of the same gets created, and you can bundle services or things like forum access with a subscription, if you choose. Some people will not care about that stuff and find your work online for free somewhere, but guess what they were going to do that anyway regardless of your license. However savvy consumers, which WordPress is cultivating, have become accustomed to their rights being protected and will demand nothing less. (The Thesis license says they can revoke it for any reason, including criticizing the developers of Thesis. Is that a solid foundation to build a business on? All the cards are stacked against you.) There are plenty of other platforms, like iPhone or Facebook, where the emphasis on Open Source is not as big or nonexistent so those might be better choices if you want your rights protected over those of your users.

        The reasons to use the GPL are moral ones: you respect your users enough to guarantee their freedoms, and care about your work enough to say that if someone builds upon it (like you built upon WP) it will carry the same protections. You don’t have to be a first mover for it to work, there are dozens of others and more created every day. Using the GPL is not going to guarantee your success — 90% of small businesses fail and your license choice isn’t going to change that one way or another, but at least if you’re lucky enough to succeed you do it in a way that leaves the world a better place than when you found it. That’s not for everybody, and it might even be harder, but few things worth doing are on the easy path.

  41. Matt,

    I just want to take the time here to personally thank you for all the work that you and your team have done.

    The stuff that I do, both personally and professionally, would not have been possible without your original efforts and work!

    In fact, I make a living off of WordPress! I’m humbled and indebted to you guys. The only real and appropriate response is this: Gratitude.

    Thanks again for all your continued work and especially the poise-under-fire; shows some real maturity and leadership.

    John and the Team at The 8BIT Network and Standard Theme.

  42. Matt,
    I agree that Genesis is a really a great framework, and others are around… but now that we have TwentyTen I think many things can be done with it and a child theme.
    For example, and just because I like a lot it’s wirtings, I just cloned the look of Chris Brogan blog in a Twenty Ten child-theme. Took me two hours and looks pretty nice… and similar…

    Stefano

  43. This comment is directed to That Girl Again, as I cannot reply to her comment since that part of the thread is too many levels deep. I just wanted to clarify the fact that Matt DID NOT bully me into switching licenses to the GPL.

    In fact, it was my initiative to make that choice, so much that I emailed both him and Toni Schneider to request a meeting with me to go over what impact that decision would have.

    It was on my dime to fly to San Francisco, and it was my dime that I risked when I flipped my business model. There was no bullying, no arm twisting and no under-the-table deals.

  44. Matt said …but it’s important to continue because we’re building better themes for users who honestly shouldn’t worry about this stuff, they should just have theme that’s current, flexible, functional, and beautiful.

    Just make sure that there is proper testing and adequate notification so that bloggers using the themes you are replacing don’t get caught in the cross-fire.

    :-)

  45. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this.

    I appreciate and understand that GPL was created to protect users not the developers and I am not arguing the merits of GPL. I am simply saying that if you want to win this battle once and for all you need to make a stronger business case for GPL.

    As a user I love GPL and the freedom it gives me (and not just WordPress, long time GNU Linux user here!), as a developer I am torn by a desire to perpetuate what I love and a need to feed my family. I see GPL as something that is business viable for large corps and for community projects but for small biz I have concerns. Large corps can leverage GPL as it’s brilliant for building ecosystems. Small biz I am not so sure can effectively leverage in the same way.

    I see the argument trotted out again and again in regards to GPL: “Some people will not care about that stuff and find your work online for free somewhere, but guess what they were going to do that anyway regardless of your license”.

    I agree with what you say here Matt, but it’s basically the “those who will steal will steal, regardless of the licence” argument.

    The thing is GPL precludes the possibility of theft (at least in this way), yet over and over again I hear this argument – which is a sentiment directly in opposition with the licence.

    Think no one feels this way? WooThemes has publicly stated such in their Mixergy inteview. And if tomorrow I decided to offer Woothemes and Studiopress downloads for $1 would I or would I not be villified?

    Brian Gardner, would you not take a very public stance against me? According to GPL I am both morally and legally fine to do this, and yet we all know that were I to do it I would be treated as evil incarnate. I dare say a bigger backlash than what Chris Pearson has felt.

    Now I am not suggesting I will do this, just using it as a thought experiment to point out the double standard at work here. Were I to take this action I would be in accordance with GPL and yet we all know I would be bullied and villified until I stopped. Or am I missing something? We all know that GPL allows this – even encourages this, and yet we all (myself included) would be up in arms were someone to actually do this.

    I think that very few people who have taken GPL as a licence have done so because they have a true love of GPL. Even you Brian Gardner. I am not suggesting you were forced to do it, I am sure it was done because you felt it made good business sense. But can you say with honesty that your prepared/willing to have your code lifted and resold without issue? (I am not singling you out here Brian, and for the record I am a holder of a StudioPress Licence.)

    I am actually planning on releasing themes myself, and yes, as of this writing, they will be 100% GPL. Despite my reservations over GPL I am going that route. Not because I believe in the licence as a business model, I do have reservations after all. But I am doing it because I do agree that if I want to build for WordPress I should do it in a way that is compatable with it’s licence and community.

    My PHP would have always been GPL of course; I have used GPL derived PHP code in my themes so it should be GPL. But my CSS and graphics will also be GPL, albiet nervously.

    I am willing to give 100% GPL a try as a business model. But I am concerned that I am building a business on shakey ground and was hoping for a rational and honest discussion on ways to make things better or safer or more viable business wise while still going 100% GPL.

    I don’t pretend to have any good ieas or answers in this area, far from it. But I do think its something worth discussing as it would not only benefit the business minded but also the community as a whole.

    1. I want to state here how much I agree with Ash’s points made above. That is why I asked the question about Matt’s feelings toward premium plugins. I can’t make the GPL (100%) work for small business – Ash’s point about larger concerns is true – they have the critical mass to make it work for them. I don’t have any answers either and this discussion needs to start addressing the concerns for “one man bands” pretty quickly.

    2. Ash, I appreciate your comments, and the questions you raise – all of which I considered when making the decision to go open source.

      Am I prepared for people to “hawk” StudioPress themes? Yes, there are a few sites that do it now – which is somewhat unfortunate. Not because I think they are “slimy”, but because it causes major confusion when it comes to users.

      The folks who run those sites clearly do not have the best interest of the community in mind – they want to use countless hours of our hard work to fill their pockets. While that is allowed under the GPL, it’s clearly IMO not the “spirit”.

      Fortunately, uninformed purchasers of those packages who end up on StudioPress for support have been very gracious when we say we cannot support them. We do, however, find those situations as opportunities where we will let them purchase the “real” All-Theme package minus what they spent on the other site. So in theory, it’s a good thing for us because in a lot of cases we still end up with a sale. More importantly a person who felt “had” now feels welcomed into our community without any bad vibes.

  46. Hi Matt

    Everyone has a hero, or someone they aspire to be like. Your definitely that man in my eyes — you’ve conducted yourself in a most professional manner. The concern and help you give to your family is remarkable and what makes WordPress and Automattic truly stand out from the crowd; to what will allow for the continuation of it’s success. Community is everything, and it’s great how you see that.

    Thanks :]

  47. Matt, as much as I hate to say it, I am starting to lose respect for you. A year ago I might have told my grandchildren that you would be a good role model. I might have even mentioned Chris, too, for different reasons. Both of you became successful by going after your passions. But, now I cannot recommend either of you to my grandchildren. In fact, as sad as it is to say, the only one that comes to mind at present is Abraham Lincoln.

    Danny Sullivan pretty well summed up my views on this. You could have moved on, taking the high road, but you appear to want to continue to drag this out. It is turning me against WordPress.

    I did switch to Genesis. But, at 61, I am not sure how much longer I am going to blog … probably not long … otherwise, I would seriously consider switching to MovableType or some other format just to get away from this petty war, one that has the flavor of a religious war.

    There is an article by Jonah Lehrer in WSJ Online entitled “The Power Trip” … might be worthwhile for you to read and reflect.

    I do hope this is the last article I see on Syn-Thesis, and anything related to it, and that you will move forward, and focus on the positive as you suggest.

    Best regards
    Bruce

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