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b2/cafelog, more commonly known as simply b2 or cafelog, was the precursor to WordPress. b2/cafelog was estimated to have been employed on approximately 2,000 blogs as of May 2003. It was written in PHP for use with MySQL by Michel Valdrighi, who is now a contributing developer to WordPress. Although WordPress is the official successor, another project, b2evolution, is also in active development.
WordPress first appeared in 2003 as a joint effort between Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little to create a fork of b2. Christine Selleck Tremoulet, a friend of Mullenweg, suggested the name WordPress.
In 2004 the licensing terms for the competing Movable Type package were changed by Six Apart and many of its most influential users migrated to WordPress.By October 2009 the 2009 Open Source content management system Market Share Report reached the conclusion that WordPress enjoyed the greatest brand strength of any open-source content-management systems.
In 2007 WordPress won a Packt Open Source CMS Award.
In 2009 WordPress won the Packt best Open Source CMS Awards.
In 2010 WordPress won the Hall of Fame CMS category in the 2010 Open Source Awards.
In 2011 WordPress won the Open Source Web App of the Year Award at The Critters.
On July 10, 2007, following a discussion on the WordPress ideas forum and a post by Mark Ghosh in his blog Weblog Tools Collection, Matt Mullenweg announced that the official WordPress theme directory at https://themes.wordpress.net would no longer host themes containing sponsored links. Although this move was criticized by designers and users of sponsored themes, it was applauded by WordPress users who consider such themes to be spam. The official WordPress theme directory ceased to accept any new themes, including those without sponsored links, shortly after the announcement was made. Sponsored themes are still available elsewhere, as well as free themes with additional sponsored links added by third parties.
On July 18, 2008, a new theme directory opened on WordPress.org, styled along the same lines as the plug-ins directory. Any theme that is uploaded to it will be vetted, first by an automated program and then by a human.
On December 12, 2008, over 200 themes were removed from the WordPress theme directory as they did not comply with GPL License requirements. Today, author mentions are permitted in each theme but the official policy does not allow for sponsorships or links to sites distributing non-GPL compatible themes. Non-GPL compliant themes are now hosted on other theme directories.
WordPress releases are codenamed after well-known jazz musicians, starting after version 1.0.
After the release of WordPress 3.0, the development team took a release cycle off from the WordPress software to focus on expanding and improving the WordPress community. WordPress 3.1 was subsequently released in February, 2011. With version 3.2, released on July 4, 2011, the minimum requirement PHP version and MySQL were raised as well.