MovableType, It was fun to know thee…

Once apon a time I needed a easy to use off the shelf blogging system for a site a friend of mine could use. I stumbled across MovableType, and it worked. Then I started this site, so I went with MT, and it worked. Then I started a couple other sites where MT could be used. It has worked for every one of them, and it’s worked fine.

Now, not a single one of these sites has been a commercial venture, some have been successful and grown, others have not. Over the last year or so I’ve recommended MT to probably a dozen or three other folks, who in turn have started using it.

I was so far in love with movabletype as a cms platform I was actually writing an addon script for the cPanel hosting control panel (used by, oh, I don’t know, a couple thousand linux hosting companies out there) that would allow those users of any of those companies to install an MT blog on their account with “one click” (a feature the cPanel system already has for such scripts as phpBB, InvisionBoard, PHP-Wiki, PHP-Nuke, and more). I figured MT was great and wonderful, the more people who could use it with ease, the better the world would be. I don’t know a single cPanel host out there who charges ‘extra’ for these addon scripts, it’s not a major selling point for the hosts, it was just an idea to make MT more prolific out there….

However, that little plan ran into a snafu. You see, part of MovableTypes (then) licensing agreement basically read “If you install this program for someone else, you owe us $150…” Now, no hosting provider out there is going to pay $150 a pop everytime one of their clients goes “Oh, MovableType, that sounds cool, lets check it out!”… so I scrapped the project. Even hosts who, in the past would help their hostees out with an script install here and there if possible were steering clear of helping folks with MT, all due to this (silly) restriction.. No doubt this restriction is out there to stop ideas just like mine so that the MT folks can pretty much lock up the market on MT newbie hosting. (which also happens to be rediculously over priced for what you actually get).. but I digress, the point here was, I was a devout MT junkie…

Now it seems that was a mistake. The folks who made MT have decided that now would be a good time to start Charging out the Wazoo for MovableType. Never mind the fact that this new “version” that rolls out the new “send us your money!” license has, well, not a single useful new feature for most people.

Sure, there’s still a “free” version, but that limits you to one “author” and three “blogs”… OK, so for a site like this one, where it’s JUST ME all the time, I can get by on one author account… but three blogs? Hmm.. Here I was going to use blogs as sections (main, reviews…whatever else I add later..etc).. So I guess that kind of sucks.

On a site like HereBeGnomes, there’s currently two authors over there, so even if they don’t do anything else with the site (Expansion wise), they’ll need to shell out $69 to the folks at MT (On special from $99!, isnt’ that nice of the MT foks?) or find another platform to use. Got a BIG movabletype installation? Oh, well, for $599 you can have up to 20 authors and 15 blogs.. isn’t that nice of them?

ANYWAY, the real problem here isn’t just the “send us your money”.. it’s the what you get in return? Some support? Zero value to me. Between google, logs, and the various folks I know, not ONCE has there been an instance of “Oh gee, if only we could call apon the gang at MT to help us!”…

More importantly, there’s *this* from the “what you get when you send us your money” list on the MT site: Application updates and fixes (not including major upgrades)

SO, when the folks at MT decide to roll out MT 4.0 (or whatever they consider a “major upgrade”, you get to send them another envelope full of cash.. isn’t life great? What’s a major upgrade? When can you expect to be ass-pounded for more cash? Who knows.. could be six years from now, could be a couple of weeks…. Who knows, apparently whatever is new in 3.0 was enough to justify bumping the version number from the 2.xx series, but I’ve yet to meet someone who can tell me just WHAT was new, besides the ass shafting to the existing MT userbase.. you know, the little guys using MT and telling their friends about how great it is… yeah, those guys, the ones who’ve made MT what it is today

Anyway… The folks at MovableType (or SixApart, or “send us your money Inc”, or whatever they’re calling themselves….)…. yup, you know it, big smelly goat balls… all yours for the licking.

The net’s a big place, and there’s plenty of other blog/cms platforms out there… time to pick one out that looks promising, and start migrating sites. Regardless, I’ll be recommending notepad and raw html by hand to the people who ask me before I recommend or help a friend with another MT installation.