Modifications policy changes, upcoming modification site upgrade, and more…


Over the past several years we’ve listened to feedback from hundreds of members pertaining to our policies, or lack thereof, on plugins, modifications, and themes. This blog post will specifically address the changes we plan on implementing at our Official Community Forums and on our Official Modifications Site.

As most of you know, any plugin, code modification, theme, or graphics set on the MyBB modifications site are made available to you both free of charge and free of restriction in the sense and spirit of the open source community. We do this on a set of common ideals for which the MyBB Group believes will place this community in the right direction. To continue this effort we have decided to make some changes, outlined below. (If you have any questions, please first read this blog post to its entirety)

First are the changes we will be making to our policies on plugins, code modifications, and themes.

Policy Changes

  • Effective immediately, you will not be able to post new threads on modifications in the Releases forums of the Plugins & Code Modifications and Themes and Templates sections that are not provided on the MyBB Modifications Site. This does not affect threads that were there previously and can continue to be operated as normal.
  • As soon as the updates to the MyBB Modifications site are in place, the Releases forums of the Plugins & Code Modifications and Themes and Templates sections will be archived and new Release forums will be created which will be synchronized directly to the Official MyBB Modifications site. Once the old section has been archived, you will be able to continue to read your old threads but not continue to post or update them. This change is meant to start us off fresh.
  • As soon as the updates to the MyBB Modifications site are in place, the Discussion & Support forums will be archived and new Discussion & Support forums will be created to start off fresh with the new Releases forum. Essentially, it will be the Official Modifications Site Support Forum and we will begin to moderate it as such.
  • As soon as the updates to the MyBB Modifications site are in place, the Requests forum will be archived and will not be replaced by a new forum. We believe that the old system of requests creates a mindset of monetary value for these requests instead of intrinsic value. We hope that more people will create plugins for their own needs and release them to the community to benefit and as practice.
  • As soon as the updates to the MyBB Modifications site are in place, the Development forum will be more strict. We ask you only to post development discussions instead of items that are under development and won’t be available on the official MyBB Modifications site. We will ask the community to help us keep this forum in order by reporting threads and posts which don’t follow this guideline.
  • When MyBB 1.6 is released to the general public, the license will also be changed to LGPL. Further information about the difference between the GPL and the LGPL can be found below.
  • Between now and MyBB 2.0 we will also be working on a larger revamp of our modifications systems. Our aim to become the central and primary place where people go to get modifications and where developers go to submit them. More details on this are outlined further down in this blog post.

In summary, the MyBB Themes & Modifications sections of community forums have become a breeding ground for most everything but the Themes & Modifications sections for the MyBB Modifications Site. We are, in essence, taking it back to its original purpose.

Modification Site Upgrades and Changes

The policy amendments outlined above are the first step in a larger round of changes planned for the official modifications community, which will include the development of several enhancements and new features to the MyBB Mods website. A follow-up blog post will be made in the coming weeks outlining the planned changes in more detail but in the meantime here are a few areas in which you can expect to see changes in the future.

  • Automated release announcements (as detailed above)
  • Improvements to download organization and searching
  • Improvements to the submission validation procedure
  • New archiving features

The upcoming changes are based both on user feedback and our own ideas and visions for the future. We look forward to sharing more details with you soon.

Future plans for the modification system on

In the future, we plan to be providing a system where we support both commercial and non-commercial resources. Initial work would be submitted under an OSI-approved license – and, by using a promotion system involving user and quality ratings, can be upgraded to a commercial (or custom) license. This system would mean authors are encouraged to produce good plugins, provide upgrades and keep them up to date before gaining “Trusted Developer” status and the ability to provide commercial modifications through

Modification Policy Changes FAQ

1. Will Paid Plugins or Themes be completely removed or banned?

No, they won’t. You will still be able to advertise them in your signature, post your MyBB sites in the Showcase forum, and provide services in the Requests/Services/Jobs forums. You will not be allowed to post threads in the Plugins & Code Modifications and Themes and Templates sections that are not/will not be on the MyBB Modifications Site.

2. Will the MyBB Modification Site allow paid modifications or non-GPL compatible licenses?

At this time we do not have any plans to allow either of these. We cannot allow non-GPL compatible licenses right now on the MyBB modifications site at this time and we have no plans to allow them. We have plans to eventually launch a central shop for these paid/proprietary modifications but with certain limitations and required processes, as outlined above.

3. So does that mean I cannot sell my MyBB modifications?

No, you are free to provide your own services in the Requests/Services/Jobs forum and sell your own modifications where ever you’d like outside of the MyBB Community Release Forums. These changes, apart from the upcoming license change, have nothing to do with the MyBB Software itself, just to the Plugins & Code Modifications and Themes and Templates sections on the MyBB Community Forums and the MyBB Modifications site.

In fact, the GNU/GPL allows you to sell your plugins for monetary value and we have no disagreement with that. When MyBB 1.6 comes, which will be on the LGPL, you will also be legally able to distribute or sell your modifications under non-GPL compatible licenses.

Please note that we will not be sending out C&D notices to those of you already distributing non-GPL-compatible derivative works (plugins, themes, or code modifications).

4. Can I still run paid plugins on my MyBB forum?

Yes, you definitely can. These changes will in no way effect your MyBB forum in any way. I can’t be any clearer when I say these changes, past the MyBB 1.6 license change, only affect specifically the MyBB Community Forums and the MyBB Modifications Site.

5. What is the difference between the GPL and the LGPL?
Wikipedia defines the main difference as follows: “The LGPL places copyleft restrictions on the program itself but does not apply these restrictions to other software that merely links with the program. There are, however, certain other restrictions on this software.”

What this basically means is that modifications (plugins, themes, code modifications, etc) created for MyBB will be able to released under proprietary licenses. This is not a change from our current stance, merely a clarification, or ‘fix’ if you will, to our previous license terms.

6. So what is the MyBB Group’s stance on using proprietary licenses on modifications?

We believe that proprietary licenses, while they have their uses, hinder the continued “innovation” mindset so we strongly discourage you to do this if you’re not a professional. There is certainly a place and a use for protecting your code from senseless redistribution if you have a good business plan, but it is only a good idea if you’re a professional who knows what they are doing and can provide the support, services, maintenance, and upgrades to their modifications.  We encourage you to evaluate the actual value of what you are thinking of selling before releasing a modification with a proprietary license.

7. Are these plans set in stone?

As the saying goes, plans are just plans and plans always change. While this does represent what the MyBB Group plans to do, we can never 100% ensure this is exactly how things will workout in the end.

Thank you for taking your time to read this exhaustive blog post.

The MyBB Team

25 thoughts on “Modifications policy changes, upcoming modification site upgrade, and more…

  1. While I’d have preferred the strict FOSS route, at the very least this step should help clear up the confusion that’s been around on various forums lately. Thanks for finally releasing the blog post.

    Let’s hope things settle down from hereon now, because the one thing that’s even more annoying than paid plugins is the never ending free vs. paid discussions.

    Looking forward to the improvements of the modification site. Good luck to everyone involved in the development process.

  2. paid plugins must be paid plugins, it’s true that MyBB It’s a free software, but plugin developers takes days and days with no rest to give awesome features to MyBB.

    Supporting them paying a little quantity of money, is the best way to thank them

  3. Is the URL change also planned??

    From to something like

  4. You guys should consider developing some sort of widget to show our plugins in the new MyBB Mods System on our sites. I would be happy to switch if this was available.

  5. Does this mean that to make any kind of release, the plugin/theme must be LGPL compatible? And does that mean people with access to plugins/themes will be able to modify and re-distribute as they wish?

  6. @RPicard, that’s a good idea. We should look into that

    @combus, the LGPL removes the limitation of requiring you to be on a “GPL compatible license”.

  7. @combus, as stated in the blog post we won’t be sending out C&D notices on this issue. If we were enforcing the conflicted part of the GPL, there would be a lot more problems going around.

    We want to encourage development and releasing – No one is going to stop you just because of a licensing conflict on our part. That’s how it’s always been ever since we found out of the licensing conflict.

  8. @Ryan Gordon: I think I understand that the GPL licensing is only required if the modification will be added to the Mod database, right? But while the Release forums are not integrated with the mode database, can we still release mods/themes that are not necessarily GPL but CreativeCommons (for example)?

  9. @combus, No, that’s actually not currently true. You can put in your own licenses on the mods site as well. You just can’t change for plugins/themes on the mods site.

    However, as you’ll note on the upcoming policy changes outlined in the blog post, that will be changing once the new mods site is complete.

    Creative Commons doesn’t apply to mods/themes.

  10. @Ryan Gordon:
    How does Creative Commons not apply to mods/themes? You can put almost everything under CC if you wish. And especially themes are creative work (or at least should be) and would fit nicely in CC I think.

  11. Not sure if that will temp me to move to mybb from phpbb.

    Why should one pay for mods for a free product in the first place?

    I understand if the author ask for a donation, but when someone is forced to pay for a plugin for a piece of software that is free, it a different story. Also just because you paid for a plugin, it does not mean that you will get better support. Just my views.

  12. @Ryan Gordon: When you stated that “You can put in your own licenses on the mods site as well. You just can’t change for plugins/themes on the mods site.”. You mean that I can still use other licenses aside GPL, at this moment. But it won’t be applicable when the new mods site is complete, and by that time whatever I released will be depreciated along the old mods site.

    I really hope the new blog post comes along soon, because I don’t want to start releasing stuff that will be archived in a really short time due a yet another change on the licensing scheme. I am honestly concerned about how this is going to end up.

  13. combus, at this point it is up to Alan Crisp whether or not he wants to remove the ability to add custom licenses in the next version. It will be legal to do so when we MyBB 1.6 is on the LGPL but whether or not Alan decides to allow them on the mods site is not decided yet.

    We will definitely be allowing these type of licenses in the future, but there will be processes you will have to go through and certain limitations in order to do so first.

    We don’t just want somebody coming along and releasing a paid, proprietary mod and then never supporting or maintaining it. The processes and limitations will relate to how we regulate that on the new version.

    I’m not sure what you mean by archived, but we won’t remove anything you put up on the mods site, as long as it doesn’t contain a virus (or something to that effect), combus.

  14. Thanks for the clarification Ryan. From the beginning I thought the GPL was going to be enforced on every single plugin/theme to be added to the mods site, and the whole blog post seemed to confirm it (or at least until MyBB 1.6 and v2 come out). So that was my major concern, not being able to release anything at all, because I’m not releasing anything with a GPL license in a near future.

    Also, by archived I meant like what was going to happen to the old mods section, and old forums.

    Though, I think I’m much more clear on the licensing issue now, Thanks Ryan.

  15. Excellent move! I had thought about developing addons/integrations for MyBB in the past but was worried about the GPL license. Glad you are moving to less restrictive license this should help bring more people to MyBB along with the new domain.

  16. Interesting point: you do know that if someone buys a GPL paid plugin they’re good to just give it away for free?

    I support this motion, because it means that those who want to make things for a small cost have a little more protection against being shafted.

    Might even have to try MyBB out again, see if it’s worth moving from SMF.

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