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Revolution Theme To Become Open Source

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In case you haven’t heard, Brian Gardner has just announced the Revolution Theme will become open source. I was honestly shocked when I heard this news just yesterday. With all the debate going on about the ethics of premium themes recently, perhaps Brian (and Jason Schuller) decided it was time to go along with the true “spirit” of WordPress. This move has its support from Matt Mullenweg and Automattic CEO Toni Schneider.

Here are some quick facts about the change:

  • The current Revolution Themes will be available until October 31st
  • After that, a brand new site with new GPL themes will take effect.
  • All current customers will continue to receive support on their purchase(s)
  • The New Revolution will sell packages that include support, tutorials, and customization

So what’s my take on this? While I’m not convinced this is the best move from a pure monetary perspective, only time will tell. Brian and Jason are obviously two great developers, and the new Revolution will certainly give new meaning to the term “free premium theme.” I do believe this will truly shake up the premium theme market in a big way.

How do you think this will affect the premium theme market, and WordPress community in general?


Leland Fiegel was the original founder of ThemeLab. He is a web developer who loves WordPress and blogging.

  • Josh

    I own the All Inclusive package for Revolution themes and I think it’s an interesting change of business. Like you I don’t know that the monetary side of it will work out but Apple does this successfully with the AppleCare plans.

    There are still some excellent premium WordPress themes out there (Thesis being my top pick) and with the number of options being integrated by each I felt the Revolution themes were falling behind in built-in features anyway.

    On another note I’d like to say how well I think Brian Gardner is handling the transition from premium theme to free theme with premium support. Closing the vault on the original Revolution themes was a very classy and smart move.

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  • Leland

    @Josh: I think Brian’s main objective was to become “aligned” with WordPress. Now that I think about it more, it may be a smart move in the long term.

    There’s an interesting discussion going on over here about other premium themes out there. Nathan Rice posted a comment which made a lot of sense: “As long as themes are selling, why make them free?”

    And yes, although I have not purchased any Revolution Themes myself, I have heard nothing but the best things about Brian and his support. I’m sure the transition will go smoothly.

    Thanks for the comment.

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