What is the WordPress Foundation and Why Does it Exist?

The WordPress Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission to democratize publishing through open source, General Public License (GPL) software. Established in January 2010, the Foundation strives to ensure free access, in perpetuity, to the software projects we support.

The WordPress Foundation has a unique history. While it’s true that the organization is eponymously named, our work extends beyond the WordPress project. In this article, we’ll cover just that: what the WordPress Foundation stands for and why our mission matters.

The heart of the matter: open source

“If you believe (as I do) that software constitutes at once some of the core tools and core rules for the future of how human beings work together to create wealth, beauty, new ideas, and solutions to problems, then understanding how open source can change those processes is very important,” says Steven Weber in The Success of Open Source.

Imagine if you couldn’t use the various software that is fundamental to technology right now, be it WordPress, Linux, Android, or something else. Many of the tools we use may not be as commonly available without open source, as intellectual property rights could restrict that access.

But open source challenges the idea of property, as Weber explains in his book:

“The conventional notion of property is, of course, the right to exclude you from using something that belongs to me. Property in open source is configured fundamentally around the right to distribute, not the right to exclude. If that sentence feels awkward on first reading, that is a testimony to just how deeply embedded in our intuitions and institutions the exclusion view of property really is.”

At its core, open source is based on the power of community and collaboration. By bringing people together, these projects leverage the combined perspectives and knowledge to create something more remarkable—and available to everyone—than what we can achieve individually. 

The WordPress Foundation is here to ensure that open source software is part of the future. Human beings may have limited life spans, but our efforts don’t have to. Our organization wants to ensure that the source code for projects like WordPress will survive beyond the current contributor base, so we may create a stable web publishing platform for generations to come.

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