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Modifying existing themes/open source assumptions?

  • #10398
    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    I want to modify the built-in simple theme, because it’s almost good enough for my purposes, but I want a little more controllability, a couple other page types with different styling, a few more knobs like menu text color, etc. etc.

    I’m pretty sure I’m able to do this with the simple theme, since it’s part of Publii/in the source code which is distributed under GPLv3. Is that correct?

    If I wanted to share my modifications with friends or publicly, what would I need to include, license-wise?

    What if I wanted to do this with other themes? I’m assuming that’s on a case-by-case basis, whatever licenses the theme maker decided to use?

    (I’m not asking about the technical how – that’s easy enough, the tutorials were good, so far I’ve been able to easily modify the theme source code and I’m assuming I can do some of it with theme overrides – I’m just asking about the usage/rights/licenses how, since I’m still unsure of how FLOSS stuff works.)

    TL;DR Publii itself is FLOSS, right? but I’m not sure about whether or how that extends to themes or not and would like someone to explain it to me.

    Avatar photo[anonymous]


    The Simple theme is one of the free themes. The page at: seems to show under 7, point 4,

    ‘The terms of use for free themes and add-ons are described in the GPL 3.0 e-license, which you can read here:’.

    Avatar photo[anonymous]

    Okay! So I’m definitely allowed to modify and use it, because GPL.

    Does this also means I’m required to make the theme source code public under GPL if I publish the website, because GPL? Or is it just that I have to use GPL if I choose to share the theme? (My understanding is that I don’t have to share the theme, because the website isn’t the software under that license, it’s made using the theme which is the software under that license, but if I do share a theme based on the simple theme it’s under GPL?)

    Avatar photo[anonymous]


    Probably, all your answers are in the Publii usage and download licences — though I admit, sometimes legal stuff is never fun to read or make sense of. 🙂

    Beyond what they put on the website and software, perhaps the forum admins @Bob or @Tomasz Dziuda could better answer your questions.

    Avatar photo[anonymous]


    In my opinion (as it is quite complicated in terms of GPL license) – if you want to use some GPL theme for your own, you can do it as you need. But if you want to share the theme – you should use the same license as it is a derivative work.

    I have found some useful summary: – please look especially for points 3-5. Maybe it will be helpful for your case