[fr] Version courte: je cherche un nouveau thème pour Climb to the Stars.
These last few days I noticed things were going sour between Matt Mullenweg (WordPress) and Chris Pearson (Thesis) over licensing issues. I don’t write much code, and licensing looks like a big jungle to me, but things heating up did made me recall a few things I’d vaguely seen fly by over the last years about WordPress themes having to be GPL and Thesis not being GPL.
Anyway, I read Twitter streams from both Matt and Chris the other day and decided I was going to stay away from the topic.
I’ve used WordPress for years and know (and appreciate) Matt personally, and I’ve been happy so far with Thesis, which I paid a developper license for way back when during the launch.
I had a small issue early 2009 around the change of terms in the developper license (which went from allowing unlimited use to unlimited use on one’s own sites) but a quick e-mail with Chris cleared things up and he assured me that I could stick with the terms of the license as they were when I signed up. So, no beef. I’ve also regularly recommended Thesis around me.
A bit by chance this morning, I saw Philip Oakley‘s tweet about an interview he’d done with Matt on this topic. In the introduction text, he recommended that we first listen to this debate between Matt and Chris, moderated by Andrew Warner. I loaded it onto my iPhone, turned up the sound, and hopped on my exercise bike for my daily half-hour of sweaty indoor pedaling (TMI? ;-)).
I’d like to state that I started listening to the interview with no preconceived idea of who may be “right” or “wrong” over the issue (knowing, too, that I have in the past disagreed with a stand or two of Matt’s). I was hoping to learn a bit more about the rational arguments on both sides.
Ten minutes in, I felt like leaving the room (I couldn’t, remember, I was stuck pedaling on my indoor bike). At least, if I had been the one talking with Chris, I would have stopped trying to reason with him. Twenty minutes later, I got off my bike, turned off the podcast, and decided I’d had enough.
I like to think I have a pretty good grasp of conversation mechanics, and if this one was going nowhere, it’s pretty clear to me that it was largely Chris’s doing. I was appalled at how emotional (vs. rational) his responses were. At how he systematically didn’t respond to questions asked, falling back on “they’re out to get me” and “it’s my creation so I have a right to control it” arguments. This honestly didn’t give me the impression that Chris fully understood the licensing issue at hand, and that this was mainly about “me, me, me, my stuff, my work, me” (a vibe I had already got and didn’t like from his sites and marketing communication, the hyperbolic “I’m the best“, but I didn’t think it would translate that strongly into actual conversation.)
So, as you can guess — and whether the licensing issue actually stands or not — I’m looking for a new theme for Climb to the Stars. I think the one thing I really like about the Thesis layout is the multimedia box upper right, where I can randomly showcase my photos. I’m sure there are other themes out there doing that, or plugins.
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- Matteo Enna: I was a shy guy and I didn’t speak English, but then I discovered WordCamps! [WCGVA 2022] [en] (2022)
- Digital Spring Cleaning [en] (2010)
- TEDx Geneva: François-Xavier Tanguy — A world full of Dreams: Phnom Penh-Paris on the Dream Road by motorbike [en] (2009)
- Back Home [en] (2013)
- CTTS Upgraded, Jetpacked, and Roboted [en] (2011)
11 thoughts on “Searching For a New Theme For Climb to the Stars [en]”
Stephanie – I am with you. Was a reasonably happy Thesis user, GPL issues didn’t concern me to much, but in that podcast CP turned me off so badly I dumped Thesis and went to the default WP theme right away.
Not a character I want to support in any way in the future!
So many themes…. difficult to give advises 🙂
If I remember well, you don’t want a magazine look.
If you’re looking for something very easy to customize by coding, even if it’s rather old, I still really like the sandbox (and it’s easy to upgrade it for the new features).
If you’re looking for something customizable through the dashboard, I heard a lot about Atahualpa, though these kind of themes are more difficult to transform directly in the code.
And for something rather sleek and simple like your current theme… twentyten ^^
Your flickr intergration should be available as a plugin, even if you have to slightly change the css to make it as big.
Thanks for the suggestions! You’re right, I’m looking for something that is definitely “bloggy style” and not “magazine-like”. I’d rather not have to customize it too much (my grand CSS days are behind me). I really like twentyten actually, only I’d have to get rid of the header image (doesn’t sit well with the featured photos) and hunt for a plugin — direct Flickr integration would be wonderful, actually, hadn’t thought of that!
[en] short version : Headway Theme seems to be the best alternative to Thesis in my opinion…
[fr] version moins courte : J’ai suivi cette histoire de loin, et même si ce que j’ai pu voir de Chris (un type sympa mais à la com effectivement plutôt arrogante) fait que l’issue du débat ne me surprend pas, j’avoue que ça ne me fera pas changer de thème.
Mon but principal lorsque j’investis dans un outils, c’est de le rentabiliser, et de me faciliter la vie, deux choses que Thesis m’a clairement permis de faire.
Ceci étant dit, si tu cherches une alternative à Thesis avec le même genre de fonctions, je te suggère fortement de lorgner du côté du thème “Headway”. Headway, c’est l’outsider qui est à deux pas derrière Thesis, mais qui est plein de bonnes idées. Il est également très modulable, et recommandé par quelques pros (comme ça je pense à Danny Brown et John Haydon). Tu peux en voir plus ici : http://headwaythemes.com/ (je ne suis pas affilié).
J’espère que ça pourra t’intéresser.
@Dushan, seems Headway is exactly the same kind of non GPL licence as Thesis…. bad sign is you can’t find any mention about “licence” on their site, but their “what can I do, what can’t I do” does not look too GPL
@Steph, I’m also rather happy of the theme I use on my site, good balance between code and customization, but it “feels” different from what you are used. I don’t think removing the image of TwentyTen should be too much for you 🙂
Marie-Aude: I saw in comments somewhere or on Twitter that Headway were going GPL (for the PHP). For the time being I’ll indeed probably go with removing the header from TwentyTen and seeking for a plugin to showcase my pictures (I guess I’ll end up writing it if I can’t find what I’m looking for ;-))
So, a bit by accident, here I am with TwentyTen. I switched to see what it would look like, saw I’d lost all my widgets, went back to Thesis, saw my widgets were still lost and my theme-specific settings were lost too, thought “f*** it”, went back to TwentyTen, put my widgets back — thanks to Google cache and Recent Widgets — edited the navigation menu, and recycled an old header photo from way back when, some of you may remember.
Not too bad, but here’s what’s missing:
That’s what I’ve noticed so far.
Happy to see the site back up (seemed to be down the other day). Anyway, a few updates on things as of yesterday both Thesis and Headway have gone to a split-GPL license. Whether you feel comfortable with a split-GPL license or not is a personal thing. It is considered by most in the WordPress community to be an acceptable compromise, although a small minority might still takes exception to it claiming it “skirts the intent of the GPL while meeting it’s bare minimums”.
That said one still has to make a personal and possibly a business decision if they want to continue to utilize DIY’s software based on CP’s behavior. I’ve seen that same behavior in multiple interviews, not just Mixergy’s.
Finally, while some people do like Headway and I don’t claim there is anything fundamentally wrong with it, just that I think StudioPress’ Genesis or WooTheme’s Canvas are more equal to Thesis and in some cases better than Thesis. For a non-commercial replacement look at Justin Tadlock’s Hybrid theme which is free to download from Justin and comes with very basic support. You can for a premium join the premium support club and get access to forums & tutorials.
Note: I’ve developed many sites on Thesis for clients and will continue to upon request, but I’m moving my personal sites to Genesis. After evaluating Genesis in more depth I’m expecting I’ll steer clients towards it as well.