Remaining Friday, Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg—the founding developer of the WordPress open supply running a blog and content material control platform—posted an open letter on his private blog accusing the developers of the blogging web site Wix of basically stealing WordPress code for a brand new cell application:

If I were being charitable, I’d say, “The app’s editor is primarily based on the WordPress cellular app’s editor.” If I had been being honest, I’d say that Wix copied WordPress without attribution, credit score, or following the license. The custom icons, the elegance names, even the bugs. You could see the forked repositories on GitHub whole with authentic commits from Alex and Maxime,  developers on Automattic’s cell crew. Wix has usually borrowed liberally from WordPress—together with their employer name, which was once Wixpress Ltd.—but this blatant d5500b236c3d7eaa2bdca84b3a067de9 and code robbery is beyond whatever I’ve visible before from a competitor.

WordPress’ code is open source, however, it is published under the GNU Public License (GPL). And the manner that Wix used the code, Mullenweg said, is in violation of the GPL. Wix’s new cellular app, he said, reused WordPress’ text editor with out credit. And the Wix application became closed and proprietary—now not published under the same GPL license.
Wix CEO and co-founder Avishai Abrahami fired lower back, writing in an open response to Mullenweg, “Wow, dude I did not even recognize we have been preventing.” Abraham pointed to 224 tasks that Wix had open sourced on GitHub, and he admitted that Wix had used the text editor code—making some adjustments and sharing the code via GitHub:

Yes, we did use the WordPress open source library for a minor a part of the software (this is the idea of open supply proper?), and the entirety we advanced there or changed, we submitted again as open supply, see right here in this hyperlink – you ought to check it out, pretty cool way of the use of it on mobile native. I surely assume you men can use it along with your app (and it is open supply, so you are welcome to use it without cost). And, by using the manner, the element that we used became in truth developed through every other and modified by using you.

Abraham became alluding to the use within the WordPress textual content editor of code in the beginning published as the open source below the extra permissive MIT public license, as Wix developer Tal Kol stated explicitly in a followup publish on Medium. Kol stated that the code turned into evolved in an try to collaborate with WordPress engineers—porting the Automattic, GPL-licensed editor to the React local JavaScript platform for mobile apps. After a prototype became equipped in June, Kol defined, he tweeted a link to the code to Automattic’s engineering team but didn’t get a reaction until October 28, while Mullenweg referred to as Wix out for a GPL violation.

The problem for Wix is that at the same time as it could thoroughly have open-sourced the thing it constructed using WordPress’ editor—which Kol says became, in turn, constructed the usage of some other editor licensed underneath the extra permissive MIT open supply license—the organization then published the element as part of commercially certified software. That action violates both the spirit and the letter of the GNU Public License, which calls for something constructed with GPL-licensed code to be allotted with the identical GPL license. by means of adding the GPL-licensed editor module code to its own application, Wix basically positioned its whole cellular utility under the scope of the GPL license.

“I assume from what I recognize, it’s a pretty conventional GPL violation,” stated Matt Jacobs, VP and preferred recommend at Black Duck software program, a corporation that is focused on helping developers get insight into whether or not code under GPL license or other open source licenses has been incorporated into their code. “To date, it seems to observe a quite typical line of progression.” when corporations contain GPL-licensed code into their packages, Jacobs explained, they take on some of the responsibilities as an end result. “One of these duties is that in case you’re going to embed GPL stuff on your code and produce a rip-off scam product, you’re going to need to make that spin rip scam compliant with GPL—both through shipping the code with it or imparting scam the code on request.”