The folks at Six Apart have proven that they are willing to not only listen to their customers, but to make changes necessary to keep them happy. They just announced their latest license plans for the Personal Edition of MovableType and I must say that they are more than reasonable. First a summary of what they learned from the uproar:
We made these revisions based on what people have told us they wanted to see:
- There are now no limits on the number of weblogs you can create with a paid license of Movable Type. The free license remains limited.
- All paid options include support directly from us, through our online ticket system.
- Our licenses are perpetual, meaning there are no annual subscription fees. Larger commercial licenses require a 20% maintenance fee after the first year if continued support is desired.
- Paid licenses will include free updates and bug fixes. For example: 3.x release are free to any 3.x licensee. Paid licenses are also eligible for discounts on major upgrades to the software, so 3.x paid licensees will receive a discount on 4.x versions of Movable Type.
- All of the pricing mentioned below is the standard price, so the numbers published on our site are no longer introductory pricing.
- In the next couple of months we are planning a general release of Movable Type 3.x with compelling new features, which will be a free update for Developer Edition users.
I’m actually quite surprised to see that the licenses will be perpetual as a minor annual upgrade fee really isn’t an unreasonable request to make for software that is regularly updated. The removal of limits on the number of blogs for paid versions eliminates one of my two biggest complaints against the new licenses. The other is addressed in the pricing plan:
Limited Free Edition (no cost)
Limited to 1 author and 3 weblogs for personal use
There is no customer support for our free product
This offer is unchanged.
As mentioned before, paid licenses include unlimited help ticket support.
Personal Edition ($69.95):
Up to 5 authors and an unlimited number of weblogs for personal use.
This license has been improved allowing the creation of unlimited weblogs.
Unlimited Personal Edition ($99.95):
Allows for an unlimited number of authors and weblogs for personal use
This license is new, allowing unlimited authors and weblogs for personal use.
As you can see there’s a grand total of three license options for MT3 which makes figuring out what you need much easier to do. The pricing plan also puts MovableType on a level playing field with their competition, namely pMachine Pro and ExpressionEngine. Six Apart has also revised their Commercial, Educational and Non-Profit pricing as well. There’s still no word on what the new features in the upcoming general release will be so it’s hard to compare MT3 with ExpressionEngine or other packages as of yet, but if they include a good number of new goodies then they may once again reclaim the position of being the best bang for the buck. It would have only taken a few things from my wishlist to get me to fork out $99 for an unlimited license of MT and if the work on MT Subcategories that David Raynes has been doing is any indication, the new goodies could be quite powerful. David has already turned his once-simple plug-in into a major add-on for MovableType and giving a means of accomplishing one of the things I’ve wanted in MT for a long time. Then he’s gone on to develop several other new plug-ins including Threaded Comments. I said the new plug-in API might be MT3’s saving grace and it’s starting to look like that will be the case.
As for me, I’ll be sticking with ExpressionEngine for the time being. Supposedly as a former MT Beta Tester I’m allowed a 50% discount on the price of the personal edition licensing and after applying the donation I made way back when I could probably pick up the unlimited personal edition license for around $40 which would be more than worth it at this point. I might even go ahead and buy the license just as a means of saying “thank you” to Six Apart for allowing me free use of the product for so long. With the discount I’d get it’d be the least I could do even if I don’t switch back to MovableType, which I probably won’t do anytime soon. EE has some rough spots in it compared to MT, but it’s also a lot younger. What makes me want to stick with EE is the dynamic aspect of it. Let’s face it, rebuilding after any change with MT is a pain and although it’s much improved under MT3 it’s still not as nice as a truly dynamic system. I’m not one to say “never” though and if there’s enough goodies in the general release I could be tempted back. Still, for those of you who stuck it out with MT you’ve been well rewarded for your loyalty. The new pricing probably won’t make everyone happy, but it’s a whole helluva lot better than what it was and once again puts MT back on an even playing field with the rest of the packages out there.