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Wix to release full mobile app source code, including the GPL disputed WordPress Rich Text Editor

During the past few days the social media has been fizzling about Open Source infingement by Wix, an Israeli company that provides site people tools they can build websites without technical knowledge. Wix recently released a mobile app that includes a GPL licensed component from the WordPress Project.

The infringement was noted by project lead Matt Mullenweg when he tried the Wix mobile application for himself. He wrote a blog post on the issue on the 28th and ends it with an ultimatum:

Release your app under the GPL, and put the source code for your app up on GitHub so that we can all build on it, improve it, and learn from it.

Just a day later on the 29th the CEO of Wix responds that they will release the source code of the disputed app:

We always shared and admired your commitment to give back, which is exactly why we have those 224 open source projects, and thousands more bugs/improvements available to the open source community and we will release the app you saw as well.

The announcement of releasing the application's source code seems to have been a side thought at the end of the sentence. There's also some unrelated noise in the discussion over the use of the word "press" and maybe this is why people fail to notice the announcement and label Wix as "not being true" to the Open Source game.

Note that in an explicit tweet on the 30th of October (only two days after the original blog post from Mullenweg), the Wix Engineering team states that they will release the source code, containing the disputed WordPress Rich Text Editor component:

Too late to back down now. So the only question now is that when will they release it?

It's best not rush it due to the ongoing theatre, since that could put the Wix's millions of customers at jeopardy. Even though passing the Apple App store certification is a good indication that it's a solid app. With a lot more downloads after this weekend.

And in this case the mobile app is most likely a shell that will allows access to the Wix backend, not compromising the service itself. This is very much like the Open Source WordPress Calypso project that connects to the proprietary WordPress.com backend.

Written by Jani Tarvainen on Tuesday November 1, 2016
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