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« When Feeling Bad = Looking Good | AKA The Black-belt Syndrome | Main | Installed Norton Ghost 12 & Created Back-up Image, called a Recovery Point »

Six Apart Releases Version 4.0 (beta) of its Movable Type Blogging Software

Six Apart Releases version 4.0 of its MovableType Blogging Software Six Apart (6A) has released version 4.0 (beta) of its Movable Type blogging software, with a final Open Source version scheduled for release this summer. Sweet!

There will also be a separate commercial version (with tech support) released along with the eagerly-awaited open source version.

I installed (apparently) the final version of the 3.xx series (v3.35) on 16.April.2007. See here > First Post with Movable Type v3.35. I also installed a bunch of cool plug-ins, as detailed here > Dialing In Movable Type.

I very much like v3.35, finding it sophisticated, elegant & powerful, especially after "upgrading" from v2.63 (v3.35 was actually a new installation), which I installed back in May 2003.

Heard rumblings that 6A has invested considerable developmental resources into v4.0, so I'm looking forward to checking it out .. tho my days of being an "early adopter" are long gone.

I'll probably migrate to v4.x after the 1st or 2nd update (4.01, or 4.02). Actually, I'll probably do another new installation, like I did with v3.35.

Word on the street is that 6A neglected Movable Type while working on the Enterprise version & TypePad, and have now come back (with a vengeance) to focus on making MT the best blogging platform (on the planet).

Six Apart Releases version 4.0 of its MovableType Blogging Software6A will need a strong showing from MT4 if they hope to stave off the WordPress phenomena.

Under heading, "Why now" listed here (half-way down page), 6A says MT4 is the > "culmination of more person-years of development than any other release."

The very next paragraph characterizes MT4 thusly > "the biggest development investment we've made in any version in Movable Type's history." So expectations are high.

••••• today's entry continues below •••••

News of a corresponding Open Source release is surprising, cuz lack of one was always Movable Type's biggest negative, during its 3.x incarnation of the past few years. (Version 3.0 was released 2004.)

I'm not clear however, exactly how the new open source licensing works, cuz I noticed 6A is also maintaining a commercial version of 4.x.

Why would anybody *pay* for a commercial license .. when they can install an open source version (free)? Update > seems a commercial license buys you technical support from SixApart.

The big question on everyone's mind seems to be > "Will an open source version allow Movable Type to make up ground it lost to WordPress (very popular open source blogging software) following 6A's decision to license v3.x?"

Here's a telltale quote from BlogoWogo (last two paragraphs). The same article appears at TechCrunch. See here >

The new licensing model once MT4 is open-sourced will be similar to MySQL: the paid version will include technical support from SixApart.

I have a long history with SixApart that isn’t worth repeating. As a vocal critic previously, I can now say in all honesty that a leopard *can* change its spots.

The new version of MovableType looks wildly appealing to me as a blogger and the decision to open source the platform may well deliver broad numbers of WordPress converts back to the platform that started it all.

Marshall says MT4 will come with a WordPress-to-MT importing tool. (Why am I not surprised?) LoTGoD converted his WordPress blog to MT 3.35 at the same time I installed mine. He reported no problems.

MovableType 4.0 has a brand new look (Admin User Interface)I'm also excited to hear MT4 comes with a "completely redesigned user interface," which seems to include at least *some* black. A white user interface (to me) is like staring a 100-watt light bulb. I've submitted my request for a professionally designed dark UI option.

I first heard of MT4 from Byrne, a few months ago, while discussing one of his plug-ins. He mentioned the "next version" of MT would be coming with the WYSIWYG editor used in Vox (another 6A product). I asked, "You mean 3.36 or 3.4?" He said, "No. 4.0." I said, "Oh, 4.0. Cool." So I've been watching for it.

The only problem I have is figuring which subdomain to use for v4. I used blog.radified.com for v2.63. I used blogs.radified.com for v3.35. For 4.01 .. hmmm. Not sure. Maybe mt4.radified.com. Any ideas? blogg.radified.com? Shorter is usually better.

If you've ever been interested in blogging, this summer should present you with an *ideal* opportunity to get started, one I find easy to recommend. MT is rad software. [I'm kinda itchin' to download the beta now.]

Now to read a little more about the open source version. Is that gonna be the same (feature-wise) as the Commercial version?  Seems to be some intrigue surrounding that question.

Update > after a little detective work, it seems the following items are what (and only what) we know for sure:

  1. MT4 will be a commercial product, which is free for personal use.
  2. MTOS will be an open-source project, licensed under GPL.
  3. You can download MT4 beta > HERE.
  4. MT4 has 50 new features, such as an easy installation wizard & WYSIWYG editor.

6A says MT4 should see official release in "6-12 weeks". That means > mid-July to late-August. So it should be out by September or October. =)

I keep hearing the phrase Social Media Platform (or Hub .. see > here) used to describe MT4. Uh, that's very similar to how you could describe a Content Management System (CMS), especially one such as Drupal, which focuses on community interaction.

I documented my research into a comparison of Drupal vs Joomla, two of the best open source CMS's out there. Part 2/2 is here > Comparing Drupal vs Joomla Content Management Systems.

Comparing the pro's & con's of installing a first-rate CMS vs a site (such as Radified) that contains a quality blog + forum is a subject I've been meaning to address. The blog & forum which comes with Drupal, for example, isn't anywhere near as polished as what you get with MT or YaBB.

The decision to 'open-source' (verb) Movable Type is welcome news for bloggers like me, who enjoy playing with top-shelf software, and who fall between the big guys (who will always pay for their commercial software) and the little guys (who will use something less developed, less robust, less muscular).

Users like me could *always* use MT freely for "Personal use," but the decision to open its source should help re-energize the once-vibrant support community, which dwindled to meager numbers in recent years, following 6A's decision to adopt a pay-licensing model (when other options remained free & open source).

Back in 2003 & even 2004, Movable Type had one of the best support communities I'd ever seen. (Almost as good as Radified's.) Even the most arcane questions were answered promptly, accurately, and with a genuinely helpful attitude.

Now it's not so easy to get your questions answered. For example, I never was able to get MT 3.35 to work with FastGCI (see HERE), even tho this version supposedly comes with FastCGI support "out of the box" and 6A strongly recommends using it.

Technically speaking, there is not much I haven't been able to do. But getting MT 3.35 to work with FastCGI was clearly beyond my skill-set, and help was nowhere to be found.

If you remove a handful of the most helpful contributors, their forums would be in sad shape. Hopefully open-sourcing MT4 will reverse the current trend, which has siphoned-off their most helpful & knowledgeable contributors to their Professional Network, and sent the rest packing to WordPress.

Blogging & Movable Type are subjects I happen to know a bit about, having considerable first-hand experience with each.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query > movable type 4.0 blog release open source six apart

More story coverage at eweek, .. Read/WriteWeb, SiliconValleyWatcher, BetaNews, Six Apart Press Center.



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