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Rich Lafferty's Journal

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Trackback schadenfreude
A new version of the Movable Type weblog software was released today, with what appears to be a pretty drastic licensing change which hasn't gone over well with a lot of midsize users. Basically, MT is now commercial software for any sites running more than three weblogs, or with more than one author, which seems to be a lot of sites.

But the whole thing raises another issue, which I will call "Corporate Trackback Considered Harmful". Kudos to them for leaving it all exposed there, but somehow I figure that's not what they were aiming for.

Edit: Trackback turned into an SSI (!) error for a while, but it's back now. Of the 74 unique trackback entries there, 51 are negative, two are positive, and the rest are either neutral or in a language I can't read.

(Me, I've never been that comfortable with MT's license, so I've avoided using it. I wonder if it's a vocal minority, or if they've really misjudged their customer base this time around.)

Edit: There's a bit of discussion on MT's new license at Metafilter.

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Seems like their site's being hit pretty hard, or they're having other problems. I can barely get anything to load.

I run MT, and have for weblogs (one for personal stuff, one for links, one for notes, and one for food stuff). I'm not paying a commercial fee for that, that's ridiculous.


Personal use, less than 3 authors (couldn't just pick one), 5 weblogs or fewer. This results in:

You have selected the following license:

Movable Type 3.0 Personal Edition
Introductory price. Use Movable Type 3.0 Personal Edition for personal use only. Up to three authors and five weblogs. Support via help tickets.
Movable Type 3.0 Personal Edition US$69.95

Uh, NO. I'm not paying $70 for that. That's insane. LiveJournal charges $25/year, but you don't have to worry about your own hosting/bandwidth/storage.

Maybe I'll write my own software. :P

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't Movable Type written in Perl? Couldn't people technically (I am not speaking legally or morally, of course, but just technically) locate the hard-coded constants and bump them up?

Sure, if you have a big enough weblog site that people from the company notice your site and notice you have not paid the fee, things could get hairy. For the "average joe" who has a small site, but happens to have four existing weblogs and cannot or will not pay, it seems like this is a technically viable solution. Morally, of course, you would want to pay or switch software.

I wonder how many other blogging apps are going to start offering Movable Type import functionality now (if they do not already offer it)?

Couldn't people technically (I am not speaking legally or morally, of course, but just technically) locate the hard-coded constants and bump them up?

You're right, and that's the conclusion many others came up with today. However, there is also counter-conclusions that 6A could force the installs to authenticate with a central service (like, say, TypeKey, or a centralised MT authentication server) to enforce the limits if too many people take advantage of their current reliance on the honor system.

There was some talk on MeFi about Mena's post basically being a nudge and wink about the honor system. On the other hand, the license goes so far as to say that it allows the user to run one instance of MT on a single CPU and make only one exact copy of MT for backup purposes only. When I stopped reading yesterday (MeFi is down right now. again.) no-one had come up with a satisfactory answer about what Six Apart expected re multi-CPU systems.

Especially with the single-CPU restriction, that doesn't strike me as the language of a progressive company, and I'd be hesitant to put work into something that relies on being able to work around the license.

At this point, I'm looking at other weblog/personal publishing/CMS (whatever they're being called this week ;) and considering writing my own.

This all makes me very happy that I kept around my old MT install/zip, so I can continue to use it over.. and over.. and over...

I'm curious how MT3.0 will turn out, but not so sure I'm curious enough to shell out $70 for it.

I foresee textpattern getting very popular very fast.

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