This blog has always run on Movable Type. It’s a great piece of software which makes building and running a site like this very easy. I run a couple of other sites on this server which are completely powered by MT.
I’ve always had one small problem with MT tho’. And that’s the license. MT isn’t “free software” in the same way as all of the other software I use to run this site. Oh, it certainly costs nothing. but it’s not free in as much as I can’t do whatever I want with the software. I can’t, for example, install a copy on a client’s site and then charge them for doing it. And I can’t use it commercially without paying for a license.
Now that’s all fine. I have no problem with people licensing their software in any way that they want. As it happens I’ve always been using MT in a way that allows me to use it for free. In fact I like the program so much that a couple of years ago I made a voluntary donation to the people that wrote it.
Yesterday a new version of MT (version 3.0) was released. And it seems that the biggest change is in the way that it is licensed. They are effectively clamping down on the hundreds of people who were using free copies of MT in ways that broke the old license. Now to use MT for free you need to have only one author and a maximum of three weblogs. Otherwise you’ll need to buy a license. These start at $70 for personal use or $300 for commercial use.
Once again I need to emphasise that I have no problem at all wtih people licensing their software under any terms that they want, but these changes have made me think twice about how I’m using MT on my server. I have (I think) three separate installations of MT each of which is running one blog. One of them has two authors, and that one is also perilously close to being a commercial use (it’s an online CV for an actress friend). So I need to think carefully about whether I need to buy a license and exactly which license to buy. I’m pretty sure that both this site and Cool Stuff would currently be acceptable under the free license, but I’d certainly like to add other authors to Cool Stuff at which point I’d need at least a $70 license for it. And I would probably need to buy a $300 license for Jules’ site.
What I’m really saying, I suppose, is that I can’t be bothered to think about these issues. I’m used to using software that is free to use in any way that I want. I’m not used to thinking about licenses. If I’m going to have to think about this stuff then I’d rather just move to using a different program.
So it looks like I’ll be moving away from using MT in the near future. I’ve heard good things about WordPress so I’ll take a look at that, but currently I’m very tempted by a lightweight solution like Bryar. But there might be something better out there. I’ll be looking around over the next couple of weeks.
Mena Trott of Six Apart has written a piece explaining why they have introduced the license changes. The trackbacks (and all kudos to her for enabling trackbacks on a contentious article like that) would seem to imply that she hasn’t done a good job.