MovableType changes are a good thing

May 25th, 2004 Comments Off on MovableType changes are a good thing

I returned to the blogosphere just in time to witness the last throes of the controversy around MovableType’s licensing changes. At the time, I decided not to comment on the issue because I was sure SixApart would listen to the market and make some changes to their licensing agreement — as they did.

Although I use MovableType, I’m not bothered by the changes it’s going through. Since it was never open source, I never presumed it would remain free. Of course, I’m thankful for SixApart’s generosity in allowing me to use MovableType for so long. Although I’m not planning to upgrade to 3.0, they’re still generous enough to allow me to use 2.661 for as long as I need it. Every time I downloaded MovableType, I checked the “I accept this agreement”; SixApart honored its part, and I will honor mine.

That said, I think the licensing changes that SixApart is introducing are a good thing. While MovableType is a good product, it has stagnated in the past months. The last releases didn’t introduce new features nor addressed problems with the tool. Version 3.0 has just a few new features — not enough to prompt me to upgrade even to the free version, for which I qualify.

So the fact that people are unsatisfied with MovableType means more development will occur in the area of weblog tools. Because MovableType was free enough, to use Mark Pilgrim’s phrasing, there was little incentive to develop a competitor.

When MovableType started to languish, however, competitors appeared. WordPress, the strongest of those is a really good tool. It’s quite ahead of MovableType in many areas, and judging from the pace of development, it poses a real threat to SixApart. Interesting tools and services are starting to appear from the shadows, and I’m sure others will surface shortly.

Anything that shakes the market and forces people to see things in a different light is good for users. SixApart may have just provided developers with the motivation they needed to advance the market again. And that’s good for SixApart, too. A strong market means they will have to work more to keep up with market demands, which in turn will benefit their users, which in turn… You get the idea.

In short, I liked SixApart move. And I will like it even more if the market answers properly.

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