Profile0 - Wordpress
2015 03 12
Wordpress is a gigantic thing. It powers (at least) 23% of the web. (http://w3techs.com/technologies/details/cm-wordpress/all/all) We wanted to dive deeper into what the community looks like that generates such a massively popular piece of software.
It was also one of the suggested ones, so that is also a reason.
- Is the subject of your profile a corporate entity?
- Automattic is the corporate entity
- What type?
- When was it founded?
- By whom?
- Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little
- Original founder(s) still active?
- Matt Mullenweg is still active on the project. Mike Little is no longer active on the project.
- Publicly Traded? Since when? Initial Stock Price? Current stock price?
- Automattic/Wordpress is not publically traded.
- Has the company made any acquisitions? If yes, which companies, and what were their core products?
- Gravatar - Avatars
- BuddyPress - Social networking on a blog
- IntenseDebate - Commenting service
- Polldaddy - Surveys and polls
- Blo.gs - Directory of blogs
- After The Deadline - Spell checker
- Plinky - Writing prompts
- Code Garage - Backups and security scanning
- Simperium and Simplenote - Note taking and data synchronization
- Poster - Wordpress mobile app
- Lean Domain Search - Domain name search
- Cloudup - File-sharing service
- Longreads - Sharing service for long form posts
- Scroll Kit - Visual HTML editor
- Parka - Security scanning
- Code For the People - Wordpress development firm
- Source: http://wptavern.com/a-look-back-at-16-automattic-acquisitions-since-2007)
- Has the company made any investments in other companies? If yes, which ones.
- No they have not. They normally just purchase the companies.
- Number of Employees?
- Where is HQ?
- Does it have any other offices or locations?
- Does your organization file any annual reports? Please include links to any relevant documents (i.e. 990, Annual Report, Year in Review, etc...)
- Does your subject participate in social media? If yes, please list a URL for each account, and reach within that community. (i.e. Twitter: @RedHatNews - 61.9K Followers.
- Twitter: @wordpress - 442K followers
- What communication channels does your subject use to reach their public? Briefly describe and include a URL for each.
- Users of the SaaS product can get notifications and other info on their landing pages. Users of their own installations can get similar notifications.
- The Twitter handle mentioned above appears to be more or less a release log.
- Does your subject organize or participate in any conferences? If so, list them here, and provide links to any relevant sessions, keynotes, or content.
Your subject likely runs or contributes to one or more Open Source products or projects. Choose one (or more) of these and answer the following questions:
- If applicable, list and provide links to:
- The project's IRC Channel
- Source Code repository
- Mail list archive
- Other communication channels
- Project Website and/or Blog
- Describe the software project, its purpose and goals.
- Give brief history of the project. When was the Initial Commit? The latest commit?
- First commit: Tue Apr 1 06:17:43 2003 +0000
- Probably in the last 24 hours.
- Who approves patches? How many people?
- It appears that the people who approve patches and those who have commit access are the same group.
- Who has commit access, or has had patches accepted? How many total?
- There are 42 people in the log of the SVN, so most likely a number smaller than 42 (assuming some people have since retired from contributing).
- Has there been any turnover in the Core Team? (i.e. has the top 20% of contributors stayed the same over time? If not, how has it changed?)
- Does the project have a BDFL, or Lead Developer? (BDFL == Benevolent Dictator for Life)
- Are the front and back end developers the same people? What is the proportion of each?
- There are 4 people listed as “design”, so we will call them front end devs for our purposes. Discarding the non-differentiated “contributing developers”, that leaves a 4/6 split for frontend/backend.
- What have been some of the major bugs/problems/issues that have arisen during development? Who is responsible for quality control and bug repair?
- A vast majority of Wordpress vulns are a result of third-party plugins, and as such, do not fall under the umbrella of the core project.
- No major bugs / vulns in core Wordpress were highly publicized.
- How is the project's participation trending and why?
- The project’s number of contributors is difficult to gauge accurately - because of the architecture of the community, a large number of contributions via patches get “filtered” through a smaller number of people. As such, the number of contributors has remained roughly the same over time. (https://www.openhub.net/p/wordpress)
- In your opinion, does the project pass "The Raptor Test?" (i.e. Would the project survive if the BDFL, or most active contributor were eaten by a Velociraptor?) Why or why not?
- Yes, because there are numerous people with access to the main repo.
- In your opinion, would the project survive if the core team, or most active 20% of contributors, were hit by a bus? Why or why not?
- Maybe not - the access to the main repo seems limited at best, and consequently the most active are the ones who have access.
- Does the project have an official "on-boarding" process in place? (new contributor guides, quickstarts, communication leads who focus specifically on newbies, etc...)
- Does the project have Documentation available? Is it extensive? Does it include code examples?
- Both sets of documentation are extensive.
- If you were going to contribute to this project, but ran into trouble or hit blockers, who would you contact, and how?
- Asking in the Slack most likely, but it appears to be invite only / requires approval before accounts can be created.
- Based on these answers, how would you describe the decision making structure/process of this group? Is it hierarchical, consensus building, ruled by a small group, barely contained chaos, or ruled by a single or pair of individuals?
- It’s a small group - one can only make changes with discrete patch files, not pull requests. Patches are submitted to the bug tracker (https://core.trac.wordpress.org/) and assessed / merged from there by core devs.
- Is this the kind of structure you would enjoy working in? Why, or why not?
- While the strict structure resulted in a very robust and very stable core product, it feels difficult to contribute. It also feels a little too reliant on a small group of people.
Technology/Product (Section adapted from EFF Worksheet)
- Who invented, created, or sponsored the technology?
- Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little founded Automattic Inc. to (initially) work on Wordpress.
- What was the technology designed to do? How was it used?
- Who would benefit from using this technology?
- Anyone who wants to publish content, written or otherwise, easily online.
- What kinds of companies or organizations (stakeholders) might have been concerned about the development of this technology? Why?
- Developers of other (commercial) blogging platforms, governments wishing to squelch dissent, and people who generally dislike blogs for whatever reason.
- Did an aspect of copyright law play a role in controversies about the technology? How?