Revolution Themes Go Open Source

The past few days, I’ve been following Brian Gardner’s blog closely waiting for his announcement regarding this new “project” that he mentioned on his blog a couple weeks back. Many of his readers have been speculating on what the project would be.

Now the cat is out of the bag as Brian Gardner officially announced earlier today that Revolution Themes would go open source, meaning all themes would be released under a GPL license and in compliance with WordPress standards.

What happens to the previously released Revolution themes?

As of 12:00 midnight, Friday October 31st, the themes that are currently available at the Revolution theme site will no longer be available. Ever. This was a decision that I made in order to protect the integrity of the current themes and the conditions under which they were released. Over the past year I have built a community of Revolution users, and to freely offer up those themes would be completely unfair to them. My community matters to me, and this is how I have chosen to handle current themes.

If you’re a current customer and Revolution theme user, you don’t have to be worried because:

I do want to point out, as promised to users who’ve previously purchased the current Revolution themes, that there will be a section in the new support forum where we will continue to support those themes.

On November 1st, the Revolution Theme site will be relaunched with completely new themes that will all be released under the GPL license, meaning anyone can download it for FREE. For those who need support, need more options or wish to have a customized version of the theme, these services/features are available for a certain fee.

In this project, Brian has teamed up with Jason Schuller author of WP Elements and creator of the Massive News, TV. Elements, Video Elements WordPress themes. Prior to the official announcement of this project, Brian and Jason met up with Matt Mullenweg and Toni Schneider of Auttomatic to discuss this project and to make sure that the project would be in compliance with the GPL license and WordPress standards. The new Revolution project would be developed and supported by Brian and Jason but they aren’t in any way partnering with WordPress or are being employed by Automattic.

Brian Gardner has started another revolution in the premium themes industry. The first time he did it was when he released the Revolution theme that “revolutionized” and paved the way for premium themes today. With this new Revolution project that will release open source premium themes, the Revolution themes would definitely have a wider market or user base and more WordPress users will have the opportunity to use premium themes especially those who don’t have the budget to purchase one. For folks like me who have know HTML/CSS or know how to tweak WordPress themes, this is definitely good news because we can just download these themes and customize it ourselves.

It would be interesting to see/know what would be the reaction of current Revolution theme customers, other premium theme authors/vendors as well as the effect of this “revolution” on the WordPress premium theme industry.

If you’re a current Revolution user, what was your reaction when you first heard/read about this? To other WordPress users, what do you think about Revolution Themes going open source? Please share your thoughts and thanks for your time!

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  1. @archondigital – Same here. I’m glad that Brian took the open source path. This decision definitely raises the standard for free themes and will also create a new market for premium themes. Although I’m not sure if other premium theme authors would follow suit and start releasing themes under the GPL license.

    This is a win-win situation for Brian and his team and also for WordPress users. :D

  2. I support Brian Gardner’s decision in making the switch to offer his themes for free. This will raise the standard for free themes.

    In this move they would not be losing money but instead open more avenues of income as they will have more time getting high-paying consulting jobs and more paying clients instead of being stuck playing tech support with themes purchased previously purchased from them

  3. @fruityoaty – Really? Good for you! I wish I can attend an upcoming WordCamp one of these days. The problem is, most of the time they have it in SF which is like 8 hours away from my place. I hope they have one in LA soon.

    You got to talk to Matt too? Darn it, now I envy you more. Hehe Did you take pictures? Please do share!

  4. I actually saw Craig Tuller, the other guy (along with Brian Gardner) responsible for developing those fantastic Revolution themes. He was sitting right behind me @ the recent WordCamp Toronto. He actually announced during Q&A sesssion (after Matt Mullenweg’s presentation) that Revolution themes were going open source.

    WordCamp Toronto was so awesome… seeing these people behind all the great plugins I’ve been using.

    Got to sit at the same table during lunch time with 3 Automattic developers. And briefly got to talk with Mr. WordPress himself. Fun event, WordCamp.

  5. @jhay – I was thinking the same thing too but that’s not the case according to Brian.

    This is absolutely not true – in fact, sales have been as steady as ever. My theory is that the amount of people who were purchasing premium themes grew, so the market in general was increasing. There wasn’t a reduction in % split in the market for premium designers, it probably stayed the same, just more people buying them.

    I guess this decision is more of personal thing and his desire to contribute to the WordPress community but of course, this move also would attract more users and potential Revolution theme customers.

  6. I think it’s the natural cycle for paid premium themes, since demand and interest in them has dwindled this past years, going open-source is a better alternative to closing up shop.

    The free themes that overwhelm the paid premiums ones win again. Either way, it’s all good for us consumers. :mrgreen:

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