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Movable Type is Open Source
December 12, 2007 11:02 PM   Subscribe

Movable Type has gone open source.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste (49 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh. Interesting! Never used MT. How does it compare to WordPress?
posted by brundlefly at 11:09 PM on December 12, 2007


What trendsetters.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:17 PM on December 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


Interesting. I abandoned it after 2.0 and went to Wordpress. No regrets.
posted by mullingitover at 11:28 PM on December 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've wasted weeks of my life doing site rebuilds... too late.
posted by gomichild at 11:30 PM on December 12, 2007


The actual license used isn't mentioned until the third-to-the-last sentence. Apparently it's not that important. (?!)

It's the GPL.
posted by sdodd at 11:45 PM on December 12, 2007


Wasn't it always?
posted by empath at 11:46 PM on December 12, 2007


Wasn't it always?

Maybe. It wasn't free.
posted by enn at 11:49 PM on December 12, 2007


Too late guys.
posted by rsanheim at 12:10 AM on December 13, 2007


It's never too late for software to become open. Becoming open may happen too late to save a piece of software as a product, but that is a different idea.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:28 AM on December 13, 2007


hooray for movable type. can it possibly be configured to handle the 2008 elections, replacing the proprietary machines of diebold, et. al.?
posted by bruce at 12:45 AM on December 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Some people are never happy.
posted by jedro at 1:58 AM on December 13, 2007


It'll be interesting to see if anyone who migrated to WordPress from MT will go back now that MT has achieved Freedom 0.

The last time I had a play with MT was in 2004 and it was better than WP, but since then WordPress has come along in leaps and bounds. Has Movable Type kept up?
posted by Foaf at 2:23 AM on December 13, 2007


The last time I had a play with MT was in 2004 and it was better than WP, but since then WordPress has come along in leaps and bounds. Has Movable Type kept up?
I converted from Wordpress 2.2 (really 2.3, but that was a brief upgrade) to MT 4.x a couple of months ago -- a fairly easy process, once I got the WP database fixed.
MT has different strengths. As someone with a decent-sized LiveJournal following, the integrated OpenID support is impressive. Having been a user, and hacker, of MT years ago, I was used to the static processing, but also find that, in this day and age, it's a relief, of sorts, to not worry about eating up all my Memory and/or CPU running my blog (I'm on a virtual server). MT does support dynamic processing, as well, but in the Beta I used initially to test, it was broken, and I've never turned it back on.
My biggest reason, though, was because MT was written in Perl, which is my primary language. However, it'd not have converted had MT not provided me with as easy a platform for blogging as WordPress. I think it's slightly more "professional" and polished than WP, but lacks the community, and vast array of plugins and themes that MT does. It's a better "out of the box" blogging tool, if that makes sense.
posted by Asim at 3:53 AM on December 13, 2007


I've used MT since 2002, and avoided the WP switch simply because readjusting the date archives was just plain fucking annoying. I think it's just more intuitive than WP now. I have only a few widgets installed- one to correct Word-based character glitches and a custom field system to create graphic-based category tags.

At one point I tried to convert to WP because everyone told me it was so much easier; cut to four hours later and me wondering what the fuck I was thinking.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:38 AM on December 13, 2007


I'm another who switched to WordPress when MT started asking for $. Haven't looked back. Anything I want to do in WP, I can do.
posted by sciurus at 4:58 AM on December 13, 2007


I guess TypePad is where the money is .
posted by smackfu at 5:37 AM on December 13, 2007


Another vote for the "two years too late, fellas" crowd. However, this has interesting implications for the code modifications to MT made by the University of Minnesota (their uThink blog program) which was modified MT code (with their permission). Now THAT I am interested in downloading.
posted by spock at 5:41 AM on December 13, 2007


I'm excited. I converted my blog over to Drupal a while back, and wrote a custom UI theme for Drupal that lets it us MT CSS skins. Now that MT is GPL'd I can bundle its default CSS styles.

Not sure I would ever go back, though; I haven't used MT for quite a few years and it was frustrating when I tried to take it past "pure blogging".
posted by verb at 6:01 AM on December 13, 2007


(anecdote about what blogging software I use)
posted by p3on at 6:02 AM on December 13, 2007 [7 favorites]


Does seem a belated move.

I might have a tinker with it - still have some residual affection for MT, as running a weblog with it introduced me to tinkering with perl, HTML, CSS, etc. - but it requires (or used to?) so much effort to install and maintain, with so many pitfalls for a hobbyist-type user that I can't see it replacing Wordpress for me.
posted by jack_mo at 6:04 AM on December 13, 2007


Interesting that they've gone open source so soon after selling LiveJournal.
posted by Kellydamnit at 6:05 AM on December 13, 2007


p3on: Your blogging software is not as good as the blogging software I use.
posted by (parenthetic me) at 6:14 AM on December 13, 2007


I stepped along a similar path to verb. We used to use MT for everything and even recommended the corporate enterprise licenses for our customers. A couple of years ago we switched to other platforms (mainly Drupal) due to numerous issues (pricing was just a minor one), and I don't think we will be going back to MT.
posted by derMax at 6:27 AM on December 13, 2007


I also switched from MT to WordPress when MT started charging (even though I had purchased two "lifetime" licenses way early on - I don't always understand myself). At that time, WordPress was buggy as hell (wasn't even at v1.0 yet), upgrading was a constant pain, and the templating system changed significantly several times over a fairly short time period. The main appeal of WordPress was that it was written in PHP, which seemed easier for a novice like me to learn/tweak/etc., whereas MT's Perl code always confused the heck out of me. I also liked the dynamic processing and that all the entries are stored in a MySQL database. And now WP's a pretty decent body of code, and the community is rich enough that there is almost always a plugin perfectly adapted to do exactly what I want to have done. At this point, I don't think I'll switch back, but I fully support and applaud the MT crew for GPLing their stuff. They had a solid product years ago, and I can't imagine it has gotten any worse. Good luck to them.
posted by dilettanti at 6:30 AM on December 13, 2007


... even in those
days when there were only a few thousand bloggers out there and the
whole idea of starting a business around blogging was extremely risky,
Ben and Mena were really committed to setting the standard that Movable
Type would always be open, and would always be free, just as much as they were committed to making sure Six Apart would be a solid company that could hire passionate members of the community to stand behind its products.
What they weren't "really committed" to was allowing anyone else to make a living using their "open" product: According to the early licensess, you could not accept payment for MoveableType development services.

Which I found quite bizarre, at the time. "Tell me again why I should bother learning all about your blogging platform when I can learn a real content management platform and consult on it for money?"

That they ended up being "right" has always seemed to me to be a classic example of the fact that success, being a really messy thing, teaches you very little about what makes success.
posted by lodurr at 6:37 AM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


How's this new? Code always came with MT. So it goes with perl apps.
posted by xmutex at 7:09 AM on December 13, 2007


How's this new? Code always came with MT. So it goes with perl apps.
You couldn't give someone a copy of MT, you couldn't make improvements and distribute the improved copy, you couldn't create a 'bundled' solution that combined MT and plugins/enhancements, you couldn't use code from MT in another project with similar needs... basically, it was "free for some use" but not "open source."
posted by verb at 7:15 AM on December 13, 2007


My blog used to be run on MT, and I moved it to WordPress a while ago. At the time, I likened the experience from going from Windows to a Mac: it "just works." With Movable Type half the plugins I was trying to use wouldn't work; I was ripping my hair out trying to get things to function correctly.
posted by WCityMike at 7:21 AM on December 13, 2007


I'm gonna move from WP back to MT. I still contend that WP's templates are a nightmare mixing display code with application logic. It's a horrible approach. I never have to look at perl in MT, I shouldn't have to look at PHP in Wordpress. Also, due to PHP exploits, I had to turn off xml-rpc, which limits how other services can tap into my blog. I fear upgrading my WP install because the last one hosed my templates (which again, shouldn't happen because I shouldn't be able to mess up application logic trying to make something pretty).

I'd say it's never too late to go open source, Netscape waited many years to start the Mozilla project and it wasn't until last month that Firefox finally overtook IE as the most popular browser here. I look forward to seeing what sorts of extensions and forks people create with it.
posted by mathowie at 8:04 AM on December 13, 2007


[something about blogger]
posted by blue_beetle at 8:32 AM on December 13, 2007


... due to PHP exploits, I had to turn off xml-rpc ...

Are you running a really old PHP build? The last xml-rpc vulnerability I saw as for a build two minor versions back from what my hosting provider installs.
posted by lodurr at 8:33 AM on December 13, 2007


I used to run an internal company blog on MT. But somehow I had the Berkeley DB files get corrupted. Mea culpa for not having done any backups but it wasn't a priority. Given that I had to start over anyway, but with MySQL on the backend, I switched to Wordpress. When I decided to leave Blogger for my own domain, Wordpress was my choice.

Matt, I haven't seen any of the problems you have seen although my provider disabled (by setting permissions to 000) wp-trackback.php, claiming it used too much CPU. That was the only issue I had with the 2.3.1 upgrade.
posted by tommasz at 9:02 AM on December 13, 2007


My own anecdote and unrepentant opnions:

I manage blogs for several users using MT. No-can-do with WP.

Static processing with MT means that if something happens to my MySQL install (like upgrading my server and losing the db), I can reconstruct from the HTML files. Admittedly, client software (I use Tinderbox, but MarsEdit will also do nicely. Ecto is a disaster of another order.)

Also, WP sucks for the plain and simple fact of PHP. Though I can't say I'm crazy about MT 4.0's drop-down rollover CSS menus or its awful documentation.

Come to think of it, running blogging software sort of blows but we all know that the free services means your data is not completely your own and what's a computer for if not to get your control freak on?

</self-absorbed pontification>
posted by mistersquid at 10:01 AM on December 13, 2007


Ecto is a disaster of another order

Heh. I eval'd a hatfull of blog clients last spring/summer for a prospective project, and I was utterly astounded at how bad most of them were. And Ecto was among the worst. (And on a Mac, it's worse still. All that "core text" crap just has got to go -- the core text HTML translation is just abysmal.)

The only one that I found that I really truly thought was actuallly good was Blogdesk (Windows). Qumana and the Microsoft blog client were pretty good (and I suspect they share a common origin), but the only standalone blog client for Macs that I thought was worth anything at all was Qumana.

Scribefire/Performancing is pretty good and that's what I'd recommend to any Mac user who's reasonably competent at using their computer, but it's not really much good at all for the kind of stuff you're talking about.

Disclaimer: I didn't eval MarsEdit for reasons that I forget precisely, but I do know that there was some particular reason it could be eliminated without trying it.
posted by lodurr at 10:10 AM on December 13, 2007


(This was all for stuff we would need to recommend to total tyros. If I remember rightly, MarsEdit is only semi-WYSIWYG, or something like that, so it was toast out of the gate for our purposes.)
posted by lodurr at 10:12 AM on December 13, 2007


"So anyway, congratulations to Six Apart for finally joining the open community of freedom-loving pussy eaters." 8212;Mark Pilgrim
posted by silby at 12:17 PM on December 13, 2007


Oh poo MeFi didn't like my em dash.
posted by silby at 12:19 PM on December 13, 2007


I still contend that WP's templates are a nightmare mixing display code with application logic. It's a horrible approach. I never have to look at perl in MT, I shouldn't have to look at PHP in Wordpress.

'zactly. This was why, though I tried it a few times, attracted by the vibrant dev community around it, I could never get beyond a cursory fucking around with Wordpress. MT was the first real tool I used after graduating from Blogger back in ye olde 2001 or so, and so maybe I'm biased because I put a lot of time and effort into learning how to work with it, but it just makes a lot more sense to me from an architecture-and-design perspective.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:22 PM on December 13, 2007


Goddamn if the new version hasn't been a bit of bug struggle for me, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:22 PM on December 13, 2007


I used Greymatter, then Movable Type, and now Wordpress.

Can someone tell me: is MT lighter on the server? And is it easy to import from WP to MT, while keeping old URIs intact?
posted by robcorr at 6:42 PM on December 13, 2007


Can someone tell me: is MT lighter on the server? And is it easy to import from WP to MT, while keeping old URIs intact?
Depends. MT is very light on the server when users are reading pages because it generates static HTML files. WP, and most other blogging and CMS packages, dynamically generate each page as it's requested. The downside of MT's approach is the heavy hit of regenerating all the pages as static files whenever someone posts a new entry. (The front page, the archive pages, all the topical archive pages, any pages that have 'related article' crosslinks, and so on...)

It takes careful template design in MT to avoid massive rippling 'every time someone posts a blog entry ever url on your site is rebuilt from scratch' scenarios. If you're careful though it can be very very efficient.

At least, that was my experience.
posted by verb at 6:48 PM on December 13, 2007


Thanks, verb. That's basically what I remember, and it sounds like it is preferable where the readership is large and the posting rate is reasonable.
posted by robcorr at 6:55 PM on December 13, 2007


Mind you, in the years since then most serious blogging/cms systems have developed caching systems that alleviate the performance impact of the dynamic generation for high-performance sites. It's hard to beat plain old HTML, though, when the DB goes boom and you have to fall back on whatever static content is still working.

The biggest drawback is that it's very difficult to integrate really dynamic stuff (say, 'top news this hour' or 'latest comments') without either embedding dynamic PHP inside the generated pages or regenerating the pages every time you sneeze. Frustration with those limitations were what pushed me towards other systems back in the day, as most workarounds tended to introduce just as much inefficiency as the '100% dynamic' solutions.
posted by verb at 7:04 PM on December 13, 2007


most workarounds tended to introduce just as much inefficiency as the '100% dynamic' solutions

Hmm... that's a nuisance, as on the site I'm thinking about there is no way we could remove the "latest comments" plugin without a backlash. Unfortunately, it's also the only part of the site that's causing me server-related concern.
posted by robcorr at 7:09 PM on December 13, 2007


Hmm... that's a nuisance, as on the site I'm thinking about there is no way we could remove the "latest comments" plugin without a backlash. Unfortunately, it's also the only part of the site that's causing me server-related concern.
Not to pull the thread into an MT troubleshooting session, but one solution would be to create an MT template file to generate an .inc that only contains the latest comments. using the MT-Include tag to suck that .inc file into the sidebar of your normal archive and index templates would allow the comment listing to be regenerated each time someone posts, without forcing a full site-wide reindex.

/geek.

I'm done now, I swear.
posted by verb at 7:16 PM on December 13, 2007


Cheers, verb. Now I know what I'll be messing around with over the Christmas break!
posted by robcorr at 7:36 PM on December 13, 2007


Metafilter likes ——see?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:46 PM on December 13, 2007


That wasn't what preview showed me.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:48 PM on December 13, 2007


I use MT and it's not intuitive to me, but I stick with for whatever reason...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 10:31 PM on December 13, 2007


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