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May 18, 2004
Movable Type Kerfuffle: Followup

To those of you not interested in the Movable Type 3.0 dustup: move along, nothing to see here.

Are they gone? Ok....

Mena from Six Apart, producers of Movable Type, is looking for user feedback, via trackback, into how we users are actually employing MT. Fair enough... but I have a question afterwards.

On the server to which you (the reader) are connected, I have two separate instances of MT.

The first is this blog, on which I am the sole author.

The second is a blog set up strictly for content management, and is not publicly viewable; there is no overlap between the first and second blogs. It is a separate install because of the archiving scheme. That blog has two authors.

Even though, as I understand it (and I might be mixed up on this), such an installation would be cost-free, I would be willing to pay a nominal fee for this sort of use.

The third blog with which I am associated is not hosted on this server. It is a non-commercial group blog, with one instance of MT, and with 26 authors in the system (I act purely as an administrator; I do not post there, though I may in the future.)

This third blog is where I see the biggest problem with the licensing scheme announced for MT3.0. None of the "Personal Edition" licensing options is adequate to handle this particular circumstance, 1 blog with 26 authors, and even the closest option would be prohibitively expensive. We had been looking forward to the release of 3.0 so we could enable some specific features on the group blog, but without further information to the contrary, there's zero chance we'll stay with MT.

It is almost as if Six Apart wants to eliminate MT use among large-group blogs... but I'm more inclined to think that they didn't actually consider the matter fully.

OK, now my question.

As I noted in my previous post on the subject, there has been mention made of a "general release," as opposed to the currently available Developer Edition.

A couple of points:

1) So far, all we know about is a Developer Edition. The name implies that there may be a non-developer edition, with appropriate licensing and pricing.

2) Not only is this implied, it's stated - not clearly, rather obliquely, but stated nonetheless:

We would recommend that, if you're not the type of person who likes to tinker with Movable Type or would require a installation, you hold off until the general release.
[Emphasis in the original.]

You see, a "general release" is a different animal than a "Developer Edition." Different capabilities, different features, different licensing, different pricing.

I've sent 6A feedback, a query about this, but have as yet received no reply -- understandable, due to the avalanche of mail they are no doubt receiving.

But the question remains: if the current release is a "Developer Edition," this implies to me that it's meant for something other than what the majority of users are doing with MT. I would expect a product labelled "Developer Edition" to contain tools and/or information to allow people who wish to extend MT to do so by developing plugins; it might also be the variety of product that an ISP would purchase to resell or provide service to their customers.

While I am perfectly happy to make use of plugins (I use MT-Blacklist, for instance), I have no desire to "peek under the hood," to access the guts of the product. If MT shipped as a binary plus configuration files, I would be satisfied (as long as I could customize the administrative interface -- I have made extensive changes to mine.)

(The default admin interface looks like it was designed to be used on a 14" monitor with a 640x480 resolution. The text entry boxes are quite narrow, and 10 lines of visible input in the "Create New Entry -> Entry Body" text box is about 20 lines too few. Plus, there's a lot of wasted screen real estate. That should be more easily configurable... or at least, the method of altering it should be documented somewhere other than in the Support Forums.)

It was implied in the original release announcement quoted above that there will be a general release at some point. I hope that's correct, and that this kerfuffle is nothing more than a tempest in a teapot.

Posted by Russ at 11:59 PM, May 18, 2004 in Bloggery

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Tracked on May 21, 2004 11:18 AM