Automattic’s roots are open source. Several of our engineering teams actively contribute to open source and view it as part of our four freedoms. As our CEO Matt Mullenweg puts it, “Good ideas aren’t the sole province of groups of people behind high walls, and software shouldn’t be either.”
Of course, WordPress.org is the base of the software used to power WordPress.com. And WordPress.com is synced nearly daily with the WordPress trunk. An Automattic team works full-time on the open source publishing platform WordPress, and we make public our discussions about our work.
We contribute to a number of projects (also including WP for iOS, WP for Android, P2 Theme, BuddyPress, bbPress, WP Job Manager, and WordCamp US), making most of our work available via the GPL.
However, we also understand (thanks to our engineering team’s recent user study on tech hiring) that our open source commitment can be a double-edged sword for some candidates and employees. We recognize the time commitment and open source culture isn’t for everyone and, as Cate Huston, lead of the Developer Experience team wrote, “We’re considering how to improve our messaging on this important value for our company.”
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We know that open-source is the best channel for developers to adopt new tools, and we want to be as transparent with our customers as we can. To that end, we embrace open source tools and workflows like Git, GitHub, and Pull Requests in our everyday work. Your work will be directly attributable back to you and users can directly converse with you as a result. For example, when Evan rolled out the Postgres plugin, he had a great discussion with a customer on the pull request about some of the nuances around Postgres SSL and authentication. We were able to build a more robust product that met the customer’s needs.
We encourage our users to contribute and communicate with us using these same tools. Our customer support process is via GitHub Issues, our Roadmap is public, and we even modify our employee handbook with pull requests. Grouparoo is “all-in” on open source.
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