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Movable Type RIP
May 13, 2004 7:37 AM   Subscribe

I'm done with Movable Type. After months of little useful communications about their plans, Ben and Mena have for all intents and purposes ditched the free version of their once-shining weblogging software. Now, MT is a "publishing platform" that costs at least $69 (with limited functionality). Lucky for us that, while MT slept, we have discovered a much improved and free Blogger, a truly open source WordPress, and a similarly priced but more powerful ExpressionEngine.
posted by johnnydark (192 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
And let me recommend the excellent - and completely free and open source - b2evolution.
posted by humuhumu at 7:41 AM on May 13, 2004


Those trackbacks kick ass! Hoist by their own petard, heh heh heh.
posted by bonaldi at 7:44 AM on May 13, 2004


Yes, there will be a free version of Movable Type 3.0. With the new licenses going in effect today we will continue our tradition of offering a fully functional free version, there will also be a large variety of paid licenses that come with the structured support that we never felt that we could give our donors enough of.

Emphasis theirs. I don't see it being ditched; it looks like they're just releasing a better paid version while maintaining a working free one for personal publishers. What's wrong with that?
posted by brownpau at 7:46 AM on May 13, 2004


...Ben and Mena have for all intents and purposes ditched the free version of their once-shining weblogging software.

Correction: Six Apart have "ditched" the free version.

As I mentioned in an email this morning, I think this is the moment when for many people Six Apart transitions from "Ben and Mena" to "The Company."
posted by hijinx at 7:47 AM on May 13, 2004


Followup: Oh, okay, I just looked at the paid author limits and tried the license chooser, and I see what the hubbub is all about. Doesn't really affect me, I guess. I'm just a single author with a couple of weblogs anyway. Sucks to be a commercial-collaborative MT-user, though.
posted by brownpau at 7:49 AM on May 13, 2004


I'm disappointed with MT. During the past few months communication from the company has been awful, and has really created an environment in which a lot of people are going to be angry about the new licensing.

Blogging software is so simple that, really, it shouldn't be something we should have to pay for. I'm not suggesting a free lunch from Six Apart; what I am saying is that we should get behind open source publishing apps like WordPress. How free, democratic, open, and creative can our words be if they are trapped within proprietary software?
posted by tranquileye at 7:50 AM on May 13, 2004


Once WordPress goes multi-blog I may just jump in - it is a classy, simple tool.
posted by ao4047 at 7:57 AM on May 13, 2004


It appears that everyone needs to do two things:

1. Breathe
2. Breathe again, this time deeper

Everyone raise their hands who have been using MT without sending any money to 6A? Mine is raised. I have been free-loading on a great product for some time now. That being said, what I don't understand is, today MT3.0 Developer Edition came out with a pricing structure. Will there be a MT3.0 [non-developer] version? And if not, if the only license is for 1 author and 3 blogs, don't upgrade. And the notion of our words being, "trapped within proprietary software" is somewhat preposterous. You can export from MT and software like Textpattern to Wordpress imports them easily and freely. No offense, but I think we can all ratchet down the hysteria for the time being.
posted by plemeljr at 8:00 AM on May 13, 2004


What is meant by "limited functionality"? Looking at the Movable Type Free option (there on the bottom right of that page), it seems that there is no less functionality than what currently exists and no crippling of features except for the new author and blog limits.

The commercial-use licence is not new; it used to cost $150.
posted by mcwetboy at 8:01 AM on May 13, 2004


wow, i just found this out and man does it suck. I have TWO authors in movabletype so it looks like it's either pay the 70 bucks or move everything to wordpress. or something similar i suppose.

agreed that it's getting kind of crazy in here, but such is to be expected when the CMS most use suddenly starts talking about pricing.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:03 AM on May 13, 2004


While not suitable for everyone, Blosxom does the job for me.
posted by wobh at 8:06 AM on May 13, 2004


Blogging software is so simple that, really, it shouldn't be something we should have to pay for.

Rudimentary weblogging software is simple, but Movable Type is a sophisticated content management system that supports third-party plug-ins and a bunch of other stuff that's not remotely simple to develop or maintain. I'm writing a 500-page, forest-clearing book on Movable Type 3.0, and I'm worried I won't have enough space to document all of its functionality.

People have a weird sense of entitlement with commercial software that's offered for free. Have you ever offered anything on the Internet for free that takes significant time and work to maintain? As the End of Free weblog demonstrates, very few commercial projects stay free forever. They either start charging or go belly up.
posted by rcade at 8:07 AM on May 13, 2004


P.s. Those of you who are thinking about quitting Movable Type over this should invite your audience to donate the license fee. If any of my favorite Movable Type sites is struggling to pay this, I'll gladly pitch in if asked.
posted by rcade at 8:08 AM on May 13, 2004


i'm a bit confused after reading through a couple MT/sixapart pages.

aside from supporting the company, what benefits, feature-wise, do i receive by paying for MT?
posted by lotsofno at 8:09 AM on May 13, 2004


Good thing I didn't make the move then. And Blogger's improving although the new comments are a little wonky. I've had the new interface compared to a 6th grader's drawings.

But it works and that's all I really need.
posted by fenriq at 8:14 AM on May 13, 2004


plemeljr, I can indeed export from MT to something else. In fact, I am going to have to because MT is no longer sold at a price and with a feature set that makes sense to me. And the migration will be a problem, because there always are when one moves from one platform or format to another. Being trapped doesn't mean one can't escape, just that escape is, at least, difficult.

I am going to choose a platform from someone who won't try to leverage my dependence on them to get more money out of me, so it will either be something open source or (less likely) a competent, professional commercial enterprise. I donated to MT early on and could forgive their mistakes and failures to communicate when the cost was low; if they want to charge me a lot more, I have to trust that they can deliver, and comparing them to the competition they aren't looking so hot right now.
posted by tranquileye at 8:17 AM on May 13, 2004


for all intents and purposes ditched the free version

The title of the post being linked to starts with "commitment to a free version." Did people lose their shit like this when Blogger Pro finally came out? You think 6A can have a company with 20 or 30 people and have the product used by tons of major corporations and remain pretty much free?

If you so despise the idea of paying someone for software, it's pretty easy to keep using MT 2.661 free of charge, or having a few blogs to yourself with MT 3.0. Also, everyone keeps throwing around the word "crippled" when it's the exact full app some commercial person might pay big bucks for. They say right in the free download that it's fully featured.
posted by mathowie at 8:18 AM on May 13, 2004


Boy, you people really need to read things before you go all out with the histrionics.
posted by xmutex at 8:22 AM on May 13, 2004


There's are words for people who expect others to make the fruit of their labors freely available to them: slavemaster, thief, freeloader...
posted by Mick at 8:27 AM on May 13, 2004


Settle down people. If you actually read Mena's posts, you will see that the Movable Type philosophy remains:

We're big on honor at Six Apart. We haven't built in any nagware for license violations or phone home mechanisms. We trust our users' good judgment and intentions. We intend to use our good judgment in being flexible about enforcing these limits.

It is my understanding that a "non-developer's" edition will be released that incorporates the best and the brightest of the plug-ins developed over the coming weeks and months. It also appears that this edition will be subject to the exact same licensing requirements as the developer edition.

Read the posts, this is exciting stuff and it is obvious that Ben and Mena have carefully considered the future path of the company and balanced its needs with the concerns of the many people that have made their success possible. I wish them nothing but the best.

Nonetheless, I'm waiting for the feature release. Until then, however, I would love to see some screenshots of the new interface . . . Anil?
posted by ajr at 8:28 AM on May 13, 2004


rcade, we are not marching toward a world where everything has a price tag on it. I liked MT, but calling it a "sophisticated content management system" is an insult to high powered and free content management frameworks like Bricolage, Zope, OpenACS, phpNuke, and so on. As others have said this morning, MT is only a step ahead (if that) of other, free choices, and that makes their selection of price points confusing.

This is getting talked about throughout the blogsphere and the reaction is pretty much universally negative. MT has found a way to alienate their most loyal customers, and a company who does that had better have some other amazing clients lined up or they won't survive in the long run.
posted by tranquileye at 8:30 AM on May 13, 2004


In my little corner of the web, I'm running seven MT weblogs written by six authors. I'm not a web-wizard by any means, but have no difficulty throwing up a new weblog now and then to track my diet, to track the books I read, to track whatever. It's fun. And, with plugins, it's easy to incorporate these weblogs into my main weblog.

I have three friends to whom I've already promised weblogs within my domain. That'd bring me up to ten weblogs by nine authors, which coincidentally would happen to cost me $190 under the new pricing plan.

Now, I love Movable Type, and have no problem paying for software. I can afford to pay for the tools I use, and I do so. But I cannot justify spending $190 (only $150 for a limited time) on a weblogging tool that's going to have hard-coded limits. I have no problem with Six Apart charging for Movable Type, but I think their pricing structure is too extreme.

I've been using MT for two-and-a-half years. I donated money early on. Still, I'm a little cranky about all this. Hard-coded weblog and author limits? That sucks. I'd hoped to expand the foldedspace.org empire to a couple of dozen weblogs for my friends and family. We're really having a good time doing this, you know? It's a great way to keep in touch.

I no longer have plans to upgrade to MT 3.0. I can't afford to. (And I don't feel comfortable upgrading to it without paying what they ask.) I don't charge my friends and family for hosting their weblogs, and I don't intend to start doing so. Also, I don't intend to beg for money from my readership (which is pretty damn small, anyhow). I'm perfectly content with MT 2.661, and that's what I'll stick with. I'm thankful for the work that Ben and Mena have done up until this point, and I wish them the best of luck with future versions, but it looks as if I'm going to be a permanent user of 2.661, warts and all.

I'm not angry about the switch; I'm just not going to make the upgrade.
posted by jdroth at 8:32 AM on May 13, 2004


"Also, everyone keeps throwing around the word "crippled" when it's the exact full app some commercial person might pay big bucks for. They say right in the free download that it's fully featured."

So would you call "No more than one author and three weblogs" being crippled? i would. for someone that runs a small, 2 author blog and who has no extra money laying around (no not even 70 bucks) not being able to have that feature anymore is "crippled".

it's pretty easy to keep using MT 2.661 free of charge

true, but i'm of the opinion that things get better as they're updated, including software. and not being able to update software gets me all frazzled.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:32 AM on May 13, 2004


I'm with mathowie. This is just an evolutionary step in Six Apart's development. In the scheme of things, $99 is pretty cheap for software with the utility and reputation of Movable Type. For less money you (that's you the MT user) could also switch to Typepad and still enjoy and support a company you respect.

I'm a cheapskate when it comes to personal software licensing, just like anyone else, but I know a deal when I see one. Consider jdroth's example: $190 across nine authors is a whopping $21 per person. That's less than a tank of gas these days.
posted by werty at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2004


Until then, however, I would love to see some screenshots of the new interface . . . Anil?

Almost nobody on our team (including yours truly) has slept in about 2 days. I'll definitely try to get these screenshots up on the site once I've showered and napped. The new wrench logo is really pretty.
posted by anildash at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2004


I guess everyone wants something for nothing. Which isn't to say I won't be sticking to 2.661.

One thing I'm confused about, does the "Developer" part mean it's a preview/beta version?
posted by hyperizer at 8:38 AM on May 13, 2004


I donated 50 bucks last year to MT; I was a pretty intense alpha- and beta-tester for Typepad; I was very active in the support forums last year. Unfortunately, the features that I've been waiting for for two years still aren't on the horizon. And my host doesn't like the CGIs, which are generally much slower than PHP, especially for saving comments. As a student, I really don't want to spend 20 *more* dollars to pay for a blogging tool. It's just the motivation I need to switch. Once Wordpress gets multiple blogs working, I'll be switching too.

For most bloggers, the free version should be fine, and it's great that SixApart is going to keep the free version. But I run a very inactive blog for all my college friends, with 20+ authors, and I'm not going to pay when people post to it once a week if I'm lucky.
posted by gramcracker at 8:41 AM on May 13, 2004


Textpattern looks pretty cool, too.
posted by bonaldi at 8:52 AM on May 13, 2004


Curiously enough, Six Apart offers unlimited weblogs, with unlimited authors, on TypePad, for $15 a month. And that's with the hosting fees included.

Maybe this is their attempt to drive smaller people to TypePad? (Which is a pretty good service, I'm using it myself.)
posted by benjh at 8:53 AM on May 13, 2004


on a weblogging tool that's going to have hard-coded limits

There's nothing hard coded. I just downloaded the new version and my install with half a dozen authors and a couple dozen blogs works fine just as it did. The licenses are all on the honor system.
posted by mathowie at 8:54 AM on May 13, 2004


I'm surprised they didn't start charging sooner. I can't believe some of the huffy responses I've read. jdroth makes sense. If you don't like having to pay, just don't upgrade or move on.
posted by whatnot at 8:56 AM on May 13, 2004


This is getting talked about throughout the blogsphere and the reaction is pretty much universally negative.

The BLOGOSPHERE spake with one voice, and it said:

"Give us free stuff!"

And the Developers said, "Sure, why not," and gave them simple web tools to played with. And the BLOGOSPHERE played with them, and rejoiced, and it was good.

And then the BLOGOSPHERE said:

"Give us more features!"

And the Developers did their best to comply, and they didst labour for many a year. Occasionally, they would shower.

And the Developers didst look up from their keyboards, and looked about their shabby one-room walkups, and they didst declare:

"Holy shit, we're starving here. Does anybody have any money for some ramen or something?"

And they looked upon the BLOGOSPHERE, who didst use their product, and their many Amazon affiliate links and AdSense banners, and they said to themselves:

"Hmm. How do we get in on that action?"

And then it hit them, like a wet fish.

Yea, though they had planted the seed, watered the sapling, and tended the tree, but they did not reap any of the fruit.

"Fuck that noise," they said, and they didst add a licence fee to the next upgrade under certain circumstances.

"AAAUUUGGHHH!" said the BLOGOSPHERE, which, like Slashdotters, never readeth the fucking article. "This is unjust. This is unexpected. This is so . . . so proprietary. Software should be FREE!" they said, as they cashed their cheques from Google.

"It's not that great software anyway," they said, as they entered stage two. "Anyone could whip up a blogging app. It's slow. And the server doth verily give me those stoopid 500 Internal Server Errors."

And the BLOGOSPHERE looked around and said, crying with a great voice:

"Anyone else want to give us free stuff?"

NEXT
posted by mcwetboy at 8:57 AM on May 13, 2004


I'm on the pro-SixApart side here. mathowie pretty much nails it. It's actually pretty funny watching the pissy reactions in the trackbacks. It looks to me like many of the people complaining would be covered by the free license, but are convinced that one day their blog will turn into Slashdot, and want to be covered just in case. Go figure.
posted by pascal at 8:57 AM on May 13, 2004


It's not clear to me that MT3 will have hard-coded limits on authors/blogs based on your license. Based on my own current usage, I'd be looking at a $150 license, which seems pretty steep. Especially since I'm not particularly interested in their support or installation services: I've managed the install on my own fine, and the (free) MT support forum is an excellent resource.

I had a chance to play with the MT3 alpha a little. The interface is not much changed (more like typepad, I think, but pretty much the same buttons in the same places). Apart from comment management, the apparent features are not much changed, though I understand the backend is. A lot of features that have been endlessly requested on the MT support forums are not in there, things like custom fields, hierarchical categories, etc--though perhaps the new backend will make it easier for third parties to add those features.
posted by adamrice at 9:02 AM on May 13, 2004


Heh, I said above "sucks to be a commercial-collaborative MT-user," quite forgetting the $150 fee for existing users, in which case the new licensing is better. Count me among the non-RTFA-ers. I'm sticking with MT.
posted by brownpau at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2004


I've never understood why people use Movable Type anyway. It's a complete pig to install and offers nothing that you can't get from open source software (or, heck, couldn't write yourself within about a day, if you know Perl/PHP). Its popularity is a complete mystery to me.
posted by reklaw at 9:05 AM on May 13, 2004


It's troubling that many people see this as a negative, but at the same time I'm amused by this whole situation. MeFi readers are definitely among the more honorable on the web for not pointing this situation out:

While in the past MovableType licensing has been based on the honor system and any perks received were on the server side, they're now relying on client-side authentication to make sure you're not using more users or weblogs than licensed. Unless things have changed significantly, isn't the app still in Perl? As in, user-readable, easily modifiable perl?

I have no intention of attempting to defraud SixApart since their tools have served me well (and I may consider buying 3.0, despite the fact that I have been working on a different solution for my site), but it seems to me that they either have a very clever way of handling this, or the system is still very much an honor system.
posted by mikeh at 9:07 AM on May 13, 2004


There's nothing hard coded. I just downloaded the new version and my install with half a dozen authors and a couple dozen blogs works fine just as it did. The licenses are all on the honor system.

Ah. This is good to know. Still, as I said, I'm not willing to run MT3 without paying, and not willing to pay as much as Six Apart is asking.

Maybe, though, I can come up with a personal compromise. Maybe I can determine how much I think it's worth to me and then pay that to Six Apart. Who knows?

For now, though, MT2.661 seems keen enough for what I need. (But then I haven't looked at a feature list for 3.0...)
posted by jdroth at 9:07 AM on May 13, 2004


Is it possible that folk are up in arms because, judging by MT 3.0b3, the new version just plain isn't worth the money?

The only improvements are a ton of comment management features no one running your average low traffic weblog needs and that, while they might combat spam, put up a significant barrier to folk commenting. (Yeah, I know much has changed under the hood, but I'm a user not a perl head, and can't see the benefits - it's still as sluggish as you like.) And for these minor improvements, I'd have to pony up USD149.95 to keep my little website running as it is.

I'm a fan of the application - it's made it easy for a non-techy person like me to run several weblogs, and non-weblog sites too - but it's just not as good as some of the free offerings out there, especially when there's limitations on the number of weblogs and authors. And, funnily enough, it's being a fan that's going to force me away - I won't rip them off by using an unlicensed copy, but I can't justify the expense.

As others have said, Wordpress is starting to look very attractive...

(Bah, on preview: what adamrice said.)
posted by jack_mo at 9:08 AM on May 13, 2004


I liked MT, but calling it a "sophisticated content management system" is an insult to high powered and free content management frameworks like Bricolage, Zope, OpenACS, phpNuke, and so on.

If it's so easy to create a template-driven, extensible weblog publishing tool that supports comments, trackback, multiple authors, multiple sites, image uploads, HTML, XHTML, XML, RSS, Atom, XML-RPC, Berkeley DB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite, develop one yourself. Six Apart has just opened up a market -- you can serve people who need those features but don't want to pay anything for them.

I can understand the logic of people like jdroth who feel like they've been priced out of Movable Type. But raining down thunderbolts of righteous wrath is a bit much. Six Apart is a business. No one promised you a free lunch.
posted by rcade at 9:11 AM on May 13, 2004


I don't care much about whether they want to get people to pay for it or not; up to them. I've seen some nice, slick low-end commercial CMS systems; and that key word "commercial" is a necessary requirement to break into some accounts, FWIW.

But I will say this: I evaluated MT a couple of years ago as a platform for blogging and content-management, and took the trouble to read the license. And once I'd read it, I found that MT was a non-starter, for a purely non-technical reason.

Why? Well, it's simple: According to the license, I couldn't charge people for configuration or customization services. Which meant it was of no interest to me as a freelancer.

The reason given: 'We make our living doing that, so it doesn't make sense to let you dig into our rice bowl.'

It wouldn't be the first time I'd heard that argument, but it's no more valid now in '04 than it was when the first mass-manufacturer voided a warranty for lettign someone else work on their product.

I don't have links on this; the license has probably changed since then, anyway. But that revelation led me to look more deeply into the platform, and I saw things I didn't like. So I don't use it, don't recommend it, and probably wouldn't even consider it for any of the projects I'm looking at right now.

I pulled down WordPress and looked through the code, and looked at the admin interface, and it's pretty nice. Very sensible. I probably won't use it (pretty focused on Drupal), but I hope they make an even bigger success of it.
posted by lodurr at 9:14 AM on May 13, 2004


in other news, audioblogger is now free.
posted by mcsweetie at 9:15 AM on May 13, 2004


I've slowly been trying to migrate myself over from MT to Wordpress, and I don't think this announcement changes anything. My reasons for switching have really little to do with their business practices and more of just my little complaints with the ways MT does things. If 3.0 were the answer to my troubles, I might install the free version, but I think that WP does what I need now.

That said, I'll probably hem and haw with my MT2.661 installation for several months before actually doing anything. I see no need to complain with what Six Apart's doing with licensing and whatnot when my major gripes concern the use of buttons for the interface and so on.
posted by codger at 9:16 AM on May 13, 2004


I don't have links on this; the license has probably changed since then, anyway.

lodurr, if you actually read the articles linked here before posting, you'd see they devoted a big chunk to addressing the old cheesiness of the license. They completely changed it so you can develop features for it and charge people and you can install it for others and get paid and you can offer commercial support.
posted by mathowie at 9:20 AM on May 13, 2004


I use MT at work to run half a dozen blogs with two dozen authors. MT, because it's a great tool, integrates perfectly with our other CMS. That other CMS? We paid a LOT of money for it. A LOT.

There is NO GOOD REASON why a business user like me shouldn't pay a few hundred dollars for this awesome software that does things our very expensive CMS doesn't do. The new pricing plan is aimed at USERS LIKE ME so we can pay what we should to support this innovative company that has given us so much for so long for so so so little.

Chill pills all around, people.
posted by fraying at 9:21 AM on May 13, 2004


I suppose it would cause support issues, but I wish it was still possible to download MT 2.65.
posted by hyperizer at 9:23 AM on May 13, 2004


I'm one of the people who are unhappy about this. I wouldn't be opposed to paying for extra features, but paying just to have more weblogs and/or authors on my installation sounds completely warped to me.

I'll be honest and say, well, yes, I was using MT without donating before. But that's simply because I couldn't afford to donate - heck, I'm a student, I still live at home with my parents, have no job, constantly broke. There's a number of things I was planning on paying for / donating to when I started earning money, such as buying the Opera browser, the pro version of Trillian, several webcomics I like, and, yes, donating to Movable Type.

Now? I really don't know. I don't think I'll upgrade, I couldn't afford what my current setup would cost. $20? Sure, I can afford donating / paying that much. $100+? Nope.

I'm a bit tempted to just download it and install it anyway, since there's no hardcoded limit - but I dunno how fair it would be. I love the product, I'd be willing to pay for it - but I'm not fabulously wealthy, and I'm not making a single dime from my MT install, and the license for the amount of weblogs I have / have planned would be $150 (not discounted). I'm not a commercial user, and I can't justify paying that much for it.

Also, like somebody else said (not here, I forget where... forgive, I have the Sprawling Expanse Of Browser Tabs From Hell), if I'm going to pay $150 for a blogging software, I can go get something like this which, for the same $150, offers unlimited weblogs and authors and more features.

But, I want to stay with MT... I've been using it for a fairly long time now, and I'm perfectly happy with it, it meets all my needs. I don't want to switch, but it looks like it's the only solution right now. (The other would be staying with the un-upgraded version, but then I'd not be giving the folks at SixApart what I feel they deserve.)
posted by sailoreagle at 9:31 AM on May 13, 2004


sailoreagle and others, I'm curious what kind of crazy MT setups you have if your license would cost $150? If I look at the way I'm using MT, my use would be free except for one shared install I setup for a couple friends. I do a ton of crazy MT hacking too, but I don't need more than a few weblogs to do it.
posted by mathowie at 9:43 AM on May 13, 2004


I have four weblogs in my MT install right now, which puts me right out of the free plan. This summer I was going to migrate the last blog I still have on Blogger to MT (#5) and start a group weblog with four of my friends (#6, total of 5 authors). Also, I was contemplating swapping one of my sites to use MT to make it easier to keep it up to date (#7), and resurrecting another semi-dead weblog I have on Blogger (#8).
This leaves me with 8 weblogs and 5 authors. Even if I don't go ahead with my plans for #7 and #8, and I eliminate one of my original four weblogs (which is just a test blog for layouts and the like), it's still 5 weblogs and 5 authors. In both cases, I fit in the "Personal Edition Volume License I", which is $150 without the discount.
posted by sailoreagle at 10:02 AM on May 13, 2004


I'm curious what kind of crazy MT setups you have if your license would cost $150?

As I mentioned, I currently have six authors and seven weblogs.

I am the main author, and churn out my main weblog, my "remaindered links"-type weblog, and my diet weblog. There's one guest author for my main weblog.

I host four other friends and family members, each of which has a single author for a single weblog. As I mentioned earlier, I've promised similar setups to three other peoples. (Or, in one case, a couple, which would generate two authors instead of one, I guess.) Several more people are curious about the concept.

I'm not charging these people, and I don't intend to do so. Of the seven weblogs current active in my domain, four are low-volume, both in terms of posts and in terms of traffic. One of the weblogs I host generates a lot of traffic — the author has controversial opinions. My personal weblog generates the most traffic to my site; my remaindered links are published directly to the front page of my main weblog.

For more than a year, I've been toying with the idea of setting up a separate photoblog, too, which would publish to a separate directory and to my main page, sort of like your photoblog does.

I can easily envision a situation in which I'm hosting fifteen authors and two dozen weblogs. These are not delusions of grandeur. I don't expect our weblogs ever to be widely read. They're more for each other, for our friends and families. As I said before: we have a good time.

This morning, as I've gone about my paperwork, I've been contemplating possible choices:Really, when I think about it, I see no reason to upgrade. You're right that this seems like a whole lot of fuss for something minor. So long as MT 2.661 remains viable, and allows unlimited authors and weblogs, I'll probably stick with that.
posted by jdroth at 10:08 AM on May 13, 2004


Is anyone else having trouble reaching sixapart.com (other than the secure. subdomain)?

I've paid for a commercial license for one site, and paid for keys on two others. When I did so, I was told that whenever the new paid version came out, that money would be credited toward the purchase of the new edition. Is 6A still honoring that?

I'm a little worried about that commercial licence, though: that site (self link, obviously) is a composite of eight blogs with 23 authors -- right now it looks like I'd have to buy a jumbo and a small commercial license in order to maintain our current configuration. We don't make enough $$ to justify that.

However, for the standard, run-of-the-mill user, this really isn't a big deal. You can go on using the MT install you have, or you can upgrade to 3.0 and just not register. Big deal. It's not like they'll be sending out disable signals to all the older versions of MT installed around the world.

And really, has nobody here ever purchased software? Are you all using pirated OSX/Windows, Photoshop, Office etc.? 'Cause I know you're not all running pure open-source systems.
posted by me3dia at 10:12 AM on May 13, 2004


You guys are aware that wordpress and textpattern can only manage one blog, right?
posted by mathowie at 10:13 AM on May 13, 2004


You guys are aware that wordpress and textpattern can only manage one blog, right?

Yes. ExpressionEngine seems keen, though.

I've never been able to get Textpattern to work, so it's not an option.

I use Wordpress on another weblog (that I don't host), and don't think it's that great. It's not bad, but I'd rather use MT.

I like MT.
posted by jdroth at 10:24 AM on May 13, 2004


What about b2evolution?
posted by Gyan at 10:28 AM on May 13, 2004


for all intents and purposes ditched the free version of their once-shining weblogging software

This may well be the most dishonest, disingenuous statement I've ever seen on MetaFilter's front page. And that's saying a lot. johnnydark, you should be ashamed of yourself.
posted by jjg at 10:30 AM on May 13, 2004


You can also try Pivot, which is free as in GPL free, and can manage multiple blogs and users.

However I am amazed by the people who are complaining that they have to *gasp* pay for the software they are using.
posted by sebas at 10:31 AM on May 13, 2004


While it's true that I did not choose to use MT for a new blog which launches June 1, I see no reason for the angst and passion here. MT is a great product still. Six Apart is a good company, run by honorable people. MT continues to be a great entry-point for the casual blogger—or even for the professional blogger who can work within MT's framework—, continues to have a large installed based (and, therefore, a great informal support community), and is still a good match of features and performance.

The tool I did choose, pMachine's Expression Engine, I chose because while it *wasn't* all the things I needed, I could add them myself. My PHP hacking skills are better than my Perl hacking skills.

I also chose it because it offers multiple blogs. The new site (coming soon; balloons for the kids) has a private back-end blog which serves up content to the public front-end blog in a kind of relational database fashion, something which wasn't within my power using MT, or, frankly most of the other nine weblog tools I tried.

I am not a flack for Expression Engine, but I should say it does offer MT import. It is also much faster than your typical PHP-based blogging tool, since most of it is cached in the database (meaning, there are very few static pages, but also meaning it can take a bit of mental gymnastics to get your mind around its dynamic templates).

It should also be said that EE is a version 1.0 product (though building from the success of the original pMachine blogging tool) and may not offer all the plugins and add-ons one has come to expect from an older blogging tool.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:32 AM on May 13, 2004


Is it me or are there tons of bloggers mainly writing about the technology of blogging?
posted by davebush at 10:38 AM on May 13, 2004


matthowie: "You guys are aware that wordpress and textpattern can only manage one blog, right?"

Yes, but it's worth noting that many sites use multiple weblogs to manage the content for what is essentially one weblog. For example a photo section would be one, a sidebar of links another, a review section a third. This functionality is built into Textpattern in the form of sections and I believe WordPress offers conditional tags to do the same.

In a more general sense, I think this sucks.

The reality is that they have effectively eliminated power users from the upgrade path by giving them three choices: a)don’t upgrade, b) fork over what I feel is a fee bordering on extortion (my simple little personal site would have run hundred of dollars to upgrade), or c) become a criminal. These are the users who in some some cases have spent years extending MT and are among it's most vocal supporters.

Adding insult to injury, to even download the thing now requires a TypeKey registration. Isn't this directly contrary to SixAparts previous claim that TypeKey would not be required? Compounding this is the detail that sites running under the free license will no longer be reflected in the ‘recently updated’ list — something they failed to mention the times I voluntarily donated.

I have no problem paying for software and think that MT is worth the money, but I do feel the rug has been pulled out from under me. This is a major change that many of us were expecting to see in the vaporware MT Pro, not something we anticipated being part of what, in terms of functionality, is a minor point release.
posted by cedar at 10:40 AM on May 13, 2004


With Wordpress/b2evo you can do pretty much everything you do with MT.*. And in some cases, better and simpler. Open source. And don't take me wrong, I like MT, it's a very good tool, but there are people interested in doing better jobs. And I'm thankful for that.
posted by nandop at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2004


movabletype makes me feel all funny in the pants.
posted by bob sarabia at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2004


Purchase new domains and hosting space for each of my users. (Expensive, but since this would allow each person to use the free version of MT, not a bad option.)

Honestly, I'm not sure this is Kosher under the new licensing schema. Sure, it would look to be single user from the outside but really, it's not. I have a setup one a single server with multiple domains and multiple installs of MT, I'm trying to wrap my brain around intent of the licensing scheme versus what it says to try and figure out what they actually mean. I suspect that I'll be in boat with the folks that require commercial type licenses before it's over.
posted by shagoth at 10:45 AM on May 13, 2004


Expression Engine can also be set up for multiple domains under one installation. It's a powerful package and couldn't be easier to set up. No, I don't work for them but have been a user of pMachine for a couple years.
posted by jonah at 10:46 AM on May 13, 2004


This thread could be picked up and moved to slashdot. I mean, did johnydark even read the links he posted.
posted by chunking express at 10:46 AM on May 13, 2004


You guys are aware that wordpress and textpattern can only manage one blog, right?

Yes, you can manage one blog per WordPress installation. You can have as many installations as you want (in the same DB even) and as many authors as you want on all those installations. The next release of WordPress after 1.2 will have the ability to manage multiple WP blogs through the same interface. If you put all your seperate installations in the same DB it will be a seamless upgrade.
posted by saxmatt at 11:01 AM on May 13, 2004 [1 favorite]


I'm curious what kind of crazy MT setups you have if your license would cost $150?

15 blogs, because I'm running some things as blogs that appear as includes. I could trim it down, but I'm using MT's functionality to make those particular things easy to update, which is sort of the whole idea. Top that with 20+ authors, because of a long-running group blog with a lot of former authors (going back to Blogger days) whose entries were imported. If I want their entries to keep their proper attribution, those authors need to continue to exist. I haven't been able to get to the MT site to play with the license checker thing but judging by what I've seen I believe that my current install would require a cost even above the $150 level.

Count me as another who won't be paying for MT 3.0. The value for the price just isn't there for me. Not because I don't think that a CMS with all of the features of MT is worth a couple of hundred dollars, one certainly is. It just isn't MT. I've been having issues with MT (technical: importing problems plus the fact that the rebuild process eats server power in a nasty way) and Six Apart (not digging their corporate, er, aura) for nearly a year. I use MT because I'm heavily invested into it, physically speaking, and don't have a current replacement. When there is a suitable replacement (multi-blog WordPress seems most likely) I will migrate despite the pain that'll be.

What this change means to me is that I'll be using a non-supported version of the software until that replacement comes along. No skin off my nose unless/until there is a security issue (remember the spamhole!) that cannot be easily dealt with without an upgrade, but at that point, I would take content offline before I used a paid MT product.
posted by Dreama at 11:05 AM on May 13, 2004


From this day on, the "MT™" acronym stands for "Money Talks".
posted by betobeto at 11:07 AM on May 13, 2004


I have to admit, the mandatory TypeKey registration was kinda annoying. But I assume there's a good reason for that.

I also wonder what the logic is in not allowing the free users (read: personal publishers) to appear in the recently updated list. In my experience, it's those users that care about that sorta thing. Business users don't care about a link from movabletype.org that lasts for 3 minutes.

It would have been nice if 6A had some kinda power user grandfather clause. Like give everyone who'd ever answered a question in the forums a $50 credit. $100 for anyone who ever made a plugin. Some kinda props for the programmers and evangelists that made developing a site in MT better.

But whatever. I've always thought it was amazing that such a powerful tool was free. It's time to pay up or shut up.
posted by fraying at 11:08 AM on May 13, 2004


everyone has overlooked the livejournal engine, which is open source.
posted by y0bhgu0d at 11:09 AM on May 13, 2004


I am not upset with MT, or sixapart, and I understand people's feelings like Matt when he tries to bring out the positives of the changes. He is friends with them after all. Ever since Where's the Beef though I, and I think a lot of the community has been a little wary of the direction this thing is taking.

That entry is not Mena anymore, it is Corp-speak-Mena. And that's fine, she is probably making good money now and I'm sure she is happy with her decision. But it does sort of make people sad, I think.

It seems, also, with typepad and this new MT that Sixapart now would prefer individual users to use typepad and businesses to use MT. They are not hurting people like my dad, who uses typepad on the basic setting, or companies that want some cheap app to run an intranet blog, $150 is chump change to them. Who they hurt are the power users; the weblog community.

I think feelings are hurt because people feel like they've been used. The weblogging community is what made MT well known after all, and those donations, including mine, helped fund it's development. I know Sixapart doesn't owe anyone anything but I think those are some of the feelings driving the current uneasiness.

I have recently switched to WordPress, not because I think MT should be free, I donated to them and I donated to WordPress. I changed because I want to be in the demographic that the product is being developed for. MT 3.0: no new features except extensive comment registration. Well, that's great for businesses, and making weblogging for businesses seems to be where MT is moving. That's fine, and I'm sure it's a thousand times more profitable than for individuals, but I am not a business.

WordPress is Free, as in GPL free, and PHP, and it has a kickass plug-in system in 1.2, and versions come out fast. Also it's super nice to upgrade.

I dunno, I liked MT, and I think I had a good run with them, but they seem to be moving to business customers, and that doesn't reflect how I use the product, so switching seemed appropriate.
posted by rhyax at 11:13 AM on May 13, 2004


My installation has 53 users and 14 weblogs. About 20 of those users and 10 of the blogs are active.
posted by sudama at 11:16 AM on May 13, 2004


There are many free software projects suitable for managing web logs.
posted by sfenders at 11:19 AM on May 13, 2004


I'm still confused about the credits for previous money given to MT/SA. The storefront for MT3 claims $20 credits for each key (the key in essence being proof or previous payment), while Mena claims that the full amount of one's previous payments will be credited. These are not the same description, and in fact the purchase process at the storefront matches what the store says and disputes what Mena says.

What's the story on this one? Did Mena not get a memo or something, because her description of "full credit" isn't what the storefront is doing at all.
posted by theonetruebix at 11:21 AM on May 13, 2004


It was an unfortunate design decision to relegate the information about the free version to the right margin, below the fold, on the main pricing page, and I suspect that contributed quite a bit to what seems like an overreaction to the pricing scheme.

That said, I don't get it, anyway. Why price out the power users (as cedar says above, too)? At least if MT 3.0 finally had hierarchical categorization and the ability to restrict index pages by both category and date, people could use a single blog to manage sites that right now require multiple blogs, but even then it's hard to figure. Much of the cost of the licenses must be to reflect support concerns, but couldn't Six Apart offer a cheap license, without access to support, but that doesn't restrict users to so few authors and blogs on an install?

(It seems like those people, who really play with the ways to use MT to manage all sorts of different kinds of content, would be among the most valuable members of the MT community -- and also the least likely to switch over to TypePad, or to spend money on the sort of tool they've probably been thinking about designing and building themselves for a couple years anyway.)
posted by mattpfeff at 11:21 AM on May 13, 2004


It's really a catch 22.

People condemned blogger for never trying a pay business model and the company basically died before google rescued them.

Now people are upset with sixapart for the opposite.

I wish them luck. I myself left typepad today. Just a little too expensive. With hosting prices so low and all the publishing options out there, it simply wasn't worth it.
posted by justgary at 11:31 AM on May 13, 2004


The biggest shock in the pricing to me was the lack of an unlimited option and the small caps. I can understand usage caps, but why are the numbers so low? Even the highest commercial license listed is only 20 authors and 15 blogs. 15 blogs is probably plenty, but 20 authors doesn't even cover a mid-size department in a medium or large corporation. Could 6 Apart have a company blog that everyone could post to with that license?

The numbers just seem especially peculiar to me.
posted by cCranium at 11:37 AM on May 13, 2004


Also, one critical thing missing from that pricing page is exactly what these licenses are good for. For instance, are they restricted to certain version numbers, or will they be good for any MT update from here on out? Do they ever expire? Are they attached to a user, or to a domain, or what?

What's the story on this one? Did Mena not get a memo or something, because her description of "full credit" isn't what the storefront is doing at all.

I was wondering this, too. (I donated more than the required $20 for my registration key.)
posted by mattpfeff at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2004


I sent in donations more than once. I got my boss to buy a corporate license for the office. I love MT, but I won't be upgrading.

I'm happy to pay for software. I want to support good work--but their licensing scheme just doesn't have a place for me. I use a lot of includes, and host a couple of friends.

I don't want to go with the "spirit" of the license, because as this new scheme has made clear, nothing lasts forever. I would expect hard-coded limits in the next upgrade or so. Also, I just don't like violating software licenses.

So here's my concrete suggestion. A power-user license: ~$100 for unlimited authors, unlimited blogs, and support only from free sources like the b-board. I'll pay! Just give me something I can use.
posted by frykitty at 11:38 AM on May 13, 2004


Oh, well, I'm hosed anyway. If what I saw about the multiple CPU limit was correct, that is. I do all my self hosting off a dual-CPU machine. Oh, joy. Looks like time to make some hard decisions, I guess.
posted by Samizdata at 11:50 AM on May 13, 2004


OK people, calm down. Yes, MoveableType was/is a great application, and it sucks that their motivations and focus for the project has changed, but seriously now...

Like several other posters have said, you've been eating a free lunch for a while now. A great piece of software for nothing. Speaking as a programmer myself -- and one nowhere near the capabilities of Ben and Mena -- I don't see a problem here. Although it is unfortunate that many people's weblogs will be affected by this change, the fact remains that these people don't owe us anything. They offered professional-quality work-product to us, for free. Programming is not a fun job; the results thereof are great -- seeing a finished program being used by thousands of people, it's got to be a great feeling. (I wouldn't know, best I've done is code a few simple scripts for friends.)

The fact of the matter is this, they want to make money for their efforts. I can't hold this against them. They offered an incredible service for free. The fact so many sites are dependent on this service is unfortunate, but really now, are you about to do something you can be getting paid for, for free, indefinitely. At some point the upkeep -- and potential to turn a pet-project into serious money -- becomes too much.

I'm not trying to come down hard on the users who feel upset over having to migrate to new software, but I am not holding anything against the developers of MT. I'm sorry folks, but if you're getting something for free then you really haven't got the right to complain when it's no longer there. I can appreciate the feelings of outrage, but let's not go to far.

Besides, there's so many other alternatives available.. And if none of those suit your fancy, code your own application and maybe you'll come to a much more profound realization as to why Ben and Mena want your money for their efforts.

Me, I cheaped-out and used Live Journal. Hah.
posted by Dark Messiah at 11:52 AM on May 13, 2004


Yup. I'm screwed.

Making Copies
You may install the Software on only one (1) computer or server having a single CPU. You may make one (1) copy of the Software in any machine readable form solely for back-up purposes, provided you reproduce the Software in its original form and with all proprietary notices on the back-up copy.


Forget all about the nods and the winks.
posted by Samizdata at 11:55 AM on May 13, 2004


From Mena's Corner:

As I said above, today, we'll be releasing the Developer Release of Movable Type 3.0.

It will be available to everyone, not just developers; we're calling it a Developer Release to emphasize the fact that 3.0 itself is not a feature release in the traditional sense. With this release we hope that the developer community will implement some great extensions for 3.0.


So, to me, it appears that a "feature release" is upcoming. But really, I think I am still withholding judgement until the 6A worker bees have gotten some sleep, and can respond to the onslaught.
posted by plemeljr at 11:58 AM on May 13, 2004


I'm not trying to come down hard on the users who feel upset over having to migrate to new software, but I am not holding anything against the developers of MT. I'm sorry folks, but if you're getting something for free then you really haven't got the right to complain when it's no longer there. I can appreciate the feelings of outrage, but let's not go to far.

My feelings on that run pretty much as follows -

A] if you don't plan to keep it free, don't release it free.
B] maybe you should look into reimbursing all of the folks that help test and build the application, as well as all of the unpaid volunteer support then.
C] if we have a licensing change this major in midstream, what are we going to see in the future?
posted by Samizdata at 12:01 PM on May 13, 2004


I am friends with them and yeah, I'm trying to see the good in this.

My main problems with the proposed upgrade stuff is that I wish non-commercial prices were lower. Instead of the current system, something like 39, 79 and 99 would be better. Heck, if it was 20 bucks, 40 bucks or 75 bucks for unlimited non-commercial use, that'd be even better. The enormous innovation and plugin community made this product great, and it was all because of small time personal developers.

On the other hand, you have Dean, Bush, and Kerry pulling in millions of dollars and they're running MT as well. You have about.com that is now entirely powered with MT. Those folks paying $150 is ridiculous, and I can see why the commercial prices stop at 599 and after that you have to contact them directly to get bigger licenses. Frankly, I wished they made the non-commercial cheap and the commercial part more expensive. Also, the payment page reminds me of Real.com waaaaay too much. They should have put the cheap prices on top with free being the first thing you see.

The other downer is that thanks to the unlimited blog system that MT has always been, people use extra blogs for things that could easily be extra categories instead (with a bit of template customizing). If MT 3 was more like TypePad and offered sidebar link lists and photo galleries, people wouldn't need to use the separate blogs.

I've paid sixapart over $300 in license fees, donations, and TypePad fees in the past year, so I've long been used to paying for MT and that's also why I'm not keen on jumping ship or shouting that it is totally unfair.
posted by mathowie at 12:02 PM on May 13, 2004


I love MT. I think it's a wonderful piece of software, and it's something I would be willing to pay for, especially with a new version coming out.

The problem with not hardcoding license limits is that at some point, someone will abuse the system. At that time I imagine it'd be in Six Apart's best interests to lockdown the limits, which in turn would cause some people to hack it, which would cause a cycle.

But wanting to stay in the safe zone, the licensing options leave me out in the cold. I use MT on a non-commercial site, with seven blogs and six authors. Using the "Find How Much You'd Pay Us" wizard (a very good wizard, admittedly!) I'd need to pay $119, on top of my annual hosting.

The questions I have are: 1) what does this include? is there an upgrade path, or is it an 'annual' $119 a la OS X? and 2) what are the compelling features in 3.0?

Comment registration is wholly unimportant to me because I wrote my own PHP/mySQL code to work with MT. (This was largely due to thwart the onset of comment spam and trolls.) So that's unnecessary; strike one. New interface? No skin off my nose. I don't care much if the tool I use validates as XHTML Strict or not; strike two. I admittedly don't know if there's a third strike, but the price could easily could as a half-strike. So two-and-a-half.

And what would the benefits be for me? I'd never be able to add another author to my blog without going to a higher license, and I'd only be able to add one more blog - something quite likely to happen. So then, more money.

Again, I have no problem paying for good software. But I think that this repositioning of MT as a "Publishing Platform" has really solidified, in my mind, a Six Apart strategy: MT for commercial use, TypePad for non-commercial. TypePad's tagline still has "personal" in it; MT's does not. Keeping a free version is fine, but frankly, I can't imagine a blogging newbie - without the technical experience that MT requires - using it. They'd go to TypePad or Blogger instead.

MT is still a good tool, I still like and respect Ben and Mena as individuals, but this move shuts out a fair number of supporters in the quest for bigger fish. Such is business.
posted by hijinx at 12:04 PM on May 13, 2004


Don't misunderstand me: MT is/was a very good application and Ben and Mena deserve to be rewarded and make some money. But the way things are going at this point, I'm not sure they will be getting any more of my money, and that makes me sad, but things might improve...
posted by tranquileye at 12:04 PM on May 13, 2004


I have a little work weblog I run on a server that's inside the firewall. I chose MT for it because I wanted a system that I could configure and run myself and that didn't cost anything (the whole server and the software on it was a side project and there was basically no money for it). I'm the only author and the readership is small. I'm not even on the latest version since comment spam is not an issue for me. I might stay with MT but I see no reason to upgrade. If the 3.0 feature set gave me something I thought I needed I would consider paying out of my own pocket but it just doesn't.

I'm trying out WordPress right now. It's not yet obvious to me why I would change from MT but I'm willing to give it some time. I certainly won't switch prior to the 1.2 release which has some features I would like to have.
posted by tommasz at 12:06 PM on May 13, 2004


I'm confused. I run www.typographi.ca - which has maybe 60 contributors/authors - none of whom are paid. However, we are slightly commercial, in that the few ads that we sometimes run and a few referral fees may bring in a few bucks each month that go toward hosting, registration & the licensing and research costs for getting images from libraries and things like that. The vast majority of costs are covered out of my own (and Stephen's) pockets. So are we commercial or not?

If I had to buy a $599 license, I'd just have to take the site down. I can't ask for donations and I can't cover that myself - that's a decade's worth of referral fees. Not like we've ever needed the support. I understand they need to make a buck, but getting us to use a product we thought was free and then leaving us out to dangle is pretty scary.
posted by luriete at 12:07 PM on May 13, 2004


i for one, am planning to switch my internet journal over to notepad.

keeping it real. keeping it real.
posted by lotsofno at 12:08 PM on May 13, 2004


You could always go the free route and update your pages by hand, or learn how to write code.
posted by angry modem at 12:08 PM on May 13, 2004


Maybe I'm wrong here, but I would guess that Six Apart have no idea what the average # of authors and weblogs created for each installation of MT was. So when they created this pricing structure, they set the limits way too low.
posted by schlyer at 12:09 PM on May 13, 2004


mathowie: You guys are aware that wordpress and textpattern can only manage one blog, right?

Yeah, I know. I dunno what I'll switch to yet, if I end up switching - I'll have to investigate alternatives.

Bleh. My original reaction, especially on my weblog, was probably too vehement - still, I don't like the situation this puts me in.

I like MT. I would very much like to keep using MT. I would love to give money to Six Apart for MT, I was already planning to. And I'd feel bad if I were to use the free version without giving anything back, whether I stayed with 2.6 or upgraded to 3.0. Why? Well, I have a stack of shareware programs / free programs that accept donations / other things that I enjoy, and that I'm planning to pay for / donate once I have the money to do so. I figure that it's the fair thing to do - they make something for me, I enjoy it, I might as well give something back to them.
But $150 - $100 if I were to decide to just say sod it to counting blogs and authors and just go for the cheapest license (I'm not counting discounts, as by the time I get the money, they're likely to be gone) - is bloody extortionate. I can justify paying to use MT, but I can't justify paying that much for my quite small personal site that I'm not making any money out of.

I'm not asking for it to be free, though it was great that it was free until now. I know they have to make money. But the non-commercial license prices are way too high.
posted by sailoreagle at 12:10 PM on May 13, 2004


The Life Cycle of Mefi/Blogger Love/Hate For Companies What Bring Them Good Stuff, Be They Google, Six Apart Or Something Else:

COMPANY: Here is a product we are releasing for free to test out and whatnot! We have worked on it for a long time, and we hope you enjoy it!

MEFI/BLOGGER: GIMME GIMME GIMME *SNARF DEVOUR PIGS AT TROUGH*

COMPANY: Hey, you guys like it! Keen. Okay, though, although we started as a smallish company with a free product, we're growing and we would like to make a living, so we need to start charging for the future --

MEFI/BLOGGER: JUDAS! HOW DARE YOUR COMPANY ACT LIKE A COMPANY! I AM SHOCKED, SHOCKED THAT YOU WOULD DARE SUGGEST CHARGING MONEY OR OTHERWISE BEHAVING LIKE A CORPORATION THAT IS TRYING TO PROFIT FROM ITS WORK AND PROPERTY! I SHALL DECLAIM YOU LOUDLY, BOTH ON MY OWN BLOG AND ON THIS COMMUNITY ONE!!! HOW DARE THEE!!!


Seriously. Grow the fuck up, you people. It's no longer amusing.
posted by solistrato at 12:11 PM on May 13, 2004


That was amusing, solistrato. Next time though, do try reading and realizing what is upsetting most people the most about this, ie. the distinction between "paying for something" and "paying too much for something".
posted by sailoreagle at 12:15 PM on May 13, 2004


The first one's free.

They get you on the comeback. ;)

I'm probably paying for a personal, we'll see what the "feature release" offers (I've already donated, so I have that credit), but I'm more worried for 9622, which has 47 authors.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:23 PM on May 13, 2004


Haha, this is great... "With this release we hope that the developer community will implement some great extensions for 3.0". But first, fork over your cash for the privilege! WTF? I've been prototyping some ideas for extending MT, as that's what I currently use. Luckily, I haven't really looked into the plugin architecture or anything.. for once, my laziness has paid off. I guess I'll take a look at WordPress - the admin interface could definitely use some work :)
posted by dvdgee at 12:26 PM on May 13, 2004


A] if you don't plan to keep it free, don't release it free.

Oh man, that's rich. MS windows should also still cost $20 and come on a couple 5 1/4 floppies. The Ford Model T should still cost $299. Also, houses should cost the same as they did 40 years ago. I mean, otherwise that's just unfair. Also see this.

B] maybe you should look into reimbursing all of the folks that help test and build the application, as well as all of the unpaid volunteer support then.

They've hired 3 people from their free support forums, to provide support to users. They're doing a plugin contest where everyone keeps their copyright and they're giving away a lot of stuff. I think developers can still develop on it for free, with a free install.

C] if we have a licensing change this major in midstream, what are we going to see in the future?

If they lose lots of users, I'm sure they'll change the prices or the limits.
posted by mathowie at 12:26 PM on May 13, 2004


This is a little mind boggling to me.

I think that people don't understand how powerful the new plug in infrastructure is. How many Movable Type installs expired or died today? none. How many will tomorrow? none. I downloaded the developer's version of a prominent public link on a prominent page, and it cost nothing. As software goes, a lot of people spend a lot of their time in MT - possibly even as much as in Microsoft Office!

Also, none of the free blogging packages come close to MT in terms of flexibility and features. And nothing about the MT code is "simple" either. if building a multi-blog multi-user CMS was so easy, how come there aren't a hundred of them?
posted by djacobs at 12:32 PM on May 13, 2004


If they lose lots of users, I'm sure they'll change the prices or the limits.

I think that'll sort of happen, they may not lose users, they just won't get many people to upgrade to 3.0 at those price points. And honestly, even if they lower their prices because of this shit storm, they will have already lost alot of the goodwill that they've built up over the past couple of years within the weblog community.
posted by schlyer at 12:36 PM on May 13, 2004


6Apart has been handing out a free lunch, to use the above analogy, for however many years now. Every day, "help yourself to sandwiches and soda pops" and then today, out of the blue "okay, you can have 3 sandwiches and one soda pop. They're better sandwiches with higher quality bread and better toppings and it's brand name soda pop instead of the cheap grocery brand rip off, but you only get 3 and one."

Even if you only ate two sandwiches every day the sudden change in perceived value is going to bother you no matter how much you respect the people making the sandwiches and like the new quality.

The people coming in and loading up wheelbarrows for a cheap discount and turning around and selling them just around the corner for a profit? Fuck 'em, definitely, they're shitting on the commons while many people just sit down and have their own sandwiches.

It's not at all a bad thing that 6apart is charging for their software, it's just a massive conceptual leap from "unlimited" to "3", with complete removal of the unlimited option. People like unlimited, you can charge a lot for unlimited, people will pick unlimited even when you offer cheaper capped options that more than meet their need as many an ISP learned in the late 90s.

The shock from the switch from free to not-as-free (be it a legit or perceived drop in value) is going to catch people by suprise and piss them off. In a few days people will realize that things change and this isn't the end of the world (or even the end of free) but the fact that it's coming as a shock to people shouldn't itself be a suprise to anyone.

I think that people don't understand how powerful the new plug in infrastructure is.

I don't think users care about backend improvements in the slightest. Again, perceived vs. legit value, but show me a user who likes a strong supporting architecture in their software, and I'll show you a geek.
posted by cCranium at 12:39 PM on May 13, 2004


Maybe I'm wrong here, but I would guess that Six Apart have no idea what the average # of authors and weblogs created for each installation of MT was. So when they created this pricing structure, they set the limits way too low.

They collected such info from folks who volunteered for the MT 3.0 beta.
posted by sudama at 12:43 PM on May 13, 2004


mcwetboy, your blogosphere comment cracked me up.

That entry is not Mena anymore, it is Corp-speak-Mena. I don't know The Trotts, and I don't use any Six Apart product, but this comment kind of smacks of a, "What happened to you man? You used to be cool" sell-out complaint. From what I can tell, Six Apart is a relatively young company with 25-ish employees (with benefits, I noticed, which is nice), strong roots in the community, and a history of not being evil. They are trying to implement their first serious licensing model. I really wouldn't be surprised if they adapt the plan based on the feedback. (I myself am amazed at how many people maintain more than a couple of weblogs.) However, it seems like a lot of users here won't give Six Apart the benefit of the doubt (despite their track record), and some in fact seem to have been instantly converted from fans to software thieves. It strikes me as odd that many people are demanding so much loyalty from this company, and giving so little in return.
posted by jess at 12:45 PM on May 13, 2004


... show me a user who likes a strong supporting architecture in their software, and I'll show you a geek.

I love a strong back-end you can plug things into.
posted by rcade at 12:45 PM on May 13, 2004


If they lose lots of users, I'm sure they'll change the prices or the limits.

There's really no good way to determine accurate user numbers when something is freely downloadable and doesn't require registration. Losing those users could even result in lower costs since some of them probably required support (the costs of which were not supported by registration fees).

The end result could well be lower marketshare but higher profitability.
posted by tommasz at 12:52 PM on May 13, 2004


I don't think users care about backend improvements in the slightest.

It's still way early, but I think due to the new changes in the plugin stuff, developers will be making insane plugins that do much, much more than previous MT plugins were capable of. Users do care about improvements to their products, and if in three months you can run a mailing list, photo blog, and email your aunt patty all from a MT popup window, users will care.
posted by mathowie at 12:56 PM on May 13, 2004


The problem is that MT's already lost users. A bunch of my friends were hit really hard by the comment spam problem and when there were no good fixes either coming out of 6A or the developer community, they up and went over to paid accounts at LiveJournal.

Considering these people were hoping 6A would do some sort of fix on the comment spam problem, and would have probably shelled out $25 (the price of a paid LJ account) to take care of it, the new licensing scheme is kind of a disappointment. TypePad came too late for them; when all one's friends are over at LJ, it becomes a community which is hard to give up.
posted by Electric Elf at 1:02 PM on May 13, 2004


I can't believe there's not more uproar about the license restriction on multi-CPU machines.

"You may install the Software on only one (1) computer or server having a single CPU."

Who came up with that one?? I'd wager that 95% of hosting clients have no clue what kind of server their website is running on, while 90% of hosting providers use multi-CPU servers. That clause is basically setting up thousands and thousands of people to break the license agreement they agreed to without even knowing it.
posted by djc at 1:06 PM on May 13, 2004


1) tranquileye: MT has found a way to alienate their most loyal customers . . .

While I'm all for keeping up a good relationship with loyal users, I'm not sure I'd define people who use a free product as customers. It's not fun to alienate people, but when they aren't paying anything for what you're offering them, it hurts less. I guarantee that. At the end of the day, when you run a small business, you need to put food in the mouths of your employees. Thank god 6A isn't your average bloodsucking corporation. But I'm not angry with them for being a corporation at all.

2) Mathowie is right about the "free to fee" is unfair argument. That's just not how the world works, folks. The "offer a free sample of things to come" method is older than time, and it's a well-tested, very successful way to do business.

On the other hand, I wouldn't accuse 6A of planning to become a fee-based enterprise. It seems just as likely that MT started out as a pet project and eventually grew into a viable business. And you know what? If I were in their position, with people all over the world using my product, I'd make the transition from free to fee, too.

And last but not least, I'm certain that they'll change the pricing model over time as the market dictates. Plus, for heaven's sake, writing code for web pages isn't rocket science. If you really want a free product out there that does what MT does, make it yourself.
posted by jeremy at 1:07 PM on May 13, 2004


A] if you don't plan to keep it free, don't release it free.

Oh man, that's rich. MS windows should also still cost $20 and come on a couple 5 1/4 floppies. The Ford Model T should still cost $299. Also, houses should cost the same as they did 40 years ago. I mean, otherwise that's just unfair. Also see this.


(shrugs)

Well, seeing as I can't legally use the free version (CPU limits), and I really don't have the money right now to license (I love tech, but I love living indoors more), maybe I'm just feeling a bit bitter about the hours I spent getting things the way I like them.

I'm pretty low traffic, with a total of three blogs on two installations: One for me, one for my wife, and one to allow the system users (to which I have provided free mail, among other things, for three years) to keep tabs on system status.

Oh...wait! I'm an organization, albeit one that's seen a blistering $35 in donations in three years. Scratch the $70 personal license. Now I'm up to $200! Yay! That way I can get support that I have never actually used, as well as access to other fee based services I never needed! Wow! What a deal!

And I'm so glad they derived their usage metrics from folks that signed up for the alpha. I did and never heard a peep from them. Of course, to somewhat touch on your earlier analogy, I would see these metrics as somewhat similar to your word processor only allowing a certain number of documents to be created, unless you wanted to upgrade your license, since a section of the users said they only create x numbers of documents. Or perhaps a car that only goes so many miles before you have to take it to a dealership for a reset, since that's what one focus group said they liked.

(shrugs again)

Of course, that's just my opinion...
posted by Samizdata at 1:12 PM on May 13, 2004


It is undeniable that Movable Type has been successful because it has been free. Without that, people would not have picked it up just to try it out, then found out how much they liked it. The growing user base spawned plug ins and forum support, much of which probably would not have been there without a free distribution.

You can rant at the users who are miffed by telling them that they should "pay up", but really, would this company be where it is without all of those freeloading users? I would say no, but that is up for debate. Typepad launched on the shoulders of Movable Type, I don't think that Six Apart would have secured their funding without their enormous user base.

It's a two way street. Sure, people should be compensated for what they produce, but they should also realize the intrinsic value of having so many users. That is independent of whether the user made a donation or not.
posted by jonah at 1:17 PM on May 13, 2004


It's a two way street. Sure, people should be compensated for what they produce, but they should also realize the intrinsic value of having so many users.

I agree completely and am trying to find a balance here. I think if the non-commercial prices were 20-40-75 bucks with unlimited on the top end, they could continue to benefit from the giant userbase of hackers while also making money from businesses and corporations running the software.
posted by mathowie at 1:23 PM on May 13, 2004


I blame Ben and Mena for making such a well-made, widely-used blogging framework to begin with. What the hell were they thinking? They should have known that they were going to become evil, hire other people, and try to make money off the whole damn thing.

This whole "Six Apart" thing is like the third six tried to spin off of "666." We know you're still the beast, evil Six Apart! Don't try to hide!
posted by mikeh at 1:25 PM on May 13, 2004


I've been a MT user since version 1.1 or thereabouts. I've donated twice to them for using MT.

I was a typepad beta tester and I now pay for the pro package every month.

I don't need support from MT. I don't need to have more than one author, so I'd be quite happy to stick to using the free version, but for one thing.

I want to use MT for a new photoblog, because the blogs I run on Typepad already run pretty close to the limits of what they offer in terms of bandwidth, and I think that I might blow the disk space limits by the time I'm done putting up all the photos I want to upload.

Now, my issue is about a clarification of "commercial use" - and how far they'll push it... I mean, if someone contacts me and asks to buy a print of one of the photos on my photoblog, does that make it commercial and mean that I should cough up for a commercial licence? If I put a paypal button on each photo page offering it for sale does that make it commercial if I never actually sell anything?

If a site uses google adsense to bring in a little bit of cash, does that mean it's a commercial site?

I'm not against paying for something, but I think there might need to be a little bit of clarification about levels... because as it stands, the phrase "in any income producing activity" is going to leave a lot of people feeling pretty conflicted about whether to upgrade.
posted by pixeldiva at 1:35 PM on May 13, 2004


We use MT for a number of commercial and non-commercial projects and while we don't "resell' or "repackage" it, it frequently makes our job easier when it comes to managing our own and some of our clients's sites. I'm buying into the whole "platform" positioning. Heck, that's the way we've been using it right along. Basically we use MT as a sophisticated text database that we deploy along with many other products, features and solutions. I expect our cost will be right in line with the old $150 per commercial app donation structure. I expect my clients to continue to see its ease-of-use as a real value. I expect the new product to perform better and I expect to continue to pay for that innovation.
posted by coudal at 1:35 PM on May 13, 2004


Why not just use Notepad and FTP?

(/troll)
posted by inksyndicate at 1:40 PM on May 13, 2004


sailoreagle and others, I'm curious what kind of crazy MT setups you have if your license would cost $150? If I look at the way I'm using MT, my use would be free except for one shared install I setup for a couple friends. I do a ton of crazy MT hacking too, but I don't need more than a few weblogs to do it.

I have one weblog that has 7 people, and my main installation has over ten weblogs, each to a separate domain. Matt, do you want to do the math, or should I?

No one is bitching because Six Apart is charging, and those of who are trying to obfuscate this message, please stop; it's the fact that there was no warning, none whatsoever, that the number of users and weblogs was going to become a pricing issue before those of us who created the users and weblogs did so.

No warning. None. Not even a hint. And then try to spin it today.

Also what you all have conveniently ignored, according to the listing of benefits, this will be the last free Movable Type. The only guaranteed upgrade path, is not the paid version.

And not to to mention that Six Apart guaranteed that they wouldn't require TypeKey for MT users--but guess what? You want MT? You have to have a TypeKey account.

As for Textpattern and Wordpress only supporting one weblog? There's a way to work around this in WP, I'm working on and I have no doubts that both products will support multi-weblogs in their next release.

If I was going to pay this money, I would go ExpressionEngine.

Oh and by the way, I did donate to Movable Type, same as I paid for Blogger Pro, and Radio -- I don't expect something for nothing. But I do expect not to be treated like shit form a company who I have supported in the past, including providing code and work arounds and support for other people.
posted by shelleyp at 1:46 PM on May 13, 2004


Just to toss my .02 in, I don't have any problem whatsoever with MT deciding to charge for their product. It's a good product. There were some features I was missing, but was willing to wait for, such as user registration, comment spam-blocking, and the like. It looks like those things will be in soon, once the "feature release" comes out.

But they priced me right out of my future plans for expansion. Actually I was already priced out, since I've got a couple other blog authors, but they haven't posted in years anyhow so they were no big loss.

I won't become an "illegal" user even if they nod and wink, and I'm just plain unwilling to spend $70 on the "basic" model. So I switched to WordPress today. No muss, no sweat, no skin off my nose. I like to tinker with new stuff in any case, so the move will be a little bit of "fun." And it looks like the newer versions of WordPress are going to have the rest of the features I was looking for anyhow...
posted by Lafe at 1:51 PM on May 13, 2004


if building a multi-blog multi-user CMS was so easy, how come there aren't a hundred of them?

There are many of them, though maybe not a hundred. The very first post in this thread pointed to one that appears to have all the features its authors could think of.

When I set up my blog, I considered MT but rejected it on the principle that it's better to use free software when it's available. Movable Type was never free software.
posted by sfenders at 2:12 PM on May 13, 2004


jeremy: While I'm all for keeping up a good relationship with loyal users, I'm not sure I'd define people who use a free product as customers. It's not fun to alienate people, but when they aren't paying anything for what you're offering them, it hurts less.

That would be short-sighted. Many of the people who keep their own small-time personal blogs also work at large companies where their advice is sought and respected with regard to larger corporate purchases.
posted by vacapinta at 2:18 PM on May 13, 2004


Okay -

Matt: $75 I might be able to put together, depending on the CPU limit issue and whether or not I could use the non-commercial version.

Of course, when are we going to see another license shift?

It's already happened.

Actually feels like a bit of a bait and switch.

Here! Use this. It's free for non-commercial use. Put all your stuff in it.

Except, now it's not free. Not the way you were used to, at least. Sorry. And even if you pay us the maximum amount, it won't work the way you were used to. Of course now you have all your stuff in it, you could always look elsewhere. Have fun with translating the data, the templates, and everything else.

Of course, if you pay us, among other features you may never need, we'll let you give us free advertising on our own site by showing how many people use our product!
posted by Samizdata at 2:19 PM on May 13, 2004


To hear some of you talk, it's as though you actually believe that you have to move all your stuff off your MT 2.6xx installations quick because when MT 3.0 comes out, all the MT blogs out there will go blooey unless we all pay up.

That's only the first stage, of course. Next, the chips in our heads -- implanted last month when black vans in the service of Ben and Mena (what did you think Anil's job was, anyway?) came and chloroformed us all in the middle of the night -- will self-activate, making us all mindless minions in the service of their dark armies, sworn to their cause, and bent on world domination.

Seriously. Some of you are parsing Six Apart's words like practiced conspiracy theorists, while somehow completely missing the point.
posted by mcwetboy at 2:32 PM on May 13, 2004


vacapinta: That would be short-sighted. Many of the people who keep their own small-time personal blogs also work at large companies where their advice is sought and respected with regard to larger corporate purchases.

That's a good point, vacapinta. From what I can see, the few posters here who use MT in a corporate setting seem to be perfectly willing to pay for a corporate license. If it's the best product for the money, and you know about it, whether or not you can afford it personally, would you really recommend something else to your company? Maybe you would. I wouldn't.

I'm curious to see what happens with the pricing models in the months to follow. It comforts me to know that the folks at 6A will probably read all of these posts. (having a moment: the Web is neat, isn't it?)
posted by jeremy at 2:45 PM on May 13, 2004


No warning. None. Not even a hint. And then try to spin it today.
Are you kidding? They've been hinting that MT3.0 would have a fee structure for more than a year, and only decided to also provide a free version recently. This is not news.

this will be the last free Movable Type. The only guaranteed upgrade path, is not the paid version.
So the fuck what? This and older versions will still function. Good god, do you think there's a self-destruct device in all those copies of MT2.6x? Don't be surprised if someone has already archived MT2.661 so that we can grab it for free whenever we want.

You want MT? You have to have a TypeKey account.
You want Blogger? You have to have a Profile page now.
You want LiveJournal? Same thing.


To hear some of you talk, it's as though you actually believe that you have to move all your stuff off your MT 2.6xx installations quick because when MT 3.0 comes out, all the MT blogs out there will go blooey unless we all pay up.

Exactly.
posted by me3dia at 2:55 PM on May 13, 2004


I think it's the number of users and blogs to determine pricing that is getting (some) of our collective goats. It comes down to Price Points.

The Price Points for MT will fall differently among their different customer bases: the Commercial, the Casual, and the Enthusiast users. Matt hit it on the nose with how the Enthusiast Crowd would be glad to pay out $39, $79 and $99, but balk at higher prices charged for Commercial users and have needs greater than the Casual users.

This new pricing structure discourages too much playing around (i.e. I'll make a new blog today just for everything I eat) or becoming an MT hobbyist with some friends (i.e. I'll invite everyone I know to post on my blog).

It's a shame that the pricing structure couldn't take these Enthusiast users into account, because these people tend to be early adopters and trend leaders, but doing so would cut off Six Apart's bread and butter customers.
posted by stevis at 3:01 PM on May 13, 2004


Don't be surprised if someone has already archived MT2.661 so that we can grab it for free whenever we want.

You can still get it from Six Apart. With a little URL manipulation, it appears that older versions are still around as well.
posted by hyperizer at 3:03 PM on May 13, 2004


Paying for software is teh suck.

Seriously, though, the main reason I switched from Blogger to MT is because at the time, Blogger was having serious uptime issues and didn't have native commenting. IIRC, that was before the Google buyout. The extra features of MT were just icing on the cake, though my blog eventually used them.

Now that MT is charging, and Blogger is residing on Google's servers, I'm seriously thinking of switching back. B'sides, Blogger is all shiny and new again!
posted by keswick at 3:04 PM on May 13, 2004


"To hear some of you talk, it's as though you actually believe that you have to move all your stuff off your MT 2.6xx installations quick because when MT 3.0 comes out, all the MT blogs out there will go blooey unless we all pay up.

Mine just might.

I was an alpha and beta tester, when the betas started coming and we were told we could go public, I did. It seemed stable and since I was planning on upgrading anyway, I didn't see the harm.

However, it now seems that if I want to do a clean install of the product I tested, I will have to pay for a license (I have more than one user and more than three weblogs -- all on the same site though). This leaves me with four choices: a) trash months of work, b) pay what I feel is an exorbitant fee, c) break the law, or d) stick with a potentially buggy beta version.

This could easily have been avoided if 6A was a little more forthcoming about their plans during testing. If I/we had been advised a price structure was going to be implemented I certainly would have held off on deciding whether or not to upgrade until it was finalized. As it stands now, early adopters and people involved in the testing process are getting the shaft, many of us made decisions based on misleading information:
"Movable Type 3.0 will be a free download and upgrade."

"The next version of Movable Type will be version 3.0, a significant and free upgrade. "

Source: Movable Type News
Sure, technically it's accurate, but it would have been nice if they had included the big giant ass BUT...posted by cedar at 3:04 PM on May 13, 2004


A few points to clarify misconceptions or inaccurate information:

There is a free version of Movable Type, available on our site, which like all versions of Movable Type consists of the exact same code. There's no crippleware, no nagware. We trust you. We never said this is the last free version of Movable Type.

You are entitled to download Movable Type 2.661 or Movable Type 3.0 when you purchase or acquire a license for MT. Use the version that's right for you. Right now, some people aren't finding the download link for 2.661 in their account, but we'll have that fixed shortly.

Everyone who has a recently updated key right now will continue to appear on the Recently Updated list and can apply that key as a discount for any purchase they make. Having a Recently Updated key has always required making a payment; free users of MT have never appeared on that list.

Every key credits a $20 discount towards your purchase of a license, except your second key counts for $25 because we have a lot of users who donated $45 and we wanted to err on the side of giving them as full a credit as possible.
posted by anildash at 3:22 PM on May 13, 2004 [1 favorite]


"And the Developers didst look up from their keyboards, and looked about their shabby one-room walkups, and they didst declare:

"Holy shit, we're starving here. Does anybody have any money for some ramen or something?"


As one of those who have helped bring people free blogging tools, all I can say is that it all depends on the business model. LJ has 83,000 paid accounts @ ~$25 a year. That's a lot of ramen, especially when the site overhead per account is just pennies a year. Likewise, Blogger had thousands of paid accounts too -- in addition to advertising -- and their server infrastructure was much less centralized and demanding, really.

The problem isn't that internet companies offer services and software at the price that users most prefer -- free. The problem is when they do so without any consideration for their business model.

Most developers who come up with useful web-based applications people just aren't very good at creating or executing upon a "free" or "free and paid" business model.

Really, it's an art, because you have to start thinking about your application in the same ways that an experienced restraunteur might think of what's on the menu, as opposed to someone who is just a good cook. How do you offer someone a good meal at a reasonable price without serving them large portions of the lobster and the foie gras? What corners do you cut to maximize both the number of customers and the profit per customer? Of course, in the case of a web-based application, what you are portioning out is different. Drive space. Bandwidth. Database activity.

Also, there are lots of ways to make money as a "free" or "free and paid" site, but even there, it is a bit of an art, in that people's willingness to pay for a "free" service depends upon the quality, worth, and level of service that you provide, it's relative value in the marketplace, and on the level of community you've developed, and how they perceive you.

All of those things matter, and still, there's still the matter of how you get the service to pay for itself. Donations? Memberships? Banner ads? Text ads? Gmail is interesting, in that they've done something I long advocated -- offering customized advertising. I don't like how they do it, mind you, but there are a lot of ways that it can be done very effectively, especially when you have access to a person's posts, interests, preferred sites, reading list, music list, communities, bio pages, etc.

Ultimately, tomorrow's future creators of web-based applications need a lot more than just a great, popular, viral service. They need to sit down first -- ideally with someone with a bit of experience -- and start hammering out their business model, improving their scalability, and reducing their cost-per-user proactively, before their site goes live. Good services can get a lot of word-of-mouth very quickly, but if they aren't ready to handle all that growth or don't have a business model that can support it, even affording ramen can be tough.

Frankly, after looking at all the business models out there for weblogs, I think that "free" / "free and paid" services have the greatest potential, in that they get the most growth and word of mouth. That doesn't preclude the makers of these services from licensing a version for businesses, intranets, etc., but yes, the public wants free... and I think that's a good thing.
posted by insomnia_lj at 3:48 PM on May 13, 2004


Anil, if I can offer some advice -- I think the negative reaction to the pricing plan might be due to the design of the payment page. I just took this screenshot of the site:



Maybe tone down the payment page a little and we'll all chill out? kthnxbi :)
posted by mathowie at 3:51 PM on May 13, 2004


"Everyone who has a recently updated key right now will continue to appear on the Recently Updated list and can apply that key as a discount for any purchase they make. Having a Recently Updated key has always required making a payment; free users of MT have never appeared on that list."

"Every key credits a $20 discount towards your purchase of a license, except your second key counts for $25 because we have a lot of users who donated $45 and we wanted to err on the side of giving them as full a credit as possible."

Except that Mena herself wrote earlier today that the FULL amount of previous money paid to MT/6A would be credited, not just $20 for the first time and $25 for the second time. Some of us donated $20 (or whatever) early on, then went on to drop $150 for a commercial license. Suddenly, that $150 counts the same as someone else's $20? That hardly seems... well, proper.
posted by theonetruebix at 4:08 PM on May 13, 2004


What an incredibly tasteless screenshot.
posted by cobra libre at 4:14 PM on May 13, 2004


Anil: There is a free version of Movable Type, available on our site, which like all versions of Movable Type consists of the exact same code. There's no crippleware, no nagware. We trust you. We never said this is the last free version of Movable Type.

Curious then: why is there a distinction, then, that the paid licenses have the following:

# Application updates and fixes (not including major upgrades)

# A guaranteed path to future versions

These were odd statements to make. If the free version has these, why differentiate?

These made no sense at all.

Additionally, were we not assured that people would not have to use TypeKey if they upgraded to MT? Why require it to download?

This made no sense at all.

No one begrudges Six Apart success or profit. But bits and pieces of info for the last year does not a web of trust make. Tiny hints here, lots of PR there, and too much silence. Your roots are with us, Anil--now you tell me why you would expect us to react any differently than we have?
posted by shelleyp at 4:58 PM on May 13, 2004


I'm curious what 6A counts as a 'blog' in their licensing?

Sure, there's an easy answer: a blog is whatever MT calls a blog within the admin interface, with it's own config options and set of templates.

As some have commented here though, people will use multiple 'blogs' within a single site to handle includes like remaindered links or other aspects of their site like portfolio's, photo albums etc. If MT licensing is left up to the honor system, could we stretch the definition of a 'blog' as something that looks like a single site, behind a single (not necessarily top level) URL?
posted by jschuur at 5:13 PM on May 13, 2004


pssst, hysterical freeloaders! blosxom 3.0 will be out soon! :)
posted by elphTeq at 5:26 PM on May 13, 2004


What I think is going on here is a bit of the "Photoshop" effect.

Come on...how many people out there have a pirate copy of Photoshop sitting on their PCs? I know I've been known to install Photoshop on occasion when a friend has handed me a cracked version, although I don't have it anymore.

Now how many of you actually need Photoshop, with all its professional features?

How many could, in reality, do all the photo manipulations you need in, say, The Gimp, which is completely free?

Photoshop's price point is set for people who need to do professional image manipulation as part of their job - not for kids who use it to mess with photos of their friend's face.

Applied to MT - if you need all the amazing features it claims to offer, then maybe you are a professional user, and payment shouldn't be a problem. If you don't need all those fancy features, maybe you're just using MT because "it's the best" or "it's famous" rather than because it suits you. Maybe you can find something that does everything you need that is truly free. In fact, as plenty of people in this thread have pointed out, there's more than likely a free service / application out there that will work perfectly fine, even if it doesn't have an A-lister stamp of approval.

(Posted by a MT2.* user who only really installed it to "see what it was like"...Photoshop style. I'm quite happy to switch to something else if the need arises.)
posted by Jimbob at 5:43 PM on May 13, 2004


I think if the non-commercial prices were 20-40-75 bucks with unlimited on the top end, they could continue to benefit from the giant userbase of hackers while also making money from businesses and corporations running the software.

Those kinds of prices seem like they would probably make really good sense for both Six Apart (as well as large, large numbers of MT users) -- if only Six Apart charged additional fees for users who want product support.

(I still wish I knew if a license for 3.0 will also be good for 4.0, or what, though. That affects the value of a license dramatically.)
posted by mattpfeff at 5:58 PM on May 13, 2004


So who has "upgraded" anyone? Opinions?
posted by keswick at 6:08 PM on May 13, 2004


it's the fact that there was no warning, none whatsoever, that the number of users and weblogs was going to become a pricing issue before those of us who created the users and weblogs did so.

No warning. None. Not even a hint. And then try to spin it today.


Shelley, consider 3.0 your warning. As far as everything I've read and know this is a developer's release. It's not a feature release. It's not for everyone.

So why did they release this if it wasn't for everyone? How would they make it available to developers if they didn't release it?

So what will come from a developer's release? And with the extra income from the commercial licensees which pays for a internal team dedicated to nothing but MT? And with all of those developer's competing for the $7000 prize and aided by the soon-to-be developer's network? What comes of all of that?

A feature release of Movable Type that is worth every penny of that license fee.

If the free version has these, why differentiate?

Because when you pay for software, you need to know how long that's good for. When you don't pay for software, you don't.
posted by fooljay at 6:29 PM on May 13, 2004


I still wish I knew if a license for 3.0 will also be good for 4.0, or what, though.

I can't see any reason to suspect it would. Your license for [insert commercial shrinkwrap application of choice] 3.0 has little bearing on the cost of your license for version 4.0, though sometimes an upgrade path is available.

It's best to assume it's a license for the current version. I may have misread, but I saw no mention of lifetime licenses, and it doesn't make sense for 6A to offer such.
posted by cCranium at 7:17 PM on May 13, 2004


if you need all the amazing features it claims to offer, then maybe you are a professional user, and payment shouldn't be a problem.

I don't know about that. I mostly see people going on about the cost of multiple blogs and authors. I'm not a professional user (e.g. I have no idea what MySQL databases are or why I'd need them), but I do run a site with many authors, which, it seems, puts future MT releases out of my reach. That's fine; I can stick with 2.661 or move to something else if necessary, but if they offered what I wanted for $20-40, then I'd pony up.
posted by transient at 7:19 PM on May 13, 2004


Not happy, Jan.

I notice that the only people not baulking at the price points are the people who probably have more money than sense.

What I see is that 6A panicked when Blogger relaunched this week, so they rushed out these half-baked pricing options without understanding their market. Waking up and finding Ben and Mena (and Anil) have turned into Bill Gates was not a nice surprise.

I was kind of looking forward to MT 3.0, but not now. I am not paying $69 or whatever for a MT whose only enhancement is a crufty comment registration system. It's fortunate that I'm not keeping any group blogs or hosting blogs for friends, in which my indignation would be even greater.

Sorry, Six Apart, you lose.
posted by GrahamVM at 7:24 PM on May 13, 2004


What I see is that 6A panicked when Blogger relaunched this week, so they rushed out these half-baked pricing options without understanding their market.

I can tell you you're wrong, but you're welcome to believe whatever you like.

Waking up and finding Ben and Mena (and Anil) have turned into Bill Gates was not a nice surprise

Ha. That's funny. If only you knew Ben, Mena and Anil, you might know how ridiculous that statement is.
posted by fooljay at 7:33 PM on May 13, 2004


I'm sure Bill Gates is a nice guy in person too.
posted by GrahamVM at 7:36 PM on May 13, 2004


I donated after I set up MT and liked it, replacing my own PHP/MySQL blog. I'd donate $20 for 3.0, but that's it. I'm living as a college student now, and $70 just isn't plausible. The pricing page times out, so I have no idea if my one-person blog would even require any payment to upgrade, but the $70 price point, if that is it, strikes me as too steep.

That said, they can charge whatever they like, of course. :) They work hard to make a good product, and if it's $70 that they want to charge, that's their business. I just suspect that it'll prove less profitable than $35, in terms of resulting volume.
posted by waldo at 7:41 PM on May 13, 2004


I've donated about $50 (total) in the past year to SixApart for Movable Type. Tonight, I finished migrating my three sites to WordPress, and deleted the last remnants of the MT installs from my server.

Even though I was an alpha/beta tester, to "upgrade" (if you want to call it that) to MT3 and just continue using it as I was previously would have cost me $150.

I don't begrudge SA the $50 - it cost money to fund and launch TypePad, after all...
posted by mrbill at 8:05 PM on May 13, 2004


You know, it's not that Six Apart is introducing a paid system... It's how MUCH they're asking. I'm in the process of starting a group weblog. I don't know how many authors I'll need, but I do know that most of them will only be very occasional posters. At the moment I have 5, and only two of us are actually posting more than once a month. I'd have no problem with this business choice if the prices were a tad more afforable - the $20/40/75 suggestion above, for instance. But over a hundred dollars? That's just too steep.

And limiting users.... I'm not happy with that. Not at all. But what else can you expect?

It's not that I have a problem paying for 'free' services - I fork over for my Livejournal acccount, I'm buying a vastly overpriced button to keep some message boards I enjoy up and running, I paid $20 to read about Star Wars. But yes, I am going to balk at paying 119.95 for six measley users on MT. Blogger is looking very good right now...
posted by fujikosmurf at 8:44 PM on May 13, 2004


The problem with many of the open source alternatives is that they don't reasonably support multiple instances. You can only run a single blog off a single installation.

My biggest problem with the new MT pricing structure is that it doesn't reasonably support multiple authors. I've got blogs that would be forced to the maximum non-commercial license level simply because they are a team effort.

I can kludge a fix for the multiple instance problem: just install the program a bunch of times. I can't kludge a fix for the multiple author problem. It would appear my choices are: 1) spend insane amounts of money to support not-for-profit group projects, 2) cheat the license limits, or 3) abandon Movable Type.
posted by chipr at 8:58 PM on May 13, 2004


chipr: "The problem with many of the open source alternatives is that they don't reasonably support multiple instances."

Considering how small some of the packages are and how easy installation is, it's trivial to just put another copy in another directory. Wordpress and Textpattern both support table prefixes so sharing a database isn't an issue. Your looking at the difference between the instant MT weblog creation and five minutes.

"just install the program a bunch of times"

Nope. Did you miss this part: "You may install the Software on only one (1) computer or server having a single CPU. You may make one (1) copy of the Software in any machine readable form solely for back-up purposes, provided you reproduce the Software in its original form and with all proprietary notices on the back-up copy. "

I read that as one copy (and a backup) per server and I have no idea what happens if your running it on a dual processor box. I guess you can't.
posted by cedar at 9:12 PM on May 13, 2004


I've never understood why people use Movable Type anyway ... (or, heck, couldn't write yourself within about a day, if you know Perl/PHP). Its popularity is a complete mystery to me.
Well, perhaps because the overwhelming majority of the Earth's population don't know either perl or PHP, and most of that majority don't want to?

I'm living as a college student now, and $70 just isn't plausible.
This comment and the many many others like it are missing a very important concept - the world does not owe you a living! Whatever the product may be, if you don't have the money, you don't get the product. How do you think you would fare if you walked into the local BMW dealer and said "I really want one of the new M3s, but I only have $10k - can I have one anyway, because I'm just a student and $150k just isn't plausible?" Why is it that so many people think that anything to do with the Internet should be free for the taking?

Whether or not Six Apart could have handled this transition better from a PR aspect depends to some extent on your particular point of view (and, I suspect, how you are personally affected by the new licensing), but that doesn't change the fact - they own the product and can price it in any way they want to. For those that contributed to the project, consider what you have got out of it before you complain too much about being ripped off. For those who are running sites that don't fit within the free license and who are unable to come up with the license fee, see the previous paragraph.

In any case, if you have previously been using MT, you already have the product and can keep using it until the heat-death of the universe, so what is the big deal?
posted by dg at 9:57 PM on May 13, 2004


I can't see any reason to suspect it would. Your license for [insert commercial shrinkwrap application of choice] 3.0 has little bearing on the cost of your license for version 4.0, though sometimes an upgrade path is available.

It's best to assume it's a license for the current version. I may have misread, but I saw no mention of lifetime licenses, and it doesn't make sense for 6A to offer such.


Yeah, I agree. Basically I just don't know what "A guaranteed path to future versions" means, exactly. And in this case specifically (MT 3.0), I'm not going to put down any money unless I know that it will entitle me to a license for a version that includes certain features (mostly, those long-awaited categorization features, which are the ones that would have the greatest value for me).
posted by mattpfeff at 9:59 PM on May 13, 2004


I don't understand the problem... I've been using this one my sites for years. All the multi-author / category gripes have had an easy-to-use piece of free software available since 2000...

It's basic and it works very well.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:01 PM on May 13, 2004


Everyone who's saying "MT 2.661 is free, just use that forever" is missing something. Although it's a great piece of software right now, that doesn't mean that it'll be a great piece of software forever. Much as Windows XP was (relatively) secure when it came out, it quicky got hacked wide open. MT may be great now, but as comment spam (or whatever) gets more sophisticated, it might be rendered useless by exploits in the future.

As someone who just spent the last three months converting over five years of journal entries to MT, this is very, very upsetting. I used multiple blogs and multiple authors to format everything just so, and I don't have a few hundred dollars to lay out to make sure my shit stays secure.

Back to notepad for me.
posted by Jairus at 10:30 PM on May 13, 2004


I'm living as a college student now, and $70 just isn't plausible.
This comment and the many many others like it are missing a very important concept - the world does not owe you a living! Whatever the product may be, if you don't have the money, you don't get the product.


Fair enough: but $0 to $150, or even just $100 IS a huge price jump. Especially for just the few features they've added. I know there's no such thing as a free lunch, and if they want to keep the price that high I can't do anything about it - but I'm in the odd position of very much wanting to give them money for MT (was already planning to do so), but not being able to do so / not being able to justify giving them THAT MUCH money. Especially since for the amount I'd have to pay, there's similar software with more features.

I'm not a business person or anything, and of course I don't know the exact number of people who are in my situation, so I'm just guessing at things, but surely a lot of people buying something for $50 is better than just a handful of people buying it for $100?
posted by sailoreagle at 10:46 PM on May 13, 2004


Also, the payment page reminds me of Real.com waaaaay too much.

Heh. I thought the same thing (and made a lame joke about it elsewhere), in a haha-that's-amusing way than a Donald-Sutherland-bodysnatchers way.

I'll keep using MT, I imagine, and I'll just have to kill a couple of testbed blogs to conform to the free licensing requirements, I suppose.

But I do agree with others upthread that the low end 1 user/3 blogs free license does seem excessively limiting, given that many of us have at least one separate blog these days for quicklinks stuff, included by whatever means on our main one.

I'd have thought that 3 users and 6 blogs, say, might be more reasonable for a private, non-commercial, typical weblog scribbler. Ah well.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:00 PM on May 13, 2004


6A can do any damn thing they want to, of course. But there's evidence of a serious lack of business sense here.

MT's cachet has come from the power user crowd—the single-blog, single-blogger user which makes up the majority of casual bloggers use Blogger or LJ or Typepad. But this power user group is exactly the one that doesn't have a comfortable place in their new license model. This is their first big mistake.

Their second big mistake is looking to commercial and corporate use of MT to be their chief revenue stream (which I assume is the case as opposed to concentrating on Typepad). This will work for a little while, until the one day when it suddenly doesn't. It could be when MS adds a rudimentary (but very blogging friendly) CMS to IIS with a front-end integrated into Office; it could be when the low-end CMS vendors decide to play in the workgroup blogging space. Whenever it happens, it will happen because this is a niche market that is very peculiar to our place and time and whatever blogs are today, you can be sure they will be something quite different just a few years down the road. Having alienated their power user base, there won't be anyone with brand loyalty, or who cares. The IT geek won't recommend MT because he runs it at home—he'll have switched to something open source, most likely.

What the 6A people and so many others don't understand is that developing a nice piece of cool technology is only worth as much as it can be leveraged. For an example of how to do this, see Google. For an example of how not to do this, see DejaNews. Being popular and having geek street cred can be step #1 of the "profit!" sequence. But you still need to manage step #2. And step #2 isn't merely "start charging a fee".
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:30 PM on May 13, 2004


Just because (I don't think) anyone's mentioned it, Blogware, brought to us by the most excellent Joey DeVilla (aka the Accordian Guy) looks very interesting. I can't figure out how to try it, though, as it only appears to be available through resellers, and I don't have the cashola to play that game.

But a plug, anyway, if people are thinking of switching from MT over this brouhaha.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:34 PM on May 13, 2004


"I think the negative reaction to the pricing plan might be due to the design of the payment page..."

A tasteless/comical photoshop edit.
From Mathowie.
That's it. I'm calling it.
Time of death -- 3:51 pm PST, May 14th, 2004.

Welcome to MetaFark!
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:51 AM on May 14, 2004


...or how about "MetaFilterFounderFumbles".

MeFiFoFum!
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:52 AM on May 14, 2004


I smell the blood of the admun?
posted by Samizdata at 1:17 AM on May 14, 2004


After ploughing through all these comments and all those trackbacks, it seems to me that Six Apart has caused itself an unnecessary amount of grief by excluding small 2- or 3-author partner/family blogs from the free version. Rather than the 1+3 limit, a more flexible approach might have been to say "number of authors + number of blogs = X". Even if X is kept at 4, that allows a 3-author single blog, or two authors on a single blog plus a sidebar or a photo blog. Personally, I'd set X to be higher, say at 10, because the double figures would be psychologically significant; most people would figure they're nowhere near that, and feel they still have room to grow without falling over the cough-up line. My own use of MT is 1+2 at the moment, so I'm okay for now (and may well upgrade), but having no room to experiment beyond a single extra blog is a bit of a shame.

It is, of course, entirely possible for one site to contain blogs run by MT and Blogger and whatever else, for those who want to run more than 3 blogs for free, yet still keep the full functionality of MT on their main blog. Sidebar links blogs, for example, rarely need entry categories, and now that Blogger does comments you won't even need to ditch those.
posted by rory at 2:12 AM on May 14, 2004


After ploughing through all these comments and all those trackbacks, it seems to me that Six Apart has caused itself an unnecessary amount of grief by excluding small 2- or 3-author partner/family blogs from the free version.

In that, I believe, you are absolutely right. What's worse, is that I don't think they really intended for that, or much of any of this, to happen.

We shall see...
posted by fooljay at 3:25 AM on May 14, 2004


While I think everyone realizes that Six Apart can do whatever they want with their products, Techdirt Mike brings up a good point that hasn't really been mentioned yet:

However, it seems that they've screwed up one of the most basic rules in pricing: never take away features and charge for them. You can charge for new features - but taking away features that were included for free before always pisses off your most loyal customers. They feel suckered. They feel like you've pulled a bait and switch on them. In this case, many MT users set up multiple blogs with multiple authors. That's what the software encouraged them to do. Now, they're looking at the pricing and realizing to continue doing so on the new platform would cost them around $600. "Costs more for doing less" isn't a way to make users happy.
posted by elvissinatra at 5:00 AM on May 14, 2004


It's worth noting that the 'Get Movable Type' page has been changed. They've moved the 'MOVABLE TYPE FREE' towards the top and made it clash with the rest of the page so your eyes are drawn to it.
posted by tankboy at 7:57 AM on May 14, 2004


I'm living as a college student now, and $70 just isn't plausible.

$150 for a year comes out to $12.50 per month.
How much did you spend on coffee and used CDs last month?
posted by me3dia at 8:58 AM on May 14, 2004


To build on tankboy's comment, the 'Get Movable Type' page has actually had two changes. Sometime yesterday afternoon they moved the free version of movable type up to the top of the sidebar and then today they moved the personal edition licenses above the commercial licenses. Probably trying to combat the argument that that page reminded people of Real.
posted by HiddenInput at 9:02 AM on May 14, 2004


but $0 to $150, or even just $100 IS a huge price jump.

$0 to $X where X is any number, even 0.01, is an effectively infinite price jump. Just think: how many times does zero go into 0.01? Well, a whole lot...
posted by kindall at 9:04 AM on May 14, 2004


me3dia: But it's not $12.50 a month, it's $150. When 6A starts offering payment plans and financing for MT licenses, then that might be a valid argument. Until then, it's not. I might have $12 for coffee in a month, broken down into an extra two bucks here or there -- but I certainly don't have an extra $150 on the table that's earmarked for 'coffee and CDs' that I can toss to 6A.

Even if it was $12.50 a month, that'd effectively double how much I'm paying for webstuffs, which comes pretty close to making it more money than I can afford.

Personally, I'm mostly annoyed because I put a large investment of my time into software that was free (like beer), with good support and consistent updates. Now, that software is gone, replaced by (your choice) expensive software with good support and consistent updates, and free software with no support or updates.

I'm sure 6A have nothing but the best of intentions, but that doesn't make it feel like a bait-and-switch any less.
posted by Jairus at 9:51 AM on May 14, 2004


I pay 25 dollars a year for livejournal. I'd gladly pay 25/year for a 'supported' MT (ala Radio) and the warm happy feeling knowing that Mena won't end up doing fetish porn in some Yakuza stronghold to make ends meet.
posted by tankboy at 10:43 AM on May 14, 2004


For those of you concerned about the TypeKey account required to download MT3.0, why not use this handy Dodgeit email account?
posted by Unxmaal at 11:29 AM on May 14, 2004


You can charge for new features - but taking away features that were included for free before always pisses off your most loyal customers.
I completely agree. This is taught in business 101.
posted by ericrolph at 3:03 PM on May 14, 2004


Oh my God, that's the funniest picture I've seen on MF ever. Quonsar has been truly trumped!

I can just imagine a stock photo of that chick ending up on tons of Web sites pointing out discount hosting packages and stuff now *g* Don't be abused by your Web hosting company! SomeCorpOrOther offers 60GB of bandwidth for just $7.50 a month!
posted by wackybrit at 3:06 PM on May 14, 2004


Mark Pilgrim has switched to wordpress...and made a $535 donation.
posted by quasistoic at 3:13 PM on May 14, 2004


But a plug, anyway, if people are thinking of switching from MT over this brouhaha.

Or you could even switch to TypePad.
posted by anildash at 8:45 PM on May 14, 2004


True. Just sayin'.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:23 PM on May 14, 2004


Ha. That's funny. If only you knew Ben, Mena and Anil, you might know how ridiculous that statement is.

What's actually funny is that several posters here very supportive of sixapart ARE friends with Ben, Mena, etc.

That's always good to know, especially when you start out with "If ONLY you knew". Damn me for not being more connected!

Or you could even switch to TypePad.

If people are upset with the new mt prices I doubt they'll pay 15 bucks for 200 mbs of space.

(yeah, I realize there are cheaper options, but I doubt someone use to mt would give up the control those lower versions take away)
posted by justgary at 12:31 AM on May 15, 2004


Anil isn't it time you guys did some damage control on the MT forums and various comapany weblogs instead of spending time posting on MeFi about the same issues? Not everyone reads MeFi you know.
posted by tonelesscereal at 1:11 AM on May 15, 2004


Looks like there's been a bit of a bump.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 2:03 AM on May 15, 2004


Hmph.

There's the license shifts I was kvetching about.

And a trend is most apparently set. That's two licensing changes before the real package is actually released.

Although I do appreciate their response, this leaves me scratching my head for the future and seriously looking at another CMS (I still won't use that platform term)...

(Is nice the multiprocessor clause got yanked though...)
posted by Samizdata at 4:57 AM on May 15, 2004


Wait, first you complain about the license and then you complain that they changed it to something more favorable?

Man, tough crowd...

If you want to read my thoughts: yesterday's and today's
posted by fooljay at 5:44 AM on May 15, 2004


Seriously. People will find anything to bitch about. Bitching is what powers the internet.
posted by chunking express at 11:09 AM on May 15, 2004


Aside from the sticker shock aspects of this whole thing, what I keep hearing from those "in the know" is that this is just a developers release and not really intended for the general masses ... the "real" MT3 with the features everyone has been wanting is coming somewhere down the line after the developers have a chance to work with it. All well and good, as I could continue to use my currently working installation until such time as there is this "feature-rich" version to be had. What about new users though? What about people who need to reinstall 2.6 for whatever reason? The only option for using MT right now IS the developers release (the old 2.6 download page now redirects to the new licensing page) and it's limited and priced out of many people's ranges.

The options available for people who might be thinking about using the software, and currently aren't, may very well turn some people away. I know when I was first thinking about a CMS, had I run across the new MT purchasing page, I wouldn't have downloaded it. I'm not a developer (and so no interest in a developers version), and knowing that I wanted to eventually start a group blog for my friends and I, the free license would have done me no good and the prices for personal use, I still think, are a bit high for most new users. After finally convincing one of my friends to switch from Blogger to MT, she emailed me and asked me why I would want her to use software that was well out of her budget ... which is how I found out about the changes. As I recall, Apple didn't stop shipping OS9 when they released the OSX developers version, but MT has stopped "shipping" 2.6 in favor of the new version for developers.

People keep saying that they "just didn't think things through" before posting the new version and licenses. While I am sure that Ben and Mena are nice people, and as nice people are just as prone to not thinking things through as any of us, SixApart the company needs to really think things through before they act. We expect companies to have the facts and figures planned out before they present a new product to the market and to communicate that information on a timely basis. Their spotty communications during the run-up to this release, and then the information they did provide, left more questions than answers for a great many people ... and it's angered and run off a large number of their software's users.

Me? I'll keep using my current install of MT while I wait to see what happens with the long-awaited feature-rich MT3. If and when it comes out, if it has features we've been wating for and is priced reasonably enough that I can afford it (and not overly limited in use), I might upgrade. If it takes too long, or costs too much for personal use ... and other options offer what I need and want on better terms, I won't.
posted by Orb at 12:06 PM on May 15, 2004


Mark Pilgrim has switched to wordpress...and made a $535 donation.

That's a bizarre gesture. He's been using Movable Type for years. I can understand moving on if he doesn't like the licensing terms, but to pay the developers of his new publishing platform the exact amount of Six Apart's licensing fee seems like a pretty blatant fuck you to people he claims to like.

But as always, it's a great example of showmanship.
posted by rcade at 12:59 PM on May 15, 2004


Maybe because it's not about the money to him?
posted by Orb at 2:03 PM on May 15, 2004


Seriously. People will find anything to bitch about. Bitching is what powers the internet.

Discussing recent developments regarding a very popular piece of software is bitching? Then is all debate bitching? Surely discussing changes makes more sense than people bringing up they "know" the founders and they would never do anything wrong. They're a company, free to be discussed like any other company.

Besides, looks like all that 'bitching' got a few things changed.

Kudos to sixapart for listening and taking this "bitching" into consideration.
posted by justgary at 3:06 PM on May 15, 2004


What's the definition of irony? Thousands of people using their free versions of MT to complain about the possibility that maybe, perhaps, if they have a rather complex and numerous collection of different weblogs and authors, they may, just maybe - if they want to download and use a just-released Developer's version, be asked to pay a rather modest sum for said new version.

What's the definition of irony? People irate about the possibility of having to pay a license for multiple authors and multiple weblogs with MT rushing over to WordPress, which does not support multiple authors or multiple weblogs at all.

The clarifications look like it will continue to be free for 99% of personal publishers - even those that host several weblogs for several people (up to 5 each). Add-ons are $10 a piece. Have a whole bunch? The volume license is quite reasonable. MT has never been open source. It has its technical pros and cons. There are reasons some may chose not to use it. But I don't really see the new costs as a barrier if it's your blogware of choice.
posted by sixdifferentways at 6:10 PM on May 15, 2004


Mark Pilgrim's gesture rocks. Either embrace the new licensing or move on. I think MovableType is an *excellent* product. I installed it at a former workplace to have it manage internal blogs for our developers. Wonderful product, and worth paying for. But not open source. Not in the least.

So, MT was "free as in beer" but not "free as in freedom." This was always the asterisk next to my statements to people that "MovableType is great software." Some people don't care about that freedom. But many do.

When I recommend MT I say "remember that this is commercial software, and you will be subject to the terms of SixApart, which have changed a few times over the years" in the same way most of us are subject to the terms of our agreements with Apple Computer and Microsoft Corporation.

The main-line future of blog tools is open source. They keep getting better and better. b2 was good. WordPress is better. Drupal is peculiar, but powerful. TextPattern is elegant but still relatively new. These are all open source. These are choices.

MT will remain a powerful choice too.

MT Users who are carping at SixApart would do better to be constructive about what licensing and pricing they feel would be fairer. Carping that they're being evil or Microsoftian is not productive in the least. Energy spent insulting 6A for being the commercial software company they have always been is energy better spent trying out alternatives.
posted by artlung at 8:02 PM on May 15, 2004


fooljay -

I was just saying that there was a precedent being set with shifting licenses. My worry is where it will shift to next.
posted by Samizdata at 10:57 PM on May 15, 2004


I gotcha. Is there a particular problem with shifting licenses as long as it benefits the consumer? I can understand how the opposite would be very bad, but I'm all for memememememe! :-)
posted by fooljay at 8:32 AM on May 16, 2004


if they want to download and use a just-released Developer's version, be asked to pay a rather modest sum for said new version

$700 is a "modest sum" in your world? Just to get around artificial limitations which don't actually exist in the software but are imposed via the licensing agreement? The word "modest" just took on a whole new definition, methinks.

Is there a particular problem with shifting licenses as long as it benefits the consumer?

Only that it continues to leave consumers wondering when the license will shift again. If a precedent is set that changes in license aren't keyed to releases of updates to the software but can happen whenever the company pleases based on little more than a sop to public opinion, then there is no way to know that you won't suddenly become noncompliant when the license to the software you're using changes after you've already downloaded and begun using it.
posted by Dreama at 10:13 AM on May 16, 2004


a few points:

They did bad research. They asked people from a small number of beta testers what their usage patterns were. This is called selection bias

Threat to the representativeness of a sample that occurs when the procedures used to select a sample result in the over- or under-representation of a significant segment of the population.

and it gives you bad results which causes you to then make bad decisions. it's also common. 6A is far from the first company to make this mistake.

IMO, they should admit they got the pricing wrong, and take the time to understand what the model should be, and then release. I think if they publically siad, we've seen new information that has made us reconsider our pricing model I think they would not appear wishy-washy. if they did it once. Stop. research correctly. make a good model. test it with the right people ( you can test pricing models just like you can test features) and then reveal the revised version once.

Is the pricing wrong is question you could ask-- but it is. There would not be such an uproar if they'd gotten it right.

So on a personal note: I pay for software. I won't pay for MT. I like the people of MT, I loath the pain of changing platforms. The problem is the value is wrong. I'm definitely in the 600 dollar category. I have Boxes&Arrows (which makes no money), 5 or 6 blogs which still don't support themselves, though I'm trying to get them to via adsense, and many blogs just for me-- a bookmark list, a travel notes blog, a comic book tracking blog. 600 bucks. Better I install a couple wikis and spend some quality time with drupal (especially now that james seng is making it easier to use) and get the features I'm dying for.

It's not about the money; it's about what I'm getting for the money. It's about value. It's what makes IKEA and Target successful. I hope MT figures it out before they loose too many folks who are valuable to them.
posted by christina at 12:05 PM on May 16, 2004


oh, and I have given money to MT before, as well as MTblacklist, to the tune of a 100 bucks each, and felt it was money well spent.
posted by christina at 12:06 PM on May 16, 2004


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