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Clarifying Changes to Movable Type Starting with MT6

By Robert Minton
Posted July 11, 2013.

  • Dropping MTOS offering - discussed in-depth on expanded post
  • MT Pro and MT Advanced - Will be under MT commercial license
  • New MT6 Data API - under MIT license so that developers can extend it, build new things, and license them how they want or sell their new work.
  • New Loupe web application for mobile - will be under MIT license so that developers can extend it, build new things and license them how they want or sell their new work.
  • Will we re-license two recently released themes, Eiger (new responsive web design theme) and Rainier (a new blog theme), under MIT licenses allowing developers to extend or sell their new work?

MT Changes - Clarification

Adding the MIT license to new MT extensions we believe allows our users to take full advantage of our vastly improved API designed specifically for Movable Type 6, the Data API and Chart API Javascript libraries will also be offered under the MIT License. In addition, access to and use of the Smart Phone application Loupe will also be covered under the MIT license. Different than some other CMS offerings, we believe our community should be able to build upon and enhance offerings and benefit from their work. Developers will now be able to distribute products that Included the JavaScript library, as well as Loupe modification applications and plug-ins, with more control on how your derivative code will be used.

Based on recent comments and conversations that appeared on social media, we thought it would be best to clarify our new licensing policy and explain the reasons for some our the moves being made by Six Apart. After more than 6 years of making MTOS available for free, we don't believe that MTOS, itself, added any significant value to Movable Type as a whole. In fact, since our previous owners released MTOS to try and appease an angry development community that felt betrayed when the previous owners decided to start charging for the software to fund innovation and product support, and the growth of their company, MTOS has not had the effect everyone had hoped for. Since this decision was made and MTOS was release, and with stiff competition from other open source offerings, Movable Type has had a downward trajectory in market share and sales in the US. The community has not grown because of MTOS, nor have we seen download numbers that are any greater than our paid versions of Movable Type, so at this point it does not make any economic sense to continue to maintain and distribute something that is getting very little use. We have decided to put our resources and developers behind MT Pro and Advance, to make them the best offering in the marketplace.

On the contrary, I actually believe that MTOS hurt the adoption of Movable Type in the market. Research has made it quite clear that many IT organization and development firms (outside our community) have wrongly assumed that MTOS was our full version of Movable Type. When customers are evaluating CMS offerings, they compare what they can get for free from Movable Type, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or others. MTOS, because it's not our full feature set offering, makes us compare unfavorably with the other free open source platforms.

One could make the argument based on the above, that the answer is to make all of the software free, which would also solve the problem mentioned above, but there would be a few key business points missing. The top two free, open source CMS offerings compete for business with their community, picking the best clients and projects for themselves - we are sure everyone is familiar with Automattic and Acquia. We don't want to compete with the community, but rather, we want the community to have access to all of the biggest and best clients. All of these organizations exert some type of control to make money, whether its advertisements on free services, fees for hosting, etc. All software providers have made some type of choice that limits their community or users in some way, which is the unfortunate fact of doing business and making money.

In order to avoid confusion, the ideal thing for us to do is to put our best foot forward and put all of our resources and marketing behind our full, paid versions of Movable Type.

That said our goal is also to expand our product offering in the next twelve to eighteen months. These future products may address concerns on cost, access, etc. We really hope you understand why we are going in this direction; one could argue that that this is the path Movable Type should have taken all along.

Thank You.

Robert Minton VP/General Manager Six Apart North America




HDW on July 11, 2013, 8:37 p.m. Reply

So you’re still not ready to tell us whether the Blogger account level will continue to exist or not?

Please come up with an answer to that question soon. And please clarify ASAP whether your pricing structure will for the Business licenses will be changing or not. And if your future products are somehow going to “address concerns on cost, access, etc.,” please give us a clue what in the world that means in a lot less than 12-18 months, because by that time I will already have decided whether to upgrade to Pro or switch to another product.

It’s all very well that you think this change makes sense to you. I need to know if it makes sense for me — in concrete terms, not generalities and vague reassurances. And it needs to be soon if it’s going to do any good, because I’m already evaluating my other options.


Sebastian on July 27, 2013, 4:45 a.m. Reply

Sorry, I don’t understand why you’re dropping the whole community (again)! Up to me, there is no need to support a free MTOS version for commercial users, BUT dropping all private bloggers using MT is the same mistake, SixApart did a long time ago.

Companies selling commonly used closed software are getting down - like Microsoft does with it’s “classic” Windows while others selling commercial support (or licensed) for “free” software rise. MS is heavily moving to hosted cloud services and SixApart is doing exactly the opposite thing?

You’re right that MTOS isn’t that widely distributed like WordPress is, but WordPress is suffering badly from the things MT does better: Security, speed, source quality. Very few people in the blogosphere know about MovableType at all and THIS is the issue you need to fix! But you asked the community to do a(nother) fork of MovableType 5 instead.


sahawilliam on October 21, 2013, 2:18 a.m. Reply

i agree with sebstain that there is no need to support a free MTOS version.


dug on December 25, 2013, 9:25 p.m. Reply

From what I can see the “power blogger” individual license is gone.

Essentially you’re not interested in supporting the scenario where I develop personal and pro bono projects on the platform under a “free as in beer” license and buy a commercial license when I can sell a hosted solution to a commercial customer.

I understand you want to focus on core strengths but this does seem a little odd as there can’t be that many of us left out here who still work daily in MT.

The sitch today is that with the recent security issues I now have to migrate all the educational charities that live on my box over to another platform. What this means in plain English is that for all but the most out-of-the-box of them I am simply going to have to switch off their websites as they can’t afford to pay for a migration and I don’t have the free time to convert all that custom template logic into WP or whatever other platform looks appropriate.

We’re running out of time now. I reckon I can’t wait too much longer before the risk of one of my builds getting hacked means I am going to have to shut down.

Please reconsider this. We need a developer license so we can use the full-feature product for free if we are going to continue investing time and effort on this platform.

And really we need to know what your final decision is ASAP

Thanks Dug


thegline on December 28, 2013, 7:09 p.m. Reply

I agree with the above folks. The lack of a developer or single-blogger license, or any detailed word about same, is highly problematic.

I have a lot invested in MT — two sites of my own design, plus another I helped build. Switching all of them to WordPress isn’t practical, and so I’m forced to stay with MT 5.2.x indefinitely.

I’d appreciate some details about what could be done with the individual blogger licenses.