SixApart Creates Buzz

It was all over the place yesterday, in case you missed it – here’s a bit of a blog round up on the release of MT 4 Beta – along with the announcement that they will release it as Open Source under a GPL license later this year – and the emergence of the MTOS (Movable Type Open Source) Community:

  • Paul Enderson wrote Movable Type Goes Open Source – “Ironically enough, up until the release of MT 3.0 many users treated the software as open-source – despite the fact that it wasn’t official. When SixApart decided to enforce the licence with the release of MT 3.0 it caused widespread outrage, and this may have been one of the things that took WordPress from obscurity to popularity.“..
  • King Gary wrote Movable Type initiates battle against WordPress, the open source app that feels professional – “In my opinion, there’s going to be no showdown between WordPress and Movable Type. The battle ended when WordPress opened up its hosted blogging platform, WordPress.com, and when it released WordPress 2.0. Other applications such as Blogger, LiveJournal, and TypePad will still play significant roles in the blogging world, but in the open source blogging platform arena, WordPress is already king.“..
  • Aaron Brazell wrote Five Things MovableType Learned from Bilbo Baggins – “Movable Type announced today that Movable Type 4 would be open source. This is obviously a retreat on their move to a closed model back in Movable Type 3. If you recall, MT 3 came under a tremendous amount of fire for moving away from the “free” model and created a side effect of moving WordPress into the role of most popular blogging software. They have continued to be under fire and the pressure has finally mounted to the point where Movable Type 4 will be open source again.” . .
  • Dana Blankenhorn @ ZDNet wrote: Proof of open source incline at SixApart – “The company’s founders, Ben and Mena Trott, are also considered blog industry pioneers, although the business has barely been around since the turn of the century…Yet SixApart, with all that experience, felt moved to follow WordPress, the newbie. The money here is in the hosted space, where WordPress.Com has been taking big hunks of market share lately.“..
  • Carthik wrote: MovableType: 3 Years Too Late? – “They say the reason for an open source release is as simple as that the users asked for it. They asked for it en-masse just about 3 years ago. So though it sounds like a valid reason, I suspect that is not all there is to it. Whatever the reasons behind the change of mind, I welcome it. WordPress needs competition. I just wish the MT 4 Beta announcement wasn’t so wishy-washy.
  • Mark Ghosh wrote: Movable Type Open Source Project – “This sounds like a highly calculated business decision. I wonder what results Six Apart is hoping to get from releasing an Open Source version in excess of leveraging attention and whether an Open Source version will really do much for the codebase.

I’m inclined to agree with Gary King when he said: “The battle ended when WordPress opened up its hosted blogging platform, WordPress.com, and when it released WordPress 2.0”. Now with 2.2 and the anticipated future release of new versions that bring with it new functionalities, bells, whistles – – WordPress is hard to beat; not impossible, however.

In his post, Paul Enderson said: “Perhaps WordPress has just made me lazy, with it all being so simple…” – and perhaps that is so for myself, as well. When I work with MT I still feel like I’m doing TONS more work than I would be if I were working with WP.

Currently, 99% of my hosting clients are WordPress users. My clients from E.Webscapes boil down to (approximately) this:

It’s interesting to note in 2003 – 2004 the break down was more like:

  • 80% Movable Type
  • 15% WordPress
  • 5% Other (Blogger, Typepad, etc)

2005, 2006 and 2007 saw WordPress emerge as the blogging tool of choice – and then as the content management system of choice for many small and large businesses across the web.

I believe that they key to a popular blogging/content management system is, and always will be, the end user experience. How easy is it? How intuitive is it? How extensible is it? WordPress makes it easy – from installation to implementation. What I like to see from the WordPress development community is that they are, by and large, user-focused.

I think that is the challenge, really. Pull any development team together and they can come up with some wicked code and functionalities that make every member of the development team happy as clams – – but take that same development team and tell them that their NUMBER ONE focus is the user, even if they have to give up some creature comforts of their own genius in order to make the end user happy – – that is what WordPress does, mostly.

It’s the KISS* principle – and WordPress does that.

SixApart clearly sees the worth and value of open source – and that is huge, and it is welcome. I think the WP vs. MT conversations are good ones to have – – comparisons will always help each community grow, and it’s never a good thing for any one community to become so comfortable and arrogant to believe they will always and forever hold that top position.

The smart guy believes, wholeheartedly, that the number one position is fleeting and needs to be held onto with every ounce of energy he possesses. So, yea – let the games begin.

(*KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid)

17 thoughts on “SixApart Creates Buzz”

  1. Movable Type isn’t the easiest software to install, and ironically, their pricing announcement plugged the possibility of web hosts providing ready-to-go MT installs 🙂

    I don’t really expect MT to regain market leadership – WP is too well-entrenched now.

  2. I *really* hope that WordPress doesn’t have the market totally sewn up – not because I’m not supportive of everything that WordPress stands for and provides, but because innovation and creative thinking tends to dry up when there’s no real competition.

    The field of Social Networking is a prime example: MySpace is fundamentally rubbish, but it doesn’t *need* to get any better because it owns the market.

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  5. Excellent point, Paul….it wouldn’t be a good thing for WP to stagnate and wallow in it’s own popularity, now would it? Although – I hate to say never in any circumstance.. but I just get the feeling that the good folks involved in the WP project don’t really relate to words like ‘stagnate’ and ‘wallow’ 🙂

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  7. Thanks for the roundup of links, Lisa. Given your perspective, it’s understandable you’ve collected conversations that talk about MT in the context of other platforms. I think it might also be useful to note that we haven’t ever really focused on the “us vs. them” or zero-sum-game mindset in blogging — we’re squarely focused on getting new people blogging, and in helping bloggers succeed with the sites they have.

    As a result, we’ll probably never acquit ourselves fairly in comparisons; That’s okay, some companies are competitor-driven and some are customer-driven.

    Anyway, the more succinct way to say what I’m trying to get at is that, at least until we get 6 billion more people blogging, “winning” in the world of blog software doesn’t mean anybody else has to “lose”.

    The folks on our team who’ve been running the largest and oldest open source blogging community in the world have been great mentors in this regard. We get to see not just LiveJournal thriving, but individual LiveJournal clones reaching millions of users as well, and that’s a pretty gratifying endorsement of the idea that having an open community means we’re not the only company that can benefit from our efforts. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what you think about the stuff we’re working on next.

  8. Anil – I truly respect your passion for what you do. I’m seeing your comments left all over the place in the midst of the MT4 buzz — irregardless of who agrees with you and who does not, your passion is obvious and if the development community build around MT4 has half of it – you’ve got great footing.

    I think I recall an interview you did recently – I *think* it was published at the Blog Herald.. where you likened the WP vs. MT to that of a religious war . . and good comparison, really. It is reminiscent of Mac v. PC v. Linux v. Whoever…it gives everyone something to talk about, something to compare and everyone has a different baseline.

    Variety is a good thing. Getting the conversations out there is also very healthy in order to help users make an informed choice. After all, if there were only one flavor of ice cream – – I’d be highly bummed.

    Congrats on the latest announcement and I’m very interested to see where MT/SA goes from here. :-b

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  14. I much prefer Movable Type. I used it from 2002-2004, then took a hiatus from blogging due to life (:) ), and now I am back. I tried WordPress, and wasn’t impressed.
    Meh.

    I am not too into the built-in MT themes, but I’ll be making my own anyway.

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