Mullenweg has a must-read post about the valuable role WordPress – and open source software in general – plays in the world. The whole thing is great but this is the bit that stuck out at me in particular:

What they miss is that WordPress isn’t a checklist of features. It’s over 29,000 plugins created by the community, from the in-demand things like SEO to niche features like using your 404 page to help adopt homeless dogs in Sweden. Every WordPress site looks different, because of the thousands of themes available. Instead of one event to outdo, there are more than 70 volunteer-organized WordCamps on six continents (and there’ll be more in 2014).

via The Four Freedoms | Matt Mullenweg.

It may be a bit of rationalization on my part, but I do consider myself a “contributor” to WordPress, despite the fact that I’ve never contributed a single line of code, use a free theme on this blog and so on. But my embracing WordPress and evangelizing its benefits to others I do feel I’m doing at least something to contribute to the platform. Luckily I work with some world-class developers who are doing real work, so part of me also feels like they make up whatever ground I may be slacking in.

I remember years and years ago when I first experienced WordPress it just felt right. After using Blogger for a while I was able to snag an invite from Auburn professor Robert French to build a blog on his PRBlogs system. Shortly after that I got my “golden ticket” to start my own WP blog – this one – at a time when they were being doled out on a somewhat limited basis. Every other platform has paled in comparison.