Last week Movable Type passed one of the biggest milestones in its history: the first stable version of Movable Type Open Source was officially released. Technically, Movable Type has been available under a GPL license since December. But for so many of you who were waiting in the sidelines for an officially blessed, officially tested stable version of the product, we are happy to say that it is finally available for download.
Since our original announcement, we've been paying close attention to your questions about MTOS. So instead of summarizing all of the new features that have been introduced in MTOS again, I thought I would take a moment to revisit some of those questions. This should also help explain the motivations behind the MTOS project and how it relates to the other Movable Type products available from movabletype.com.
Why MTOS? What do you hope to achieve with this distribution?
As stated on the project's hompage, the mission behind MTOS is:
- To produce a powerful and easy to use open source blogging platform that can scale to meet anyone's needs.
- To serve as a role model in the adoption and application of open Internet web standards.
- To allow the community to collaborate more effectively on developing software for the Movable Type platform.
- To provide a staging ground for exciting and innovative new Internet technologies and standards.
- To nourish groups and individuals wishing to build on top of the platform, whether it is to fix a bug, develop a feature or build a business.
- To make it easier for others to start blogging by creating additional distribution channels.
From a philosophical standpoint, it's even easier to explain the motivations behind MTOS: We want to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to express themselves freely on the web.
What are all the different versions of Movable Type that are available, and how is MTOS related to or different from them?
MTOS (Movable Type Open Source) is a distribution of MT available under the GPL (v2). This version is free in every sense of the word. Users can download it for free, redistribute it for free, make changes for free, and so on and so forth - provided of course that they apply by the limitation set forth by the GPL.
Movable Type for Personal Use is a distribution of Movable Type that is 100% identical to MTOS from a code perspective, however it is only available under a proprietary (closed source) license. This, by definition, is what makes Movable Type dual licensed. Oh yeah, and by the way: it also happens to be free - meaning it costs nothing to use and download. If you use the Personal edition, you can also choose to purchase installation services or support.
Movable Type for Commercial Use is a distribution of Movable Type that includes the commercially-licensed equivalent of the core open source product and includes the Movable Type Professional Pack that contains features exclusive to our paid customers. We bundle Movable Type and the Professional Pack together in a single download to make it easier for customers to install by requiring only to download and install one thing, as opposed to two.
If MTOS and Movable Type for Personal Use are "identical", then why offer them under different licenses?
The answer is actually pretty simple: first, when embarking on this whole licensing change we spoke with our customers first, many of whom expressed a preference to keep using the same kind of MT license that they always had. Since it doesn't cost us at Six Apart anything, and it makes our customers happy, that sounded like a good deal; We'll continue making the personal use license available. And by making sure that the customers we support are on a known, tested, stable build of the product, we can be much more efficient with our support. It also helps us be more effective in identifying the feature requests and bug reports we use to
But stay tuned, in the future we may choose to expand upon our support services, based on the feedback and requests we hear from the community.
Can I use MTOS for commercial purposes?
This is surprisingly, one of the most commonly asked questions we have received from our users - no doubt because we have historically licensed Movable Type to our users for use only in specific contexts (e.g. our Educational Licenses, our Non-profit Licenses, and our Commercial Licenses).
In so choosing the GPL for MTOS Six Apart gave its users the right to use Movable Type Open Source for any purpose whatsoever, without any need to pay Six Apart anything. Ever. Period. Its yours to do with what you please. Really, we are not kidding.
However, software licensed under the GPL is not without strings. For the vast majority of users, the restrictions the GPL imposes upon them are not wholly relevant. That being said: if you are a developer of Movable Type software, if you wish to bundle Movable Type with software you have created, or if you wish to make Movable Type available for download or otherwise redistribute it, then you are highly encouraged to familiarize yourself with the terms of the GPL v2.
What does the GPL allow me to do?* and *where can I go if I have questions about the GPL?
The best resource for anyone seeking answers about any license is the author of that license. For the GPL, that happens to be the Free Software Foundation. We recommend the official GPL FAQ as the place to check to see if you question has already been answered.
We hope the above answers have proven useful to you. If you have additional questions just leave them in the comments and we'll be happy to help get you answers.