WordPress is Open Source. What does that mean, and why does it matter?
What’s Open Source?
“Open Source” refers to software that is freely available for everyone to use. This is the opposite of proprietary software that must be bought. MicroSoft Word, for example, has to be paid for. If you don’t buy the software, you’re not allowed to use it.
WordPress, on the other hand, is available as a free download at WordPress.org. You can make whatever you want with it, and you don’t owe its parent company a dime.
Open Source isn’t mostly about cost, though.
It’s about bringing millions of collaborators together to make something amazing.
The WordPress Community
Because everyone can freely use WordPress software, people have created myriad plugins — bits of software to add functionality to the basic WordPress software. There are many, many themes at all different price points, starting with $0.00. And WordPress core, the basic software, is constantly improved and updated.
MicroSoft Word, which is not open source, doesn’t have this kind of community. Many of us have experienced both WordPress and Word. We can see for ourselves that they are two different kinds of things.
Open Source means that there are different levels of quality in themes and plugins, that they may not all be compatible, and that there are visible different opinions. There probably are different opinions about what kinds of updates should be made in Word, too. but they’re not public.
Because WordPress is free and open to all of us, WordPress asks that those of us who use WordPress to make a living give back to the community. One way to do that is to serve as a volunteer or a sponsor for Word Camp. Attending WordCamp, learning more about WordPress and the WordPress community, and supporting other participants is also a way of giving back.
Get your ticket today.