I recently learned that WordPress-MU and WordPress are going to be merging soon. OK, I’m a few weeks late hearing the news, but I have a good excuse – it’s been a crazy month for me! The announcement was made by Matt Mullenweg during his State of The Word speech at WordCamp.
The plan is to merge the multi-user parts of WordPress-MU into the normal WordPress setup, and the current MU project will be closed down – because it won’t be needed any more.
Is this a good thing? Well, I think it’s good news in some ways – WordPress-MU has always lagged a little behind normal WordPress, and it will be nice to see more coders working on the multi-user features, and it will be nice to be able to go to the normal WordPress community for support. Having two projects that were so similar was a bit of a waste of resources.
On the other hand – what will the move be like? Even normal upgrades aren’t without hurdles. Merging the two codebases sounds like a recipe for many hours of plugin and workaround wrangling. How many plugins will break? How many people will run into database issues?
Also – how many new users will see the ‘multi user’ option, turn it on for their simple WordPress install on an oversold shared hosting account, and bring the server to its knees when huge numbers of spam bots swarm it to create ‘splog’ accounts? Right now, you have to make a concious decision to install MU, and a lot of ‘normal users’ don’t even know it exists. Are most cheap web hosts ready for MU to become another option users can go “Oooh, what’s this button do?” with?