One of the greatest things about WordPress and the WordPress community is that the plugins and themes are all released under the GPL License but for some people this poses a problem, and I can understand why.
Some developers and designers would like to make a some money off of the hard work that they do. Some spend ten or twenty or even more hours creating a theme like Michael Heilemann who is the creator of the Kubrick theme, and who is working on the K2 theme for WordPress. Doesn’t such an individual deserve some monetary compensation? Or should the warm fuzzy feeling they get from working on such a widely respected design and code structure be enough of a reward?
Currently, I have seen a few offerings for packed installs of WordPress being distributed for a small fee. In them, many themes, and plugins are packaged together. The themes are modified to take advantage of the plugins and so the person has done some extra work to make WordPress more versatile when first installed. So then when a person takes that package, and that hard work, and spreads it around the net for free, should the person that originally took the time to make everything work correctly be upset? I have also seen places where downloading their WordPress theme requires a payment of a couple of dollars, but if that person turns around after downloading it and distributes it to the world, is there anything the theme author can really do except hope that more people come to their site, than the person giving it away for free?
I think the GPL is great, and I think that the original authors should always get credit for their hard work, in the form of a link back to whatever site they want. I also believe that providing a service is much more reasonable when it comes to WordPress, but I wish there was a better structure to compensate the individuals that take massive amounts of time out of their day to create beautiful themes, and plugins for the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of WordPress users.
I am sure that if Michael Heilemann was given even just one American dollar for every five Kubrick and K2 installs, he would need to buy another apartment to hold it all. Think about that for a minute next time you complain about a plugin, theme or even WordPress, as the majority of the people that make the software work as well as it does, are doing so for free, using time they could instead be working on a project that would make them money.