I’m writing down the core values for our business and team. Here is one of our 5 core values:
We are committed to open source and “the WordPress way”.Stranger Studios, LLC Core Values
What does that even mean? How does this value specifically show up in our actions? Why is this important to us?
What does “open source” mean?
In our case, open source means following the GNU General Public License. I wrote about the GPL and why our code is GPL before, but there are basically 2 reasons we embrace the GPL:
- We think using the GPL license will result in the best code.
- WordPress uses the GPL license, and Matt Mullenweg and the other WP leaders encourage and expect plugins to be GPL.
Some companies respond mostly to #2 there, and begrudgingly apply the GPL license to their code. For us, reason #1 is more important, and so we have embraced the GPL and try to not only live up to the law of the license but the spirit of it as well.
What does “the WordPress way” mean?
This one is more difficult because what is considered “the WordPress way” is an ever-evolving set of standards and conventions that will change over time, but basically what we mean is that our code, UI, and UX should be familiar to other WordPress developers and users interacting with our software.
What does all of this mean more specifically?
Doing things the WordPress way means making all of our software free and open source, just like the core WordPress software.
It means the plugins we write to integrate with other plugins and third parties are hosted in the WordPress.org repository because that will incentivize both parties to maintain the plugin.
It means our code will continue to work as expected if your paid license expires.
It means providing simple one-line code solutions to disable our upsells or extra gateway fees.
It means using the WordPress coding standards so our code is more readable to developers used to reading WordPress-based code.
It means finding the right hooks and filters to modify the behavior of a site instead of fully replacing existing functionality of WordPress and other plugins.
It means adding hooks and filters into our own code to make it easier for others to modify the behavior of our plugins.
It means striving to have documentation on par with the WordPress Codex.
Why is this important to us?
We believe that embracing open source and the WordPress way is going to result in the best software, and having the best software as our foundation will be a competitive advantage for our business. That’s it.
For sure, it’s not bad business to focus on paying customers, or charge for software, or make decisions to maximize profits. But I also feel that’s not the WordPress way.
WordPress is software designed for everyone, emphasizing accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use. We believe great software should work with minimum set up, so you can focus on sharing your story, product, or services freely. The basic WordPress software is simple and predictable so you can easily get started. It also offers powerful features for growth and success.
We believe in democratizing publishing and the freedoms that come with open source. Supporting this idea is a large community of people collaborating on and contributing to this project. The WordPress community is welcoming and inclusive. Our contributors’ passion drives the success of WordPress which, in turn, helps you reach your goals.The WordPress Mission Statement
We believe in making money. We’re the “get paid” folks and understand the good that steady income means to individuals and organizations. But we believe that making software that is aligned with our values and the WordPress mission statement is more important than making money.
If a decision comes down to something that will make the software better and something that will make us more money, we choose the option that makes the software better.
For us that means embracing open source and the WordPress way, making our software available for free to get the most users and contributors, and building a business on top of the software we are making by adding value instead of artificially limiting our software and selling the cure.