Theme name idea: Severance (from the GPL)

With so much hullabaloo clogging the air, I don’t even need to introduce the topic.

I predict that somebody is going to write a theme that allows a lot of new, proprietary themes to be written without the pesky GPL contagion.

Sandbox accomplished that for people who were happy writing CSS and using their own images. They could create a non-GPL skin for Sandbox and nobody would question that. Where Sandbox falls short is in its markup which, though it was thoughtfully written, could never be all things to all people.

So, I expect somebody to write a clever WordPress theme that severs the HTML markup from the WordPress-derived PHP code, properly apply the GPL license to the PHP part, and make a bundle on proprietary skins. You can even call it Severance and I won’t ask for a dime.

(I have been an employee of Automattic since 2005. My employer had no input on this post. However, a salary alone can affect one’s outlook on economic issues.)

17 thoughts on “Theme name idea: Severance (from the GPL)”

  1. The only thing missing is that the premium theme’s generally have functionality built into it that make it worth the price of entry. The-theme-that-shall-not-be-named is pretty bare bones looking. Its the ability to control the number of columns and layout configurations is what most people rave about.

    Besides, there already is a theme that meets the requirements you state (save for the css skin ecosystem) and its called K2.

  2. heh, skins for sandbox never really took off like we’d hoped they would.

    child themes for thematic/carrington/et al. might carry the torch, but the issue of inheritance still factors for any “advanced” features.

    My guess is that most premium developers will go the freemium route and offer their own base theme, and sell child themes.

  3. Andy: I love it! 🙂

    If there’s one thing I dislike about this whole argument is the lack of clarity we have from all this. It would be nice to get some.

  4. I’ve been waiting to see someone do exactly this, Every time a GPL issue comes up its the first thing thats come into my mind.

    I’d expect to see a Object Oriented abstracted wrapper system myself, I mean, I’d write it, But I’d only release it under a GPL license(ie. no Dual citizenship). 🙂

    I’ve got an inkling in the back of my mind that someone -has- done this before, in the plugin world however.. Bad Behaviour springs to mind, doing something similar, The BB application itself is NOT GPL, the WordPress plugin for it however, Is, When you install Bad Behaviour, you’re installing 2 applications, The Dual Licensed WordPress Plugin (GPL + “something else”) and the Bad Behaviour application (Not GPL, licensed “something else”). End result is a non-GPL application working through a middleman to a GPL application without fear of licenses getting in the way.

  5. I created something capable of this myself a couple of years ago. I didn’t create it for the purpose of bypassing the GPL, but it could have been used for that.

  6. There is also a WordPress replacement out there which has the same core functions for the loop but written from scratch.

    Some of the arguements get a little greyer if there are 2 CMS platforms independently developed that a theme can be used with.

    The trouble is how “black box” the development of the other CMS needs to be to not be looked on as a derivative.

  7. I once created a theme that ran on both WordPress and Habari without any need to make changes according to which one you used it on. My theme was made up of the theme itself with my own functions plus a layer to translate between my theme and WordPress/Habari. In theory I could have made the integration layer GPL with the actual theme anything I wanted.

    The thing is though it takes a lot of work to create translation layers if what you want is something more engaged than a smarty template and it just isn’t worth it if all you are trying to do is avoid the licensing arrangements.

    I remain unconvinced about the business benefits of seeking GPL but the benefits of not seeking to avoid it are generally pretty clear.

  8. Sample :

    public static function post_thumbs_list($wp_query = 'showposts=5',$width = 60, $height = 60,$display_excerpt = false) {

    $query['v_query'] = $wp_query ;
    $query['width'] = $width;
    $query['height'] = $height;
    $query['display_excerpt'] = $display_excerpt;
    $_view = self::layout_view('post_list_thumbs', $query);
    return $_view;

  9. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to learn all that stuff and finally make a decent website.

  10. The-theme-that-shall-not-be-named is pretty bare bones looking. Its the ability to control the number of columns and layout configurations is what most people rave about.

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