MovableType Fuss

- - posted in Ancient Archives

The licensing for the latest MovableType (the nice software used by this site and umpteen gazillions of other weblogs) has changed: The free license is now much more restrictive. My current setup is still free if I stick with verion 2.6, but to upgrade to version 3 I’ll need to pay $100. Or delete Samwise

There is a huge flood of whinging going on over this, but the reality is that MT has always been a commercial application, it isn’t open source, and has never claimed to be. Open Source and proprietary software both have their strengths and weaknesses, and usually we can choose which to use.

Apple have done something similar with iTunes: they have recently changed how many computers you can play purchased music on. More significantly, they’ve changed what you can do with products that you have already purchased. The Movable Type change is quite conventional, normal business behaviour, but Apple’s iTunes store license change is a worrying precedent. Which one got the most attention?

Mark Pilgrim has a good opinion on this topic, and how this represents the fundamental relationship between ‘free beer’ and ‘free speech’: Companies using proprietary commercial licenses can take away ‘rights’ in future versions, or even limit software you currently own. Another interesting opinion is at O’Reilly.

Everyone and their dog seem to be recommending a switch to WordPress. I’m probably not changing to it. In theory, I’m going to use MT 2.6 until I actually finish the Hippo prototype, then use either ‘live’ Hippo directly, or the Hippo “static publication” feature that almost-sort-of works. Bear in mind the unfortunate fact that I’ve managed no actual Hippo development for three months, so MT 6.0 will probably arrive first.