The Inglorious Rise and Fall of Movable Type: Now making products for WordPress


wordpress_knockout_movabletypeBack in the day, when blogging was still pretty much in its infancy, Six Apart launched a (relatively) easy to install and customize standalone blogging platform called Movable Type.

Movable Type was developed by Mena and Ben Trott and, back in 2002, it was about as good as you could get to having your own CMS platform publishing your website. It didn’t take long for Movable Type to corner the market with independent/tech savvy bloggers and site owners.

As Movable Type grew in popularity and, sort of by default, became the preeminent blogging platform at the time, it was pretty well known it was by no means perfect. The core of the engine itself was written in Perl, which is a high level program language and not all that efficient (Perl requires CGI scripting to function). To publish a new blog post, or even to edit an existing post, Movable Type, as absurd as it sounds, had to rebuild every single post on your site. Not only was it an extremely time consuming process, which for obvious reasons only got worse as your site grew, it was an incredibly inefficient use of resources. Still, it had a strong community of citizen journalists committed to using it and everyone just assumed that at some point these issues would be resolved. Well, for the most part…they weren’t.

As Six Apart watched their blogging platform explode in popularity they quickly found themselves in the position of having to make a decision on the future of the company. What no one could have predicted at the time was that this decision would ultimately lead to the demise of Movable Type.

What was the decision? Six Apart decided to circle their wagons, keep their source closed and create an extremely convoluted and hard to understand pricing structure that would charge all users. Needless to say this backfired. Suddenly the community that had supported Movable Type and, understandably, considered themselves partially responsible for its success, felt extremely betrayed. And Six Apart, who had been the darlings of the dance suddenly found themselves reeling from all the negative feedback springing up.

This posting on Slashdot from 2004 turned out to not only be concise, but also prophetic.

“An immensely popular weblog publishing tool, Movable Type, has announced a new pricing model based on “support level, number of authors permitted, and the number of weblogs permitted per license”. MT3D (Developer Edition) for non-commercial users has drifted away from its full-featured, free predecessor and managed to upset many blog authors whose entry summaries can be seen via the trackback feature originating from the initial MT3D announcement. Is this a case of bait-n-switch, or simply a company trying to capitalize on its dominant market share? WordPress (GPL), which is an equally powerful CMS, seems like a perfect candidate for those who are considering a switch to a non-crippled, free alternative.”

And therein lies the rub. Just as Six Apart was clamping down on their code and trying desperately to monetize their product, WordPress was just appearing on the blogging scene. What was so special about WordPress? It was completely Open Source and it was completely free. Six Apart eventually backed down on their pricing structure and continued to offer a free version of Movable Type (that came along with a number of caveats). It was too late though, the damage had already been done.

At the very moment Six Apart was busy alienating its users, WordPress was busy welcoming them into the fold. At that time WordPress was mere blip on the CMS/blog publishing platform radar but that would begin to change rapidly. By maintaining its Open Source stance and inviting people to not only help develop the product but to create plugins and themes to help customize their sites, WordPress eventually put Movable Type on its back.

Remember when I said Movable Type was “relatively” easy to install and customize? Well that was pretty subjective. You needed to be pretty tech savvy to install Movable Type on your own and even then it could take an hour or two to setup, if there were no mistakes. In fact, a major part of their revenue platform was offering to charge you $199.95 just to install Movable Type. Imagine how frustrated you would have to be trying to install a blogging platform to be willing to pay $200 bucks just to get it installed. Part of the genius of WordPress was their Famous 5-Minute Install. That was the hook, and it worked. Compared to Movable Type WordPress was a hundred times more user friendly to the common user.

In the summer of 2007 Six Apart announced  the “Movable Type Open Source Project, a move that will see the release of an open source version of Movable Type in Q3 of this year”.  By then it was way too late.  WordPress had already handily surpassed Movable Type as the blogging/CMS platform of choice and had an extremly large and vibrant community continuing to grow and improve it.

From the outside, it seems that much of Six Apart’s so called success with their Movable Type platform has been with posturing and corporate deals with business people, who were either ill-informed or weren’t tech savvy enough to know any better, as opposed to any kind of innovation.  It’s like the parable of the tortoise and the hare only much geekier.

All of this leads us to Six Apart’s announcement (read: concession) today at WordCamp Mid-Atlantic. Anil Dash, Six Apart’s longtime evangelist, made the announcement that Six Apart has launched a a plugin that provides WordPress users with access to a suite of Six Apart’s add-on features for blogs.

To put this in perspective, this would be sort of like the Yankees announcing that they were renting out their farm system and practice facilities to the Boston Red Sox.

TechCrunch points out that just last year the two companies were going at each other quite publicly and now Six Apart is developing products for WordPress users.

Dash says that this move represents “baby steps” in Six Apart’s tentative first efforts to provide a suite of features and functionality to WordPress users. This a big deal, considering the long standing rivalry between the two blogging platforms. Last year, the two companies had a heated duel via company blog posts, Twitter and in TechCrunch comments.

My initial reaction is that it’s probably too little too late.  Much of what Six Apart is offering overlaps what WordPress already provides which seems counterintuitive.  And, possibly more to the point, I believe there are probably still quite a few old school bloggers that remember how they were treated by Six Apart (Movable Type) when they were on top and aren’t exactly knocking each other down to start using their product again, even if it is as a WordPress tool.

Editor’s note: After much thought I have edited the title and image associated with this post to replace “Six Apart” with “Movable Type”.
Advertisements

20 thoughts on “The Inglorious Rise and Fall of Movable Type: Now making products for WordPress

  1. I was waiting for exactly this wrongheaded take on the blogging market and our announcement yesterday. You quote Jay-Z in your header, and it's as if you've said that Jay-Z's career ended when his beef with Nas ended. Nothing could be further from the truth.First, let's catalog the list of factually incorrect statements in your post:* Perl requires CGI scripting to function: FALSE* To publish a new blog post, or even to edit an existing post, Movable Type … had to rebuild every single post on your site: FALSE* it was an incredible [sic] inefficient use of resources: FALSE* this decision would ultimately lead to the demise of Movable Type: FALSE* business people, who were either ill-informed or weren’t tech savvy enough to know any better: FALSE* Six Apart’s announcement (read: concession) today at WordCamp Mid-Atlantic: FALSE* This would be sort of like the Yankees announcing that they were renting out their farm system and practice facilities to the Boston Red Sox.: FALSENow then, with this sheer number of incorrect premises, it's pretty much inevitable that you'd reach an incorrect conclusion. Let's get to the reality.We absolutely communicated wrong about the licensing changes with MT3 five years ago. Just so I understand you correctly, when you click through on the “I Agree” to your iTunes upgrades every week or two, do you continuously feel betrayed? Or is it just that you buy into the same hysterical blogosphere hype that results in, say, people wrongly accusing Amazon of homophobia?What we did actually exactly parallels what Automattic did with Akismet: We polled users to see how they were using MT, then put in a license program that would have the top 5% of users pay to support development for everyone. We certainly didn't communicate that clearly, but frankly nobody had ever tried to do this in blogging before, so I'm not surprised we struggled with it.For the people that aren't obsessing over the details of a license change from half a decade ago, let's look at what's happened since. Movable Type is thriving: From the Huffington Post to the Washington Post, from Barack Obama to Britney Spears, millions of people have discovered blogging and the power of the social web because of sites powered by MT. Do you think Obama's campaign team didn't know better about how to use the web? You think NBC isn't tech-savvy? Or could it be that your perspective is myopic, informed more by what's currently getting hyped by a small community of super-geeks, instead of what's actually creating value and connecting to new audiences outside of a core knot of early adopters?And that's completely ignoring the larger successes we've had with Six Apart as a whole. TypePad is a thriving, completely revamped blogging community. Don't forget — we launched it into a market that's always had very good, larger free competitors from Blogger to LiveJournal and beyond. We've focused on making a platform that's got unique features, great support, and a great experience, and that's been rewarded.So, as we expand the rich set of features in TypePad, we've opened them up so all bloggers can benefit. It's actually very much like Apple making iTunes available on Windows: Users of any platform can benefit from a tool that connects to their web service. More directly analogous to the blogging market, it's like when Automattic made Akismet available as a plugin for Movable Type: The service gets better as more people use it. Except in the case of TypePad AntiSpam, we've made it available for free, and open source, unlike Akismet which is neither. Somehow you haven't posted about Akismet's inglorious rise and fall — perhaps it's that myopia again?If I seem annoyed, it's because I am. This constructed narrative doesn't reflect reality, and more importantly doesn't reflect how the web evolves. Does Yahoo Mail's existence mean that GMail isn't thriving? Or could it be that popular systems that use open technologies all benefit as their individual ecosystems grow?More importantly, there's the topic of the presentation that I actually did at WordCamp yesterday, which you didn't see and thus can't judge accurately: We love blogging, and we love the web. We want to put together tools that help make those things better. If you want to simply judge “best” by “most popular with a certain crowd”, then you'll have to concede that MySpace is the best blogging platform around, followed by Windows Live Spaces, since those are probably the biggest. What we've realized is that blogging and creating communities is too important to happen in some stupid, us-vs-them mentality — we have to create open standards and technologies that connect all this stuff together. That's why we invented OpenID at Six Apart, we released it without any patent limitations or constraints, and we tirelessly advocated it until half a billion people now have an OpenID identity to use. We've started to do the same by being founding members of the communities around OAuth and the Streams API as well. And we've released tons more Open Source code than just Movable Type.Your footer and bio assert that you're a social media evangelist and advocate. If that's true, then I beseech you: Stop trying to advocate for a web where the people doing the smartest, most interesting work are trying to tear each other down. Stop making your analysis based on a shortsighted view that rewards loud, wrong noise by geeks instead of quiet, profound accomplishments by regular people. Don't start with a premise that “business people” or people who don't hack on PHP scripts in their free time are somehow less important, or less deserving of participating in the social web.In short, don't believe the hype. What we've done is made a great set of tools that makes TypePad better by making WordPress better. I wouldn't have to log in with a Disqus identity to leave this comment if you tried them out — I could use my own blog's address as my OpenID, or log in with Google or Facebook. I'd have a profile on your site, and antispam would be powered by an engine that's free and open source. It'd be a better experience for me, a more open platform for contribution on your WordPress blog, and it would yes, benefit Six Apart as well. Sounds like a web where everybody wins.

  2. I was waiting for exactly this wrongheaded take on the blogging market and our announcement yesterday. You quote Jay-Z in your header, and it's as if you've said that Jay-Z's career ended when his beef with Nas ended. Nothing could be further from the truth.First, let's catalog the list of factually incorrect statements in your post:* Perl requires CGI scripting to function: FALSE* To publish a new blog post, or even to edit an existing post, Movable Type … had to rebuild every single post on your site: FALSE* it was an incredible [sic] inefficient use of resources: FALSE* this decision would ultimately lead to the demise of Movable Type: FALSE* business people, who were either ill-informed or weren’t tech savvy enough to know any better: FALSE* Six Apart’s announcement (read: concession) today at WordCamp Mid-Atlantic: FALSE* This would be sort of like the Yankees announcing that they were renting out their farm system and practice facilities to the Boston Red Sox.: FALSENow then, with this sheer number of incorrect premises, it's pretty much inevitable that you'd reach an incorrect conclusion. Let's get to the reality.We absolutely communicated wrong about the licensing changes with MT3 five years ago. Just so I understand you correctly, when you click through on the “I Agree” to your iTunes upgrades every week or two, do you continuously feel betrayed? Or is it just that you buy into the same hysterical blogosphere hype that results in, say, people wrongly accusing Amazon of homophobia?What we did actually exactly parallels what Automattic did with Akismet: We polled users to see how they were using MT, then put in a license program that would have the top 5% of users pay to support development for everyone. We certainly didn't communicate that clearly, but frankly nobody had ever tried to do this in blogging before, so I'm not surprised we struggled with it.For the people that aren't obsessing over the details of a license change from half a decade ago, let's look at what's happened since. Movable Type is thriving: From the Huffington Post to the Washington Post, from Barack Obama to Britney Spears, millions of people have discovered blogging and the power of the social web because of sites powered by MT. Do you think Obama's campaign team didn't know better about how to use the web? You think NBC isn't tech-savvy? Or could it be that your perspective is myopic, informed more by what's currently getting hyped by a small community of super-geeks, instead of what's actually creating value and connecting to new audiences outside of a core knot of early adopters?And that's completely ignoring the larger successes we've had with Six Apart as a whole. TypePad is a thriving, completely revamped blogging community. Don't forget — we launched it into a market that's always had very good, larger free competitors from Blogger to LiveJournal and beyond. We've focused on making a platform that's got unique features, great support, and a great experience, and that's been rewarded.So, as we expand the rich set of features in TypePad, we've opened them up so all bloggers can benefit. It's actually very much like Apple making iTunes available on Windows: Users of any platform can benefit from a tool that connects to their web service. More directly analogous to the blogging market, it's like when Automattic made Akismet available as a plugin for Movable Type: The service gets better as more people use it. Except in the case of TypePad AntiSpam, we've made it available for free, and open source, unlike Akismet which is neither. Somehow you haven't posted about Akismet's inglorious rise and fall — perhaps it's that myopia again?If I seem annoyed, it's because I am. This constructed narrative doesn't reflect reality, and more importantly doesn't reflect how the web evolves. Does Yahoo Mail's existence mean that GMail isn't thriving? Or could it be that popular systems that use open technologies all benefit as their individual ecosystems grow?More importantly, there's the topic of the presentation that I actually did at WordCamp yesterday, which you didn't see and thus can't judge accurately: We love blogging, and we love the web. We want to put together tools that help make those things better. If you want to simply judge “best” by “most popular with a certain crowd”, then you'll have to concede that MySpace is the best blogging platform around, followed by Windows Live Spaces, since those are probably the biggest. What we've realized is that blogging and creating communities is too important to happen in some stupid, us-vs-them mentality — we have to create open standards and technologies that connect all this stuff together. That's why we invented OpenID at Six Apart, we released it without any patent limitations or constraints, and we tirelessly advocated it until half a billion people now have an OpenID identity to use. We've started to do the same by being founding members of the communities around OAuth and the Streams API as well. And we've released tons more Open Source code than just Movable Type.Your footer and bio assert that you're a social media evangelist and advocate. If that's true, then I beseech you: Stop trying to advocate for a web where the people doing the smartest, most interesting work are trying to tear each other down. Stop making your analysis based on a shortsighted view that rewards loud, wrong noise by geeks instead of quiet, profound accomplishments by regular people. Don't start with a premise that “business people” or people who don't hack on PHP scripts in their free time are somehow less important, or less deserving of participating in the social web.In short, don't believe the hype. What we've done is made a great set of tools that makes TypePad better by making WordPress better. I wouldn't have to log in with a Disqus identity to leave this comment if you tried them out — I could use my own blog's address as my OpenID, or log in with Google or Facebook. I'd have a profile on your site, and antispam would be powered by an engine that's free and open source. It'd be a better experience for me, a more open platform for contribution on your WordPress blog, and it would yes, benefit Six Apart as well. Sounds like a web where everybody wins.

  3. I'd like to preface my response by saying that I have a great deal of respect for you and the work you've done over the years evangelizing social media before social media was social media.Next, I'd like to respond to a few basic points that you claim are false.*While you are correct that Perl inherently doesn't require CGI scripts, I am correct that Movable Type does, I think you're splitting hairs there. *To publish a new blog post, or even to edit an existing post, Movable Type … had to rebuild every single post on your site: Again, I think you are splitting hairs, this was indeed an issue when I was using MT. Which is something Six Apart specifically addresses in this post after they had introduced background publishing: http://www.sixapart.com/blog/2005/05/how-to-spe… *it was an incredible [sic] inefficient use of resources: With one simple Google search of “movable type resource hog” the very first result (of many) is a post on Six Apart's own forums in which a user states, “I've been looking around for hosts that can solve my MT problem: “I always get a 500 server timeout error when my site gets a certain size.” I've e-mailed a lot of providers and asked if I would have a problem having my site at there servers. The answer is almost always the same: “MT rebuilding is known to be server resource hog” and some even recommend I use some other system to manage my site. There is even a quote from one of the hosting companies which says, “The problem is that MT is not real efficient once the database gets large and has to do a lot of rebuilding of pages. It uses a lot of cpu cycles and will run up server loads. In a shared hosting environment this causes problems for all the accounts on the server so limits are placed.” This was indeed the case. Many hosting companies were indeed encouraging people to stop using Movable Type because it was crashing their shared servers. Let's not try and rewrite history.*this decision would ultimately lead to the demise of Movable Type: You say false, I say this is subjective and I still believe it to be the case.*business people, who were either ill-informed or weren’t tech savvy enough to know any better: This is merely my opinion. Just because Six Apart has the resources to secure deals with celebrities and corporations doesn't mean that the product they were selling is a good one. Take GM for example.*Six Apart’s announcement (read: concession) today at WordCamp Mid-Atlantic: That's how I interpreted it.*This would be sort of like the Yankees announcing that they were renting out their farm system and practice facilities to the Boston Red Sox.: That's my opinion of what it would be like.One other thing that you mention that's not in your list is that you point out I don't use OpenID so you had to login with a Disqus ID. That's patently untrue, you can also login with your Facebook ID and your Twitter ID to leave a comment here. Disqus, in my opinion, has been very innovative and is on the forefront of opening up conversations on the web with their product. Now that I've addressed those issues I have to say I couldn't agree with you more. I think TypePad is a great product, especially for beginning bloggers that aren't tech savvy and want to establish a clean, professional presence on the web. Personally, I still prefer the WordPress.com but that is only my opinion.I completely applaud you that you've “realized that blogging and creating communities is too important to happen in some stupid, us-vs-them mentality”. But just because you just realized it doesn't mean it's a brand new concept. There have been many people working hard (and playing well with each other) on that for years. I couldn't be happier that Six Apart has decided to be a part of that. I didn't intend for this post to be a tearing down of, or a mud slinging affair. I meant for it to be the telling of what I feel was an extremely important period of time in the historical development of online communities and publishing platforms. What's the old saying? Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. I wish you and Six Apart the best of luck in your upcoming ventures. Now that we're past the “us-vs-them” mentality I am very much looking forward to seeing what exciting new tools develop. Perhaps our professional paths may even cross, I would enjoy that.

  4. I don't want to get into a nitpicky back-and-froth here, and I appreciate the kind words and your enthusiasm. I should clarify a few points, though…We've *never* been about the us-vs-them mentality. I know I presented it like this was a recent realization, but that's far from the case — we're proud to compete really hard and we're proud to collaborate really well, and those aren't in contradiction. We didn't just “decide to be a part of that”, we've been at the forefront of it from the start of our company, and invest more in the idea than even companies many times our size.But let's focus this on your work, and the expertise you want to share with your clients. A major vendor in the social media space, Six Apart, makes an announcement that is going to bring its social platform to a huge new audience, and is going to expand its advertising platform even more to better embrace those publishers. As part of doing so, they announce it at a grassroots event and involve the community in help shaping how the offerings will evolve. And you respond by marking it as an “inglorious fall”. You conclude by insinuating that we treat our community poorly.So, you did write this post as a tearing down, and it is mudslinging. Worse, I think it hurts your credibility as an expert to ignore the larger realities of what we're doing right now, today, and instead focus on a minor story from half a decade ago that actually hasn't turned out to be that important, no matter what narrative people want to construct around it. If you want to learn from history, then let's do so, instead of focusing on trivia. History will show that many of the biggest, most influential, most important sites in the history of blogging were powered in some small or big way by the work we do, and that the web is more open and people are better able to express themselves because of our efforts. I'm happy to have these debates, because I'm passionate about what we do. But if those who present themselves as authorities keep tearing down the people and companies who try to do the right thing, we're going to end up with a web run by companies who don't care what people think, and the web won't be the better for it.

  5. There's a difference between tearing down a company and being critical of one its products and the decisions made around said product. If being informed and having hands on experience with the tools at my disposal makes me less qualified developer then so be it. You may in fact be right that “many of the biggest, most influential, most important sites in the history of blogging were powered in some small or big way by the work you do”. History will also show that millions more average, everyday people went with a blogging platform that not only fit their needs but used an amount of resources that, unlike the “biggest, most influential sites in history”, they could actually afford to maintain as their site grew.I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this point. Best of luck, I'll be keeping an eye out for new WordPress tools to enhance my blogging experience.

  6. I'd like to clarify one thing. I do not think that Six Apart's announcement is a bad thing, on the contrary, I think it is a great thing. Obviously the more great minds that are put to the task the better. I think that ultimately the blogging community will be better for all of this and hopefully this does mark the end of the “platform wars”.Aaron Brazell (@technosailor) hit the nail on the head with his comment, “I think we both agree, however, that the war should be over content, not over platform. If we’re doing our jobs right, the platform disappears.”That still does not discount anything I said in my post, all of which I believe to be a fairly accurate, historically relevant account of the events which I believe led up Six Apart's announcement on Saturday.Thanks, I just wanted to clarify that.

    • A couple of comments:- I've been an MT user since early 2004, before the MT Licensing Fiasco. That was a mess, as Anil admitted, but I don't think there was ever a time when a personal blogger couldn't download and use MT for free.- Regarding the resource hog comment, I Googled that phrase and the #1 hit is (now) this post, the forum comment you refered to is now #2. Here's the thing, it's from 2003. I was on a shared server and ran into 500 error issues at one time with MT a few years ago. The problem was that my host was placing an extreme processor time limit to any running process. More than 10 seconds and it's killed, no exceptions, no questions asked. I switched hosts and have had no problems since. That issue is known to be a hosting issue more than a MT issue, I believe.Yes, MT publishes static pages by default and yes those take time to update at publication time. However, there are advantages to having the actual files on disk and still available if you have database problems. WP's dynamic model (which MT can do as well, if you want) is faster on the front side and uses less disk space, but if your DB goes down you're site is down (we've all seen WP blogs go blank when the DB is offline). Nothing wrong with either approach, each have their advantages and you should use the one that suits your needs, but MT can do both, WP as I understand, cannot. Any site on any platform may have performance issues depending on how the site is structured and what your host's limitations are. MT gives you a lot of options to configure your site based on your needs and hosting limitations.Overall, I agree with Anil on this post. You highlight the happy beginnings of MT, then focus on The Big Blunder of 5 years ago and then skip to today saying that old gaff is the reason they have to play nice with WP today. Nevermind the 5 years in between that saw the release of an open source version of MT, the implementation of the community solution of MT, the release of the highly effective Typepad Anti-spam, the new MT Motion that integrates all kinds of social networking features into MT and more.The theme of this post is what was all over the web in 2004 when that ill-fated licensing model was introduced. The track of MT in the 5 years since then, however, has been one of expansion, not decline. A fact that you completely ignore in this post.

      • Thank you for your feedback. Actually I specifically mention the Movable Type Open Source Project launched in 2007.While this may not be a completely favorable post about Movable Type, I really say nothing horrendous about Six Apart as a company. There are many opinions in the post, all of them based on many years of experience in blogging and social media.The post is about my experiences and many people I've known in the blogging community. When I was writing this post I wasn't twirling my handlebar mustache and laughing diabolically while petting a cat. In fact it was just the opposite. It was, for me, a look back at what might have been. My first “blog” was hand coded html. From there I graduated to Blogger. I outgrew Blogger and moved to TypePad. I wanted more control and flexibility so I moved to Movable Type. I have extremely fond memories of hacking into Movable Type and I'm extremely aware of the opportunities it provided me.I stuck with Movable Type long after the pricing fiasco. I actually never berated them back then for it (that I can remember at least). I thought the community sentiment was a bit over-reactionary and I was always aware of the free single-user license, which is what I used so I never understood the big deal. Does that change any of the things I said? No, I still believe everything I said and I also believe that it is a fairly accurate retelling of the events that I believe ultimately led to WordPress being a dominant publishing platform for exactly the reasons I mentioned. It's always been free on every level, it's always been Open Source, it uses far less user resources and it's backend is much faster. It's not as if I wrote this out of the blue to somehow cast aspersions on Movable Type. It was, I felt directly related to the announcement on Saturday so, I wrote it.

  7. I'd like to clarify one thing. I do not think that Six Apart's announcement is a bad thing, on the contrary, I think it is a great thing. Obviously the more great minds that are put to the task the better. I think that ultimately the blogging community will be better for all of this and hopefully this does mark the end of the “platform wars”.Aaron Brazell (@technosailor) hit the nail on the head with his comment (referring to WP and MT), “I think we both agree, however, that the war should be over content, not over platform. If we’re doing our jobs right, the platform disappears.”That still does not discount anything I said in my post, all of which I believe to be a fairly accurate, historically relevant account of the events which I believe led to Six Apart's announcement on Saturday.Thanks, I just wanted to clarify that.

  8. A couple of comments:- I've been an MT user since early 2004, before the MT Licensing Fiasco. That was a mess, as Anil admitted, but I don't think there was ever a time when a personal blogger couldn't download and use MT for free.- Regarding the resource hog comment, I Googled that phrase and the #1 hit is (now) this post, the forum comment you refered to is now #2. Here's the thing, it's from 2003. I was on a shared server and ran into 500 error issues at one time with MT a few years ago. The problem was that my host was placing an extreme processor time limit to any running process. More than 10 seconds and it's killed, no exceptions, no questions asked. I switched hosts and have had no problems since. That issue is known to be a hosting issue more than a MT issue, I believe.Yes, MT publishes static pages by default and yes those take time to update at publication time. However, there are advantages to having the actual files on disk and still available if you have database problems. WP's dynamic model (which MT can do as well, if you want) is faster on the front side and uses less disk space, but if your DB goes down you're site is down (we've all seen WP blogs go blank when the DB is offline). Nothing wrong with either approach, each have their advantages and you should use the one that suits your needs, but MT can do both, WP as I understand, cannot. Any site on any platform may have performance issues depending on how the site is structured and what your host's limitations are. MT gives you a lot of options to configure your site based on your needs and hosting limitations.Overall, I agree with Anil on this post. You highlight the happy beginnings of MT, then focus on The Big Blunder of 5 years ago and then skip to today saying that old gaff is the reason they have to play nice with WP today. Nevermind the 5 years in between that saw the release of an open source version of MT, the implementation of the community solution of MT, the release of the highly effective Typepad Anti-spam, the new MT Motion that integrates all kinds of social networking features into MT and more.The theme of this post is what was all over the web in 2004 when that ill-fated licensing model was introduced. The track of MT in the 5 years since then, however, has been one of expansion, not decline. A fact that you completely ignore in this post.

  9. Thank you for your feedback. Actually I specifically mention the Movable Type Open Source Project launched in 2007.While this may not be a “favorable” post about Movable Type, I really say nothing horrendous about Six Apart as a company. There are many opinions in the post, all of them based on many years of experience in blogging and social media.The post is about my experiences as well as the experiences of many people I've known in the blogging community. When I was writing this post I wasn't twirling my handlebar mustache and laughing diabolically while petting a cat. In fact it was just the opposite. It was, for me, a look back at what might have been. My first “blog” was hand coded html. From there I graduated to Blogger. I outgrew Blogger and moved to TypePad. I wanted more control and flexibility so I moved to Movable Type. I have extremely fond memories of hacking into Movable Type and I'm extremely aware of the opportunities it provided me.If anything I was a late adopter to WordPress. As a matter of fact, I used Movable Type up until early 2006. I actually just found a post from 2006 that mentioned the issues I was having setting up MT on GoDaddy (when I was moving from TypePad) and I don't say one bad thing about MT, in fact I told MT users to beware of GoDaddy at the time. The problem was that it came to a point where I was getting enough traffic that my hosting bills were outrageous. I actually moved a dedicated server and still had issues. The bottom line was I literally couldn't afford to use Movable Type anymore. I found when I switched to WordPress that with the same amount of traffic and pageviews I was using about a quarter of the resources and that the community developing plugins and themes around WordPress was far more vibrant and dynamic than I was used to. It has also been my experience that my relationship with MT was not unique.I stuck with Movable Type long after the pricing fiasco. I actually never berated them back then for it (that I can remember at least). I thought the community sentiment was a bit over-reactionary and I was always aware of the free single-user license, which is what I used so I never understood the big deal. Does that change any of the things I said? No, I still stand by everything I said and I also believe that it is a fairly accurate retelling of the events that I believe ultimately led to WordPress being a dominant publishing platform for exactly the reasons I mentioned. It's always been free on every level, it's always been Open Source, it uses far less user resources and it's backend is much faster. It's not as if I wrote this out of the blue to somehow cast aspersions on Movable Type. It was, I felt directly related to the announcement on Saturday so, I wrote it.I very much appreciate your point of view and thank you for sharing it.

  10. The latest versions of Movable Type (MT4) and WordPress (WP2.8) are amazing. Both new versions are huge leaps forward. While they are similar in many respects, the new rockin' versions make it seem increasingly odd to consider them as competitors. WordPress is best for single blogs. Movable Type is better if you want a lightweight CMS; if you want a bigger multi-blog site, or a hybrid site with a more open ended structure. I can't really use one tool in place of the other. I use both.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Brad. I personally haven't found anything that I can do with MT that I can't do with WP. Have you ever worked with WPMU? Not that I'm trying to talk you out of anything, obviously people are going to use whatever best suits their needs. I do find it interesting you use both though. It seems you usually find people who are on one side of the fence or the other. Sometimes it's best to be on the fence…you get a better view :)

  11. Thanks for taking the time to comment Brad. I personally haven't found anything that I can do with MT that I can't do with WP. Have you ever worked with WPMU? Not that I'm trying to talk you out of anything, obviously people are going to use whatever best suits their needs. I do find it interesting you use both though. It seems you usually find people who are on one side of the fence or the other. Sometimes it's best to be on the fence…you get a better view :)

Comments are closed.