These are some serious news! Matt Mullenweg announced that his company Attomatic is giving away its core brand name – WordPress – to WordPress Foundation.
Automattic has transferred the WordPress trademark to the WordPress Foundation, the non-profit dedicated to promoting and ensuring access to WordPress and related open source projects in perpetuity. This means that the most central piece of WordPress’s identity, its name, is now fully independent from any company.
This is huge!
This reminds me of those times when open source software started its way into the enterprise. Most people weren’t taking it seriously. A lot of people were laughing at it. Yet, one by one, company by company, open source made progress. These days, there are no doubts about the benefits of the open source software, both inside and outside of the enterprise. It brings plenty of benefits to the table. But yet there are companies that are built around closed source software which are doing fine.
Similarly to the above trademark news. We had a few examples of a company giving the source and trademark to open source community and some sort of foundation. But that was usually a desperate move, a panic attack. Often, such a move would bring in new blood and save the application or the company.
This time, with WordPress, it’s not a desperate move. It is a well thought through and calculated decision. It is the right thing to do.
WordPress is what it is mostly due to the huge and dynamic community of its users and developers. It’s them who make the most of it, and it’s them who push WordPress forward. It makes the most sense that they, as a community, via the non-profit WordPress Foundation, own the WordPress trademark.