Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor

Open Source Design

While looking at Google Analytics for this site, I started noticing some unknown page titles. It was immediately obvious that a few people had taken the source from GitHub and started using it with their own content.

It took me a significant amount of time to get Jekyll functioning exactly as I wanted it to. The reason for putting the source on GitHub—other than to host it on GitHub Pages—was so that people could peep the code, and to learn how to use Jekyll, just as I had done.

However, I never intended the design to be reused. The last iteration of this site was ripped off. It wasn’t on GitHub, but it was a 100% static site, so the source was available with any browser. There’s a general understanding in the web community that stealing design is wrong; there was no doubt that this was a ripoff.1

But when the source is on GitHub, I can somewhat see the other side of the argument: ‘it’s on GitHub, that means I can take it and do with it what I please’. But I’m not sure that’s right. Just because it’s there for you to see, doesn’t mean it’s there for you to use entirely as you wish. That’s why many repositories contain licenses.

I don’t think it’s right, but I can see the grey area.

I should’ve stripped out the design and open sourced it as a sandbox/boilerplate. I should’ve included a licence.2 I shouldn’t of assumed that people wouldn’t take it in its entirety. It is now a private repository.

I’d love to hear people’s opinions on this. Hit me up on Twitter or

  1. There was lively debate about this on both Twitter and Dribbble. All of which have disappeared from the internet. However, I still have .webarchive’s.

  2. I wonder if this would’ve made a difference.

Have a comment? @me on Twitter.