Important update: VersionPress will be 100% GNU GPL-licensed! Read more in this blog post.
We have been asked about VersionPress licensing a couple of times already so we thought we’d address that.
When you head over to versionpress.net and scroll down to the campaign section or further down to the FAQ, you’ll find a note that the licensing model is not set in stone yet. This concerns some people and their point is valid – they don’t want to contribute to something they don’t know whether will be open or closed source / commercial. However, from our point of view, this is the most honest thing we can say about licensing at the moment. Let me explain.
First and foremost, we want to see VersionPress built. We believe it is a hugely useful thing for WP admins and we, ourselves, always wanted that something like that existed. It is our top-most priority to build it and properly support it in the long run.
For that, we need to be realistic about funding. The current crowd-funding campaign will cover the initial development (if successful) but think about all the 3rd party plugins that do “interesting” things to WP sites, their combinations, various hosting configurations etc. VersionPress is a huge undertaking and if we want to do this professionally and keep the users (you) happy, realistic funding is key.
That’s why we cannot announce anything definitive about the licensing today. The campaign has been out only for a couple of days and we don’t know, can’t know, how things will work out. For instance, if some major sponsor appears we would be more than happy to make VersionPress available as open source, free to everyone. But what if there isn’t? We believe that in such case, it’s better to offer a reasonably priced plugin than nothing at all.
To sum up, the best we can announce today is that we would love this to be OSS but we’ll need some time to make a final decision on this. If you’re not comfortable with this, please do not contribute to the campaign and we’re sorry that we’ve lost you. However, we hope that many of you understand our situation and will support VersionPress just as a project that makes sense, regardless of the license.
Thank you and if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.
P.S. Thanks to all the people who brought up this issue on Twitter. Based on your feedback, we have also updated versionpress.net to make things clearer.