WordPress 3.1 temporarily integrates Django?

This is another reason I enjoy Open Source.

Earlier today WordPress announced its 3.1 release with codename “Django” (The page has since changed). Checkout Hacker News to see more specific details about how this unfolded.

The basics go like this:

  1. Matt M. posts a release announcement in the WordPress.org news. The post details that the 3.1 release is codenamed “Django” after Jazz musician Django Reinhardt. It is worth noting that WordPress always names their releases after Jazz Musicians, even if you were not aware of the practice.2. The announcement hits Hacker News (and probably other locations), and Python users start their WTF campaign. Trademarks, copyrights, respect, good practice, etc.
  2. Notably, Jacob K (from Django) posts a reasonable and tempered request for a change to the codename.
  3. Within about an hour, Matt M. updates the post; and now you will find that WordPress 3.1 will be codenamed “Reinhardt”, in honor of Django Rienhardt.

A couple of posts highlight possible legal issues of the codename, and there are a few fan-boy/troll posts shifting one way or the other. But in the end, a couple of high-level representatives for Django and WordPress had a documented interaction, and the result was WordPress deciding it would be better to use “Reinhardt” as the 3.1 codename.

No litigation, no major concern over one organization or the other. Just two representatives coming to a reasonable solution in the face of a minor outcry from the public (or the Hacker News community, at least).

Was this an intentional poke? Or maybe a push to get the word out quickly about the release? Possibly. But I think the end result is a good one for both parties. WordPress makes a minor concession, everyone can cool down over the minor controversy, and both organizations can keep on working.

I know this is not a strictly accurate comparison, but I’m going with it: When the next poor hardware startup surfaces with their “iStick” (or some such device) that was patented quietly in 2002, and Apple pays tens of thousands of dollars to bury the company in legal fees so that they will concede any patents/trademarks that sound too “Apple”, I’ll sit back, remember this minor WordPress/Django codename fiasco, and appreciate open source and the value of reasonable discourse.

As an aside, at the rate that patents and trademarks are moving, aren’t we going to run out of words soon? It seems like a new project would be wise to start codenaming their releases by prepositioned colors (or something as obscure), just to be safe. Except, don’t use prepositioned colors, I think I will reserve that technique. I kind of like the idea of a 2.4 “after blue” release, to follow up 2.3 “in magenta”.

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