As of today, and forever forward, Movable Type is open source. This means you can freely modify, redistribute, and use Movable Type for any purpose you choose.
Just want the details and downloads? Skip to the bottom. But you might like the story of how we got here.
Like many of us on the team, some of you have been waiting for this moment for years. For a business, an open source license affects boring things like how a product is created, updated, and distributed. But the open source movement has always been about something more important: Freedom. With a name like "Movable Type", we've always been keenly aware of the importance of freedom, as that name echoes both the birth of the printing press and the creation of independent media that an individual can control.
Our goal has always been to create the best blogging platform in the world and to put that power in the hands of as many people as possible. And we want to honor a tradition of openness that Movable Type has embodied for over six years:
- From TrackBack to Atom to OpenID, we've always invented and popularized key technologies that were delivered with open source implementations, freely-available specs, and no patents.
- Movable Type has always had all of its source code freely available for review, from its first release.
- MT's license has always permitted users to modify the code for any reason.
- Every major release of Movable Type, from version 1.0, has included contributions or patches created by outside developers in the community.
- Many members of today's MT team began as contributors to the MT code or creators of MT plugins.
- There was a public code repository with nightly builds of Movable Type as far back as four years ago, though it lacked dedicated resources.
- There's always been a free (as in beer) version of Movable Type.
- We've always wanted people who pay for a Movable Type license to do so because they believe in what we're doing -- whether that's standing behind our work with professional support, or the new era of benefits like plugins and themes for paid users.
Fighting For Openness
And so, while this is a milestone for Movable Type and for our community, this is something of an evolution for the platform, not a revolution. In fact one story stands out from the earliest days of our company. I got to witness the conversations between our cofounders Ben and Mena Trott (who were then the entire staff of Six Apart) and Joi Ito, who would go on to lead the initial investment in Six Apart from his company Neoteny.
Back in late 2002 and early 2003, Ben and Mena had both been adamant about one particular point from the very beginning of the negotiations: That there would always be a free version of Movable Type with the source code freely available. To their credit, the team at Neoteny was always wholeheartedly behind the idea. Of course, Joi Ito's reputation in supporting and fighting for openness on the web since then is well-documented, from his work with Creative Commons to ICANN to the Mozilla Foundation to the Open Source Initiative itself.
But as a passionate MT user, it struck me that, even in those days when there were only a few thousand bloggers out there and the whole idea of starting a business around blogging was extremely risky, Ben and Mena were really committed to setting the standard that Movable Type would always be open, and would always be free, just as much as they were committed to making sure Six Apart would be a solid company that could hire passionate members of the community to stand behind its products.
That's the truth, but of course, that might not have always been our reputation. Ever since the changes with our version 3.0 launch three years ago, there have been those who are quick to judge or quick to question whether the intention of openness was ever there. And of course, we've since learned a lot about how to communicate better with our community, and how to build a sustainable business that we're proud of, so that we can ensure even greater investments in Movable Type. We hope that it's not just the launch of MTOS that demonstrates our commitment to openness -- from our community feedback process (which has already yielded a completely new MT wiki) to our creation and promotion of open standards for the web to our genuine interest in dialogue with the communities we serve, we truly believe Movable Type is the most open platform around.
Movable Type 4.0's release earlier this year has been the most successful launch of a new version of MT ever. It's been one of the milestones in the history of Six Apart, too, by re-establishing our flagship platform as an unquestioned leader in blogging, and demonstrating what the tool can do when we've worked with our community to invest a tremendous amount of resources in the platform.
And stay tuned: There's even more exciting news for MT coming soon! You'll want to subscribe to the movabletype.org XML feed for all the updates.
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.