What a GPL’d Movable Type means for WordPress

Sometime before the end of the year (October being the current guess), Six Apart will be releasing a GPL version of MT, termed “MTOS” (Movable Type Open Source). WordPress is also licensed under the GPL. So, once Movable Type is available under the same license as WordPress, what are the ramifications?

The ramifications are interesting, because while both will be available under the same license, there will be one key difference between MTOS and WordPress. And that is that MTOS will have (on paper) one contributor. Six Apart will be accepting patches from third parties, but only if they sign over copyright of such contributions to Six Apart. Contributions to WordPress are owned by the person who contributes them.

The reason Six Apart requires this, is so they are able to distribute a non-GPL version of Movable Type. Otherwise, the viral nature of the GPL would require that the “pro” version of Movable Type also be GPL licensed.

The interesting ramification of this is that while code can flow from MTOS to WordPress, Six Apart can’t allow WordPress code (or code from any other GPL’d project) to end up in MTOS, unless it gets the author (or authors) of that code to sign over copyright of the code to Six Apart.

Note that this also allows Six Apart at any time in the future to say “As of today, we are no longer releasing a GPL version of Movable Type.” And that would require that someone fork the code in order to proceed with development. WordPress can’t easily do that, as it is not owned by a single legal entity.

Update: added “(on paper)” to the second paragraph. Didn’t mean to minimize the contributions of third parties, merely note the “on paper” ownership of such contributions.

Volunteer needed for 2.0.11/2.2 upgrade files

I’m getting married on May 5th and will be on honeymoon until the 12th. If WordPress 2.0.11 or 2.2 drop within this time frame, I’m obviously not going to be able to deliver the upgrade files that I’ve been making for several past releases. My laptop doesn’t get to come on the honeymoon!

Is there anyone out there who is capable and willing to takeover those duties for this next release batch? If so, I could give you posting rights on this blog for that purpose. Or if you’re someone who already makes such files on your own, I could give you posting rights so you can link to your post from this site (as a lot of people expect to see the files here).

What I generally do is download the zip releases of the two versions and extract them to two folders. I diff them, and use that diff to figure out changed files (hint: grep for “\+\+\+”). From the changed files list, I do a find/replace to turn the list of files into a bunch of cp commands that move the new files into their own directory. Then I zip up that directory for use as the changed-files-only zip (minus any /wp-content/ stuff). Then I remove any /wp-content stuff from the diff and clean it up (making the paths relative to a WP install directory, removing the dates, etc). It’s tempting to make the diff directly from SVN, but because svn:externals pulls in the latest copy of Akismet, you’ll never show that Akismet needs updating, so you have to use the zips.

For testing, I start with a directory of the old version, and either apply the diff or merge the changed-files-only directory in. Then I diff it against a virgin copy of the new version. There should be no differences.

Then I copy-paste an old updates files blog entry, change the version numbers, add any special notes (or remove old ones that don’t apply), upload the files, then post.

Anyone up for it?

Update: I’m back! And just in time, it seems. Thanks to Charles Hooper to stepping up, but as luck would have it, I’ll be able to handle these upgrade files after all.

WordPress 2.0.7 Upgrade: changed files ZIP, changes diff, changed files list

WordPress 2.0.7 has been released, incorporating a security fix, and a few other bug fixes. This is a mandatory upgrade. If you want the full zip with the entire WP install, download it here.

If you are upgrading from WordPress 2.0.6, you obviously don’t need the entire install, you just need the files that have changed. Because my upgrade files for 2.0.3 through 2.0.6 were so popular (and thanks to countless words of praise and even a few generous monetary donations), I’m going to continue to provide the same files for this and future 2.0.x upgrades.

Changed Files List

Changed Files List (2.0.6 » 2.0.7)
This is a list of all the files that have changed since the last (2.0.6) release. You can also see the changes and their corresponding tickets on Trac.

Changed Files ZIP

Changed Files ZIP (2.0.6 » 2.0.7)
This is what most people will want. This is a zip file that includes only the files that have changed since the last (2.0.6) release. This will save you a lot of FTP upload time.

Changes Diff

Changes Diff (2.0.6 » 2.0.7)
This is a diff file (a patch) with all the changes made since the last (2.0.6) release. Make sure you do a trial run by using the patch command’s --dry-run (or equivalent) switch, to verify that the patch will apply cleanly.


I prepared these files myself and have tested them. Still, I cannot stress enough the importance of making a full file and database backup before attempting to upgrade WordPress using these or any other files. I cannot be responsible for your carelessness. Make a backup!

I should mention that these files are unofficial. They were made on my own time, of my own volition, without any input from other WordPress developers and without any official sanction from Automattic inc.

WordPress 2.0.6 Beta 1

WordPress 2.0.6 Beta 1 just went out on the WP-Testers list. Feedback should happen on WP-Testers if you’re subscribed, but I’ll monitor this post for feedback as well.

Download it here. This is a beta version, so this is for testers only. Standard disclaimer about installing this on your main blog applies.

I’m particularly interested in feedback from people who had problems with WordPress 2.0.5, specifically related to that Server 500 error that some PHP on FastCGI servers were throwing.

And please, don’t use this as a place to file grievances or feature requests. I want to hear one of the following:

  1. WP 2.0.5 was broken for me, but WP 2.0.6 beta 1 works
  2. WP 2.0.6 beta 1 is broken for me, and here is why: [description of problem]

Your Christmas present to me can be a very bug-free WP 2.0.6 🙂

Subscribe to Comments Promotional Screencast

The creative folks over at Tubetorial are doing a bunch of screencasts on WordPress in a series called 7 Essential WordPress Hacks. They did one on my Subscribe to Comments plugin, and it’s incredible. Top of the line production quality, approachable voice over, and they nailed the real purpose of the plugin: keeping readers coming back to your site!

Many thanks to Tubetorial… that was definitely a pleasantly surprising treat.

Be sure to check out their WordPress.com video as well! (via)