Leaders and the greater good
We [WordPress developers] are living in an open source licensed micro-universe. All we code and create has to first serve the greater good (freedom of use) and then our self. That’s a fact and the license under which we contribute (GPL or any compatible) takes care about that. Well, that’s only half of the truth, because then there’s also the WordPress Foundation. To clarify what exactly this foundation does, we probably just have to look at the index page of the foundations website.
The WordPress Foundation is a charitable organization founded by Matt Mullenweg to further the mission of the WordPress open source project: to democratize publishing through Open Source, GPL software. (…) The point of the foundation is to ensure free access, in perpetuity, to the software projects we support. (…) As part of this mission, the Foundation will be responsible for protecting the WordPress, WordCamp, and related trademarks.
This all sounds nice and there’s even a bunch of buzz words in there, that make it sound even nicer: democratize, open source, GPL, free access, etc. Now that words all imply something. Namely a democratic structure and open doors and an open ear for the community. At least the foundation is like the communities Shepherd. From what one can read on the WPF site, it does quite a bit of that. WPF organizes WordCamps, pays for video equipment and seems to run WordPress.tv(?).
So far we’ve seen a fair amount of activity that sometimes clearly states that it was done by the WordPress Foundation and sometimes just implies it. And then there was the point where the foundation “protected” the Trademark against Jake Caputo. And this was the same day the following question was raised:
Who exactly is the WordPress Foundation? Who “runs” it?
This simple question gets asked in different places now. But to answer that question, I thought the easiest thing would be to ask Matt Mullenweg directly.
— Franz Josef Kaiser (@unserkaiser) 26. Januar 2013
Sadly I haven’t gotten any answer. So me and some other guys tried to answer that question our selves and did some research. The only hint were the “News” posts, as the WPF site says nothing about its members, it’s board (does it have one?) or about any community decisions that were or are going to be made. And those (four) posts are written by Jen Mylo, formerly known as Jane Wells, and Matt Mullenweg. Digging a little further and you’ll find out the EIN# 205498932. This allows us to check the WordPress Foundation via the IRS and the Office of the Attorney General. And this is where it ends. No further information aside from the name M.Mullenweg and a nice address in South Beach San Francisco.
The question I ask is simple: Who in detail is “the Foundation” and if this is confidential, could we please know why?