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Movable Type 3 – the horror, the horror!

Hysteria from the blogging “community” over the new licenses for Movable Type 3.0. According to Mena’s blog, there will be a paid-for version. And predictably, bloggers who’ve gotten used to a free lunch get completely non-linear about it.
Look, for example, at Gamewhore: “Would someone please tell me why exactly I would buy a license for a release that, by the admission of the very company that makes it, won’t be a feature release? ” Well, there’s a simple answer: don’t buy it. No one is going to hunt you down like a dog for sticking with MT 2.61. You’ll probably find that plug in developers continue adding features to it, and that it’ll continue to work from now till the end of time.
I’m just left shaking my head at some of the vitriol: it really is like a bunch of little school children who suddenly discover that they can’t afford that shiny new toy with their pocket money, and whine at their parents for more. Get this people: you don’t get anything for nothing. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. If you can’t afford it, stick with MT 2. Why the hell is someone trying to make a go of a business suddenly a crime?

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  • http://dieselnights.net Nicki

    I was surprised myself at the number of people who are suddenly jumping ship at the mention of paying for the new version of MT. With all the hacks and plugins available out there, I really can’t imagine why I’d switch. (I’d probably just manage screw up the upgrade anyway.)

    But you have a good point. I bitched a bit about the price change, but I need to just keep my mouth shut. I’m not switching, and quite honestly I don’t really need the “shiny new toy”.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael

    Hmm. I wonder if you’ve read many of the the comments that you’re mentioning. While a portion of the complaints are from people who want something for nothing, a large number are from users like me who run sites with multiple blogs and multiple users. There are no posted license terms at any price that allow more than 20 users, the top tier pricing is $699.

    There are two features I’d like: Comment registration (or some other comment-spam defeating meachanism) and a performance boost.

    Considering that in late December, 3.0 was promised as a major and free upgrade and that it seems to be neither, I can understand the kvetching of paid users such as myself.

    Not the vitriol, though. That’s not useful.

  • http://www.confusedkid.com/primer/ Camilo

    Kvetching not only about the price structure, but also about the impossible limitations in authors and blogs. There are several combinations of ownership and authorship scenarios that are not being examined there, and the limitations really crimp the whole thing.

    Furthermore, a lot of the designers and CMS managers are disappointed because they donated time and effort creating the plugins, yet suddenly SA eschews the users in favor of a very particular brand of corporate product.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Yes, indeed I’ve read a lot of those comments – and that’s what pissed me off: comments that had a title like “Movable Shite”, for example. People are getting a free download, which is indeed an upgrade. But the license changes. If those terms don’t suit you, don’t upgrade. What else is there to say? Six Apart have let no one down, they’re not changing the terms of the license of 2.6, they’re just trying to make a living.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Are the limitations impossible? I’m not saying that Six Apart have it right, and I think that they need to introduce more and different options. But what they’re doing is driven by turning Six Apart into a profitable business, and I’m sure they’ve worked from that basis FIRST. That’s what’s important.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Incidentally, just to pull some choice quotes out from the Trackbacks, for those who doubt the level of silliness being talked about this:

    “Looks like I’ll be dumping Movable Type soon…” “some pretty sour stuff going on…”, “Six Apart has pretty much pushed me to dumping Movable Type”, “MT has become crippleware, and *expensive* crippleware”, “to promise a full-featured free version over months of sparse, SPARSE communication, and then to release a pricing structure that cripples MT’s most basic features, is sickening..”

    …etc etc. It goes on and on, depressingly. Someone using the word “sickening” about the decision of a small company to try and make some money from its main product lacks both rationality and a sense of perspective.

  • http://www.adam.tinworth.name/archives/000310.html One Man + His Blog

    More from the MT backlash backlash

    Ian Betteridge joins the small, but thoughtful, band of people defending Six Apart’s strategy on MT3. He makes some pretty good points about sticking with 2.61 if you don’t like the terms of 3.0D. I find it interesting that a significant proportion of …

  • Tracey

    I don’t buy the ‘they rely on this for their living’ mentality, as it’s simply not true. If TypePad were not a lucrative business, do you think they would have been able to expand as much as they have done?

    Some of the rhetoric has bugged me too, but what can you expect from a community that feels that they’ve been ripped off? Personally, I would pay for MT in an instant. If I could. Their fee structure is not feasible for me, made more difficult by the fact I’m not in the US and the exchange rate means I’d be paying almost double.

    However, I’m not blasting anyone. There are no trackbacks to SixApart, there are no blisteringly nasty blog entries – infact, I downloaded the free version and am assessing it locally believing that it deserves to be tried before I have the right to blast it. I still can’t afford the licensing structure I’d require, but I’ll vote with my feet, not with my tongue.

  • http://www.anzidesign.com/archives/000435.html anziblog v4.0

    The Selfish Armies of You

    A lot of y’all in the blogosphere are straight up buggin’ …

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Tracey, I don’t very much that TypePad is a huge success: it’s enough of a revenue stream to keep them ticking over, but not enough on its own to keep developing Movable Type. I suspect – I have no insider info on this – that it’s mostly investment money that’s keeping things expanding, as it is with almost every start up.

    As for feeling ripped off… these are people that have spent several years of their lives giving the blogging community something for nothing. Why should they do it forever? They’ve already made more of a contribution than the average blogger has.

  • http://randomwalks.com/archive/2004/05/talk_to_me_when_youve_written_a_cms_of_your_own.php randomWalks

    Talk to me when you’ve written a CMS of your own

    Ian Betteridge gets the gold star….

  • nick

    > what can you expect from a community that feels that they’ve been ripped off?

    I think we should expect the ‘community’ to get some bloody perspective.

    Forgive me, but to get ‘ripped off’, don’t you need to have lost something, whether in time, effort or money? And I really don’t see Ben and Mena sending the boys around if you continue to use your free-for-personal-use version of MT.

    Now, there are occasions where licence changes do have the makings of a rip-off: for instance, when the people behind CDDB sold off their database and the new owners set silly licensing conditions. Thousands of users had built up that database, and the owners sprang the decision to sell on the userbase after years of saying ‘we’re so open source and open-access and this is all yours’. What happened? The FreeDB happened.

    And I suspect that you’ll find plenty of plugin writers who try to match the features built into subsequent versions of MT.

  • http://cruftbox.com Michael

    Preach on my brother!

    Why are there so few of us that understand the way the world works and why things cost money?

  • http://www.sumitsays.com Sumit

    Six Apart is a business? Fine. So what does that imply? For me, and I think, a great many others, price is not the issue. I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford any of the licenses on offer, whether as an individual or as a commercial user. And I’m also happy to pay even the high-end license fees. But there is in fact now no license available that even caters for my requirements, whether as an individual or as a commercial user. That smacks of poor market research.

    The product released is also not what Six Apart previously announced, and on which my “buying decision” to use MT for both work and play was predictated. Having said explicitly that there would be a pay product – MT Pro – and a free upgrade to the existing product that would fix a number of known issues – MT 3.0 – they have now effectively announced that MT Pro is vapourware, that MT 3.0 is a pay product with no new features, and that they are ‘committed’ to a free version that is substantially less useful than the existing one. That’s terrible customer relations and product management, for all that it runs rampant in certain sectors of the business world.

    Bottom line: I have no problem with Six Apart acting like a real business. But that means I’ll treat them like one, and that includes telling them about the level of my dissatisfaction. Their lousy business practices have succeeded in turning this formerly enthusiastic customer into someone who is, quite simply, going to take his custom elsewhere unless they fix things fast. Just as I would any other business.