Six Apart announces MT 3.0 Developer Edition, limits functionality of free version of MT.

Good News/Bad News time:

First the Good News: Six Apart announced the release of MovableType 3.0 Developer Edition today which is apparently just what they’ve decided to call MovableType 3.0 to emphasize that this isn’t a bunch-of-new-goodies release.

It will be available to everyone, not just developers; we’re calling it a Developer Release to emphasize the fact that 3.0 itself is not a feature release in the traditional sense. With this release we hope that the developer community will implement some great extensions for 3.0.

Since many of Six Apart’s employees are Apple fanboys/girls, we make the analogy to the first releases of OS X: the first releases did not offer that many new features themselves, only a more stable and robust platform for developers to build upon.

They’re also launching a Plug-in Developer Contest to help kick-start the introduction of cool new plug-ins as this will be part of what determines if MT3 will be a success or not. Top prize is a $7,000 computer system. Winning plug-ins will be distributed by SA in a Plug-ins Pack to promote the exposure of the coolest of the cool. They’re also setting up a Developer’s Network and changing the license for MT3 removing the clause that prevented consultants from charging for support of MT.

As mentioned above, we’ve changed our licenses for Movable Type 3.0, removing the clauses that don’t allow consultants to charge for supporting Movable Type. ?The new licenses give developers and consultants the chance to make a living around supporting, extending, and customizing Movable Type. And, Six Apart is dedicated to helping that community thrive.

As a kickoff to the network, we’ll be setting up an informal developer workshop to get a sense of what developers think we should be doing, their feedback on the direction of Movable Type, etc. If you?re interested, keep an eye out for an announcement in the coming weeks.

And no, there isn’t going to be a fee to join the network.

So it looks like MT3 is officially released as of right now and the MovableType homepage has been updated with a fresh new look. Which brings us to the Bad News:

Six Apart has definitely changed the license for MovableType and a lot of people aren’t going to be happy about it. Click on the “get it now” button and you’re taken to a page that outlines the new license deal. In short, the days of unlimited blogs and unlimited authors per blog are GONE. Now the number of blogs you can host and the number of authors depends on what level of license you purchase which comes in four flavors: A free edition, personal edition and two versions of a commercial license.

MovableType Free: Costs nothing. No support from SA. No access to paid installation. No access to “fee-based services” (whatever they are), No promotion of your blogs through Recently Updated list, No commercial usage, allows a max of ONE author and THREE blogs!

Personal Edition: Costs $69.95 for a limited time, normal price $99.95! Gives you a maximum of 3 authors and 5 blogs. That’s it.

Commercial Edition 5 Authors: Costs $199.95 intro price, normal price $299.95! Gives you a max of 5 authors and 5 blogs.

Commercial Edition 20 Authors: Costs $599.95 intro price, normal price $699.95! Gives you a max of 20 authors and 15 blogs!

Mena covers the new licensing structure in a post on Mena’s Corner which tries very hard to put a positive spin on this major change. The license page says that all paid licenses include, among other things, “Generous limits on weblogs and authors.” Right. As it stands right now even if I loved MT enough to pay for it I’d have to buy the second of the two commercial licenses ($600!) in order to replicate my setup as it stands right now as I host no less than 7 blogs with a total of 8 authors.

I guess the decision on whether to stick with MovableType or move to something else has effectively been made FOR me. Whether I like MT or not, I can’t afford it any longer. Good job Six Apart! You’ve managed to find a way to drive away MT fans in droves that is waaaaaaay more effective that what the uproar over TypeKey caused.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

40 thoughts on “Six Apart announces MT 3.0 Developer Edition, limits functionality of free version of MT.

  1. I did a bit of digging on their site—there are different levels of personal licenses which are slightly closer to the realm of the sane than $600, but they are still ridiculously priced. $150 for 10 blogs and nine authors, and beyond that you have to contact them for a quote.

    I run two sites powered by MT - and I’d be looking at *at least* $250 in licenses, and who knows how long those licenses will last until they release a “major” upgrade that you have to pay again for?

  2. I should be clear - both my sites are personal and make absolutely no money. Somehow though I’m expected to pull $250 out of thin air.

  3. Well, we don’t have to upgrade do we? Like the install I have now, I won’t be forced to dump it and buy something will I? I know this sounds dumb but really, will I?

  4. No, luckily you won’t, at least until someone discovers a security vulnerability in MT 2.6x and SixApart decides the fix is to upgrade to MT3.

    And you know it will happen.

  5. I found the same page you did… They don’t seem to have a personal-use license that accounts for any use of more than 9 authors.

    And even if I did the “10 weblogs, 9 or fewer authors” personal use license, and convinced everyone per blog to use shared-accounts to post from, it’d still be $150.

    Nope, sorry. Not gonna happen. Time to grab a copy of 2.661 for the archives “just in case” but I’ll be sticking with 2.5 for now….

  6. Well, when that happens, I’ll just go blogger again. At least they aren’t forcing people to dump current installs. That would suck.

  7. I run a website which has been extensively built up around MoveableType 2.x, at http://www.alittlepoison.com. MoveableType was a free blogging suite that had the scale and customisation to suit are needs. Let me introduce myself, I am 23 and on a very limited income. The website is a non-profit site on which 8 of my friends and I put up art-related posts, images and music.

    I am now looking for alternative, free blogging suite to replace Moveable Type. Such a demand will logically be fulfilled, in time, by others. Far fewer people will construct websites around MT with the new price, and enthusiasm for MoveableType’s third party development (ie by those who program plug-ins in their free time - the MT Plugin Directory) will dwindle.

    Tis a shame, yeah?

  8. Indeed it is a shame. The irony is that this actually makes one of their main competitors, pMachine Pro, seem ridiculously reasonable price-wise. For $45 you can purchase a personal license for pMachine Pro and have unlimited authors and blogs once again. Hell, for that matter their new Expression Engine non-commercial license is $149 and allows unlimited blogs and authors with a buttload more features to boot.

    But $99.95 for 3 authors and 5 blogs for a version that doesn’t come with a mess-load of new features? When did Ben and Mena start on their crack addiction? I about fell out of my chair when I saw that. I double checked the caldendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. I’m seriously not against paying for a good blog package, but Six Apart has given me every good reason to make that payment to their competitors at this point.

    Man, I hope the version of WordPress supporting multiple blogs isn’t too far off. I’ll probably move SEB to Drupal, but the most of the rest of my blogs are maintained by folks like my mom, my sister, my kid, and my wife all of whom don’t need Drupal’s level of power and would be confused by it’s greater complexity.

  9. Perhaps I am too cynical, but for me one of the most telling points is the removal of recently updated support from the free version.  It’s not that it’s an important feature, or even a particularly useful one.  It’s fine if they stop taking donations now.  But how hard would it have been to leave it in there for people who donated in the past, but might still not need more than the free version, as a gesture of goodwill?  These people, after all, paid for something they didn’t have to pay for, just because they liked it, and contributed their part, however small, to keeping the company alive long enough to reach version 3.0…

  10. Ugh. What a great surprise first thing in the morning. To keep things the way they are currently setup on my system I would have to buy the $200 licence. Ugh.. The worst part of all of this is that i was recently brought into the beta program and have already installed 3.0c.

    I *knew* that I should of downloaded an old copy of 2.661 to keep for my archives. Now I’m screwed. I’ll either have to pay to upgrade, find an old copy of 2.661 kicking around somewhere, or move to another platform. $200 for a personal journal is just too much.

  11. I haven’t used MT for quite awhile but when I read about this, I was a little irritated.  It appears, and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, that MT, as well as other companies, such as pM, are no longer interested in the average blogger and prefer to cater more towards high-end and commercial users.  Nice.  I would rather go back to Blogger (shudder) than pay for MT.  I have been using WordPress for awhile now and am very happy with it.  I, too, am hoping for a multi-blog funcionality sometime soon.  Maybe the MT situation will help push it along?

  12. Heh, if the WordPress people are smart that’s the first thing they do after 1.2 comes out (next week, according to their site).

    I don’t have a problem paying for MT - I donated in the past - but I have a problem with such high prices. You may be right. Maybe they’re hoping people think TypePad suddenly isn’t such a bad deal and migrate there.

  13. I think the pricing levels (especially for the personal levels, which is where the grass roots enthusiasm for the product has come from and would have continued as the push to sell to businesses expands) are a big mistake. 

    MT is not sufficiently user-friendly that casual bloggers (who would find the free license sufficient to at least their initial needs) will be able to use it.  If the more experienced crowd bails (as I think is likely), there won’t be anyone to bring in the newbies.  At which point, the whole grass roots dies.

    I think there are folks who would pay $100 or $200 for a personal, non-commericial license—with no limitations.  That theoretically allows some license abuse by companies, but it’s a relatively low price to pay for a solid product.  Coupling a big price imposition with no new features and new significant limitations on use of the product (authors, blogs) adds insult to injury.

    Ironically, it occured to me the other day that there were a lot of things I was using MT and blogs for that could be done as easily via a wiki.  Not a personal journal, but a lot of relatively-static things that I used MT for as an easy web site manager.  This only reinforces that inclination.

  14. I am blown away by the error in Ben and Meena’s ways… I was not against TypeKey, I love them, but this is a mistake and I hope they quickly realize this.

  15. Call it misplaced loyalty, if you will, but I don’t see this as profiteering, but profit (as in, “earning a living”) definitely seems to be behind it.  I just think the pricing structure and/or license limitations is wildly out of whack.

  16. I’m with ***Dave on this one. I can’t fault MT for wanting to make some money and I’m not opposed to spending it for good software, but this is just silly when you look at what others are offering for similar prices.

    As for Drupal, I’ve been playing with it here and there and currently have a test install of it running here.

    If you want to try it out without installing it go to Open Source CMS.com. It’s a site specifically for testing out all manner of open source web packages including many CMS systems, blogging packages, and message boards. You can log into the admin sections and play around.

  17. I’m a little surprised at the response here.  I can barely keep up with my one blog, and three would be too many.  My host charges for hosting more than three blogs on one account anyhow.

    I think there are many, many bloggers out there who use MT to publish just one blog.  This may not be the case with you guys, but I think it’s a little rash to say that Six Apart has turned its back on the average blogger just from this new development.

  18. It’s hard to say who the average blogger is, but certainly a vocal, activist, supportive part of their community (including folks who have been doing plug-in development for them) are the sorts who will be strongly impacted by this.  Ditto for folks who host blogs for other people, and folks who host collaborative blogs.

    Of my multiple blogs, I could consolidate most of them into one (though the collaborative gaming blog would have to go away), and turn others of them into static content, and maybe get under the free limit.  But, frankly, why is 6A making doing that?  What do I gain?  What do they gain?  In both cases, it’s nothing.

  19. Tom it’s true that the the vast majority of bloggers out there don’t need a whole lote more than what the new free version of MovableType will offer and if they’re happy with that then I fully encourage them to make use of it.

    At the same time, folks like myself who do make use of the extra functionality have been among MT and Six Apart’s staunchest supporters in the past. I’ve not only donated money to SA for MT, but I’ve been involved in the beta testing of MovableType 3.0 which was a donation of my time and familiarity with their product. It’s not unreasonable that I and others like me might be feeling a tad bit betrayed at this point.

    This pricing scheme is more inline with what I might expect for MovableType Pro and SA has already said that MT3 isn’t MT Pro, yet they’re pricing it as though it were. I don’t think there isn’t anyone out there who doesn’t appreciate what MT has provided them in the past nor do they begrudge the fact that SA needs to make some money off of MT for a change, but they’ve really jumped the shark on this one.

  20. This news is upsetting me. I’ve invested a lot of learning and time on MT and now knowing I can’t afford it, makes me sad.

    So now, we have to make a list of possible replacements of MT:

    Drupal
    Wordpress
    TextPattern
    pMachine

    Seems to be the top four I’m considering right now… the sad this is that I’ve put so much freaking TIME on MT and learning it, that I’m frustrated I have to re-do the entire process…

    And hell with Blogger’s redesign/restructure, TextPad is going to get a run for its money.

  21. pMachine is a good system. However, I’m still quite happy with phpBB. There is a script out there that accesses the database in phpBB and allows you to present the posts in a more bloglike fashion. phpBB_Fetch_All does all this and also allows you to create forms for entering posts and comments to post to the phpBB back-end as well. I haven’t done this part yet because I’m happy with using phpBB to make posts and for users to post comments.

    I can understand the MT people wanting to make some money off of their hard work, but really, limiting the number of authors and blogs seems a little out there.

    One thing for sure, for what they are asking, they had better get the comment spam problem fixed or they are going to loose a lot of users to other systems.

    The only problem I have had with phpBB is people creating user accounts that point to porn sites and such. I know they are doing this by hand and not with bots because I have a thing to force someone to put in a number seen in an image that a bot wouldn’t be able to read. I only see these about once a month these days, but still…

    I wonder if we will start seeing less and less “Made by Moveable Type” images at the bottom of blogs soon…

  22. I may be a temporary thing but the trackbacks on Mena’s site are gone. The support site a MT is off the air also.. I wonder if they are in damage control mode.

  23. I think their server is having trouble with all the traffic, but it could be damage control. I was on the Beta blog a few minutes ago and when I tried to post a reply to a comment I ended up getting a 500 internal error.

  24. I’m failing to understand this, I just upgraded to 3D and have 4 blogs running no problem. Apparently 6A haven’t implemented anything *yet* to enforce their new licensing but this is a big blow for MT

  25. I too can no longer afford MT with these prices. I only have my blog, but I have my own server which is hosting blogs for 8 other people as well. I have been looking at some alternatives lately too (after starting to worry about exactly what happened today) and I think that I am going to move to pMachine’s Expression Engine. Seems to be on par with MT. I have heard a lot about Drupal, but haven’t spent any time with it myself.

  26. Arvind, that’s because there’s nothing in the code to enforce the licenses. I just wrote a new entry on what appears to be a statement by Mena to look the other way from folks who don’t violate the licenses too much.

  27. I think anyone with a modicum of sense has no problem with the idea of 6A charging money for MT in some fashion.  I think the irk is with (a) the amount, and (b) the reduction in what you get (without paying a whole lot more), and (c) the dearth of significant new functionality for the release they’re doing this on.  That’s not being cheap, that’s basic economics.

  28. ***Dave, exactly. I am all for paying 6A for their hard work. But not like this. And I resent the insinuation that people are being “cheap” by their anger towards these recent developments.

  29. Damn.  Considering I use about 10 different blogs to power my site, it looks like I will be migrating to WordPress sooner rather than later.  There is NO WAY I’m paying $700 to run my blog that I can run with the current MT just fine…

    Ouch.  That’s just painful to think about.

  30. Ok, I was wrong.  I only have to pay $120 (minus what I’ve already donated) for a personal copy to run all of my blogs.  Funny thing is, I probably would gladly “donate” that amount, but paying it because I have to when my current install suits me just fine is crazy.

  31. Alright.

    First of all: Six Apart, Ben, Mena and any motherfcuker who works for them be some bitches. Period. End of tale. Str8 punks.

    Second, don’t try to tell me they need the money to “create a great product”. They don’t. Fuck that. They need the money to either a) support hardcore drug addictions b) please the venture capitalists c) pay back the Russian Mafia before they get “eliminated”.

    Honestly, I would not be surprised if this incident is number ONE in next years “100 Dumbest Moments in Business” in Business 2.0. Mena, you tried valiantly to run a business, but not only did you try and fail…you tried and died. Hire a real exec and drop the front, and while you’re at it learn some damn UI design and HTML coding skills. If I had an employee turn in work like that, that son of a bitch would be in the unemployment line faster than you could say, “QA Testing”.

    It’s sad to see you guys screw up so royally. I loved the product from day one, I loved your attitudes, but now I see how “money got people actin funny”…I would suggest you hang on to whatever you’ve got, because you’re business is basically dead. No, seriously…you should never ever ever disrespect the ones who brought you up, because they will take you right back down in a heartbeat.

    As for alternatives, I will continue to use MT 2.661, licensed, not licensed, commercial or not commercial…I could care less. Not only that, but I will reverse-engineer the shit, and install it on as many systems as I like, while giving yall the finger. And if I choose to, I will do the same with 3.0. Don’t like it? Tough. I talked to your lawyer and he says you guys don’t pay your bills anyways, so he ain’t filing shit against anyone.

    Other platforms are cool too, but I want blood. After that, I will watch either WordPress, Expression Engine, Drupal or any of the others take their place at number one, while Six Apart are down at Kinko’s at 3AM photocopying their resumes…

  32. One thing I am glad I did 2 years ago was move from MT to b2. Last summer I moved to WP and I’m so happy with it I could just jump for joy. MT is a blog program. With so many free programs out there that don’t use up resources and run on mysql and PHP from the ground up you would think that people would still offer things for free. But, alas, the almighty buck has reared it’s nasty head and people just get greedy. I will never pay anyone to blog. Ever. That’s just insane!

  33. Do any geeks do the RPG’s anymore?  What about a point based system for what you get when you purchase a license? For example, I pay $50 and for that I can have 25 points I can allocate towards my blog structure.  I can spend points on either authors, blogs, or features.  However, instead of RPG rules the more I spend on a certain area the less it costs; an author could cost one point where after 10 authors are only 1/2 of a point. It just seems that it would be a flexible way to approach the problem that Movable Type is being used for a variety of things without putting any specific limitations on usage. 

    MT and role playing games - never thought i’d say that together…

  34. Pingback: Neil Turner's Blog « The end is nigh?

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