The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Friday, 14 May 2004]

The Movable Type announcement

What with all the frothing at the mouth and brain hemorrhages caused by yesterday’s Movable Type announcement, I figured I’d better write a post about it or risk losing my blogger’s license.

First off, sure, Six Apart is a corporation with bills to pay and employees with mouths to feed, and as such they are most certainly free to pursue whatever means they can to put food on the table. And anybody who doesn’t like what they do can pick up their ball and go home, or simply pick another blog system with a license and price that suits their needs better. This is after all how a market economy is supposed to work.

Yesterday’s announcement looks to be a classic case of broken-down communications. First off, the new licensing scheme is way too complicated. Nobody should have to use a wizard or a flow chart to figure out how much to pay for their software. So after the cold shower of following the wizard and realizing that what used to be free will now cost money–shakes fist at heaven screaming, “Noooooo!”–there is nothing on the site to tell me why I’d want to upgrade. Carrot and stick, people. At least tell me why I’d want to pony up.

This is also not the most opportune time for Six Apart to start upping the ante on their licenses. Blog systems are becoming commoditized and there are more and more of them out there every day. Let’s face it, the basic software to run a simple blog is not that complicated. Good blog software is more complicated, and multi-user content management systems with a structured API for third party plugins are quite complicated.

Most of the really rabid frothing at the mouth seems to come from people who run simple installs, fell in love with the simplicity and general friendliness of Movable Type, and fail to see the value of paying for all the whiz-bang features they’re not very likely to use anyway. Hint to Six Apart: MT 2.6 is great for most things; with MT-Blacklist as a staunch defender against comment spam (and comment spammers should die die die die die die die), it’s a good personal publishing platform. To get people to upgrade and in most cases spend money, tell them why they should.

As to myself, I don’t have the time right now to move to a different platform, but will probably do so at some point. Or I might upgrade this installation to 3.0 since it meets the new Plebeian Standard for a free license, then come up with something else for Tech Goes Boom.

For myself, moving to a different platform is something I would have done anyway, not because I don’t like Movable Type, but because I’m masochistic enough to enjoy checking out different software options.

Still, people, it’s just software. Let’s not get our panties all in a bunch.

Do you feel that 3.0 is worth what Six Apart is asking? If so, buy it. If not, switch to something else.

And let’s all try to not kick our dogs, mmmkay?

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