What Is GPL?
GPL is short for GNU General Public License, which was created by the Free Software Foundation. When software is licensed under GPL terms, it means that the software is both free and copylefted; meaning that all derivatives, extensions and modifications of the underlying code base are also bound by the GPL licensing.
WordPress software is released under GPLv2, which means that all derivative work using the WordPress platform (such as themes and plugins) are also bound by GPLv2 as well. This licensing ensures that WordPress will always be free to use, modify, change or customize at any point in the future.
What is the benefit of using GPL software?
If not for GPL, much of the software that runs the internet today would not be available, including WordPress and the various systems that WordPress operates on (Linux, Apache, mysql, PHP). By keeping the source code for such software freely available and open to the public, it enables readily accessible technology to be used by the masses. This is turn facilitates communication, commerce and much of our modern way of life.
By nature, GPL software is open source, which means that anyone can inspect or improve upon the code base. This level of transparency gives much more opportunity for bugs to be identified and repaired in existing software, leading to more secure and stable systems in the long term. WordPress is a direct benefit of this form of community participation, as WordPress is constantly in a state of development with feature enhancements and bug fixes.
Are WordPress Themes and Plugins GPL?
WordPress is released under the GPLv2, which means that any derivative work also falls under the GPL licensing agreement. The WordPress foundation believes that themes and plugins constitute derivative works, which means that they should also be bound by GPL.
WPHUB believes in supporting the WordPress foundation and as such, requires that all themes and plugins sold by WPHUB be bound by the GPL licensing requirements. While the software code adheres to GPL, many themes and plugins contain graphic assets that may have it’s own copyright or licensing agreements. WPHUB also requires authors to provide ongoing support and updates for themes and plugins sold on WPHUB. For these reasons, WPHUB is able to charge for themes and plugins and continue to operate a marketplace that continues to contribute to the WordPress community.
Does this mean I can modify or change any WordPress code from my downloaded purchases?
Yes, absolutely! WPHUB is able to offer WordPress customization services for this very reason. GPL enables anyone to freely modify, fork or hack the codebase to the limits of their imagination. We and the WordPress community encourage you to play around with your code and change it to however it suits your needs.