Thanks to Singapore PHP User Group for organizing this. It was a rare opportunity to meet Matt. He’s one of my inspirations for a long time.

An awesome inspiration delivered by Matt on Open Source, WordPress and the early days of GPL (GNU Public License). WordPress was one of the modern web early adopters of GNU.

What’s GPL?

GPL was built on 4 freedoms:

  1. Freedom to use the software for any purpose
  2. Freedom to see how it works
  3. Freedom to build over and modify the software
  4. Freedom to distribute the original or modified version of the software

The key takeaway was:

  • The only reason WordPress survives in spite of all the commercial competition out there is only that of the community, Automattic’s passion for making the world a better place and their continuous contribution to open source

Some things I learned new from the talk:

  • WordPress today is built upon what was called B2 earlier, where Matt was one of the committers
  • WordPress was the first to introduce Pages on blogs. Earlier, people used to build multiple blogs for different pages. Remember MultiSite? People really used Multi-Site for this weird purpose!
  • One of the reasons for the success of WordPress was Akismet
  • Akismet was earlier known as Automattic Spam Machine
  • is maintained by Automattic

Some notes:

  • The community of users is really important
  • Distributed employees do make sense. For a system this large and which is used by 22% of the Internet.
  • Even if you clone something – differentiate yourself by solving the pains that the other products don’t solve. (like Akismet)
  • Make stuff open source! and don’t make it proprietary. It will only improve your traction.
  • The day you start getting spam is the day you’ve made it.

No matter how little you think you know, there’s always someone who knows less – Matt Mullenweg


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