Six Apart has released Movable Type Open Source.

The folks at Six Apart, makers of very popular Movable Type blogging package, announced today that the Open Source version of MT is now available. I’m not sure, but the announcement makes it sound like the Open Source version will be the official version from here on out.

The Movable Type Open Source project exists thanks to the passion, dedication, and inspiration of a community that has been incredibly generous for more than six years. We thank you for all the work leading up to this launch, and especially for the valuable contributions you’ll be making in the future. Today, we’re honoring the spirit of openness that’s always been part of the Movable Type community and taking it to its logical conclusion: Please welcome Movable Type Open Source.

A few quick answers to questions you might have about MTOS:

  • MTOS has every feature in Movable Type 4.0 along with several new minor improvements and bug fixes.
  • All plugins, themes, templates, designs, and APIs that work with MT4 work with MTOS. MTOS also works with other Six Apart open source technologies such as memcached.
  • MTOS is one of the only open source blogging tools with built-in support for an unlimited number of blogs, an unlimited number of authors, and sign-in with OpenID, with no plugins needed.
  • We’ll be adding additional paid benefits for people who’ve paid for commercial licenses for Movable Type, with benefits like improved technical support and custom add-ons such as plugins or themes.
  • MTOS is complemented by the paid software products we sell on top of the MT platform, such as our Enterprise Solution, Community Solution and personal and commercial licenses which include support.
  • There’s a public Subversion repository for getting the MTOS code and nightly builds.
  • Once there are stable public builds, those downloads will be on movabletype.org as well.
  • You can find out how to contribute to the MTOS project and the MT community at movabletype.org.
  • MTOS support is provided by other members of the community. (A great place to start is the new Movable Type Wiki.) You can buy a standard paid license for one of the existing Movable Type products if you’d like professional support directly from Six Apart.
  • Movable Type Open Source is being released under the standard GPL license.
  • We welcome and encourage the distribution and reuse of all or part of MTOS in other open source projects. Get in touch if you want to work together.

Be sure to check out the full MTOS details for more details on how MTOS works, a list of Frequently Asked Questions, and information about how you can contribute.

The weird part of this announcement is that it pretty much sets things back to the way they were prior to the licensing fiasco at the release of version 3.0. Despite not being officially Open Source, pre-3.0 MT was freely available, fully modifiable, and unrestricted in the number of blogs and authors you could have which is part of what made it so popular. The only real difference is that with the move to Open Source it’s possible a branch could split off if enough of the community decides to take on such a project. My first thought is to question why they bothered with the whole licensing issue at 3.0 to begin with, but I actually do understand why it just seems silly when you have the benefit of hindsight. Making MT Open Source back with the release of 3.0 would’ve probably been the best move at the time, but better late than never.

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