If your website is running on WordPress, and chances are it is, then you’re running on one of the most refined open source platforms ever made. Being open source seems to be all the buzz in the WordPress community, but why?
It’s no secret that we’re a fan of open source, having released two open source WordPress plugins, so we decided to write a post explaining our reasoning for this decision.
1. No more reinventing the wheel
By using GPL-licensed code, we can often greatly decrease the turnaround time on a project because we aren’t writing code that has already been written or worrying about licensing issues. Between the WordPress platform itself and the almost 40,000 open source WordPress plugins listed in the plugin directory, there is almost no functionality that hasn’t already been created several times over.
It’s best to learn from others, use well-tested code, and give credit where necessary. This allows us to focus on the project instead of the basics, and results in a better overall attention to detail.
2. More exposure
Open source WordPress plugins generally get more exposure than their counterparts on paid marketplaces. While the initial return on investment may be much lower with a free plugin than it’s paid counterpart, the increased exposure from a free plugin can help it in many ways. More users equals more testing, which equals a more refined product and a lot of happy users.
3. It’s still “your” code
Open source code still belongs to the owner, and can be copyrighted and sold as such. Many products have been successfully monetized while being open source, and the trend seems to be continuing.
As more plugin and theme developers move towards this model, there will be a heavier focus on development as a service, as opposed to a once-and-done solution (which it never is).
There are many other benefits and some potential downsides to open source (which we might blog about in the future), but these are the main reasons that we’ve decided to support it. While we can’t release every project as open source, we’re committed to doing so whenever possible.