Movable Type at weekend's end

877 words written by dylan
Posted May 16, 2004 @ 10:01 PM

Many developments on the Movable Type front over the weekend, including a rethink of the MT 3.0 license and an apology to beta testers for being left of out the loop. I'm still not convinced that MT 3.0 is the right way forward for this site.

First, the beta tester issue. Saturday morning I found an e-mail in my box from Six Apart. Excerpt:

We didn't communicate well enough with you about this release. We're sorry, both as a company and as individuals since most of us at Six Apart have been communicating with those of you in this beta test for weeks or months.

As a thanks for your work and interest, you'll be getting a significant discount on Movable Type 3.0.

Well, that's all better now, isn't it? Yeesh. You see this when companies go from 2 employees to 28 as they did -- the customers get run over by the momentum to control the message and the delivery of the product. There's also a lot of hubris that springs forth. Your product is good. It's so good, it's great. It's so great that it will be irresistable to your customer. In fact, there are no problems with it, and if anyone says there are, surely they are lying. Oh, and the previous version doesn't need to be supported, not when the new product is so perfect and irresistable.

Think about all the times in the tech industry we've seen hubris run over the customer. Remember Intel's floating point problem? How about all those Microsoft products that didn't need patching? Or what about Apple's maltreatment of iPod users with dead batteries or severe security problems with Jaguar? In every case, they poo-poo the problem, a backlash builds, they back down -- and take some damage in customer satisfaction. 6A ran over everyone by dropping their new licensing plan, the one they so carefully researched (with some questionable work in my opinion), on everyone AS they were launching the product, not BEFORE.

For years, there's been this agreement in place that there'd be two versions of MT when it finally went Hollywood: Regular and Pro. Regular would be pretty much the same MT everyone had enjoyed and would be free. Pro would have all the bells and whistles power users, media enterprises, and corporate users would need, and they would pay for it. The number of blogs and users wasn't the restriction; the feature set was. The new Weltanschaung of 6A, though, eliminates the Pro version and moves the restriction onto users and blogs, and that is a fundamental difference from the promises they openly and tacitly made to their customers.

Imagine if you were always told that your commute route would one day have high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes installed. One day, you get on the road and discover a big toll booth across the highway, and upon pulling into the gate you're told that it's a per wheel charge, but it's free if you have one person and three wheels. Wouldn't you be a little angry?

The blogosphere is filled with chatter about the MT changes. Harry says this:

But I can't muster much outrage about the new MT 3.0 pricing. Maybe if I'd spent some time upgrading and then found out about the charges, like Dylan, I'd feel differently. But sometimes I think the internet generation is just a bunch of spoiled geekbrats, wanting everything for free. The reality is, companies that can't figure out a way to bring in money don't last long. And there's still not a broadly-applicable model for internet companies.

Yeah, you're right, there are some people who are geekbrats who want it free, but many more are not. Their complaints are legion.

I know 6A wants to make some money, and I don't have a problem with it. I don't like, though, how they kept us beta testers in the dark, and I don't like how they sprung the changes upon their hundreds of thousands of customers like they were a certain company in Redmond. I've soured on them, and I'll need to think hard whether my money would be better spent on MT3 or a summer's supply of diapers from Costco.

I now have copies of ExpressionEngine and WordPress; thanks to everyone for the advice. (And no, Dave, I'm not going to roll my own. :) ) When I get time (HA!) I'm going to install them and compare them. I'll then make a decision about whose blog tool reigns supreme, and that tool will win the right to run C and S. Stay tuned.


  1. I didn't see anything in the Wordpress 1.2 RC about supporting multiple blogs but I do know they plan to support them in the future.

    B2evolution DOES have support for multiple blogs and authors and is still in active development. ( )

    Posted by: Scott | May 16, 2004 10:47 PM

  2. Dood, you don't have to roll your own. You can *have* a copy of my source code if you want :)

    Posted by: Dave | May 17, 2004 12:20 AM