13 May 2004 11:40 pm

Wow. Movable Type 3.0 is out, and it has a pricing scheme that essentially kills its use among its most devoted following. Mena of Movable Type has stated that they’re devoted to providing a free version of the product, which, on the surface, has reasonable limits: one author, three blogs.

On the other hand, most Movable Type adopters tend to fall into the “web design-geek / server script-monkey” mold (guilty), and these people like being able to set up multiple weblogs for, say, their friends. That was one of the reasons I adopted MT in the first place; many of my friends were scattering across Canada and the States, and I would have liked to see them post about their experiences as a way of keeping in touch (granted, this has not been as easy as some would like, and the hard drive failure from last winter has put quite a few blogs on hold — my apologies, Orion, Yomimono, and Andy).

I’m not such a total skinflint that I won’t pay for good software (I purchased the copy of Opera I use, as well as Trillian, EditPlus and numerous others), but if I wanted to spend $119.95 USD (that’s something like three million dollars Canadian, methinks) on a hobby, I’d rather go out and buy a new XBox, or put the cash aside for the Nintendo DS, or buy a better digital camera, or save some for a gashapon shopping spree for Japan. But with MT’s new pricing scheme, and no new features to boot? I think I’ll stick with MT 2.661. I’ll not be so foolish as to return to my old home-rolled content management system, but I’ll definately be looking into the alternatives (pMachine, WordPress, Drupal and others come to mind).

Ah, the exciting world of software licensing. Watching the trackbacks from Mena’s post has certainly been interesting; there’s a lot of negative feeling in the MT community, and a genuine sense of betrayal. While I wish Movable Type and their employees all the success in the world, they’re going to have to do a lot of hard work to earn back the goodwill they seem to have squandered.

My personal opinion? All told, $119.95 USD for 6 authors and 8 blogs (which is, I believe, what numenor.ca’s maximum load would be if it were functioning at full efficiency), is actually a rather reasonable price — if MT existed in a content management system vacuum. Compare this to what the average anime / video game hobbyist would pay for their personal vices ($20 – $40 USD per volume of a series, or around $40 USD per game, and that’s not including peripherals like new controllers or memory cards), and it’s actually quite cheap.

There are, however, other content management systems which cost users absolutely nothing out of pocket. And if a devoted Movable Type non-profit power user were to upgrade, I think that springing a $50 – $70 USD minimum price increase (previously $0 USD) on them is a bit much. This is what seems to have brought the community’s wrath down upon Six Apart: expectations simply weren’t managed, and they’re now paying for it. I’ll be very curious to see how this plays out; will this be a Netscape-ish end for Six Apart, with other CMS’ like WordPress stepping to the fore, or will they parlay this as a simple misstep for a growing company, and show some goodwill by changing the pricing scheme?

Hmm. I should really change this category from “Blogwork” to “Oh, god, he’s blabbering about website stuff again”.

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