And becomes completely irrelevant.
Apparently, I missed this last month, but Six Apart is changing their license so that Movable Type will no longer have a free version. Now, when it was Ben and Mena Trott running Six Apart, when they made a mistake with licensing, which I think they did back in 2004, you can understand and forgive.
Ben and Mena were like us, just two fellow geeks out there coding and blogging. They came up with a great idea and everyone loved it. But, then, money got involved and things got complicated. They did things to make money, and, honestly, I probably would have done the exact same things. When they first changed things to make the license more restrictive back in 2004, I was, I admit, outraged. How could they betray us like that? They were like us! How could they throw this all over to just make money! In retrospect, the question is, how could they NOT?
But, then there was WordPress. Many of us made the jump, including me. WordPress was a new way of doing things. This Open Source thing was new to many of us and it was exciting! Software that was mostly free that the community built! People who were just like us! Code geeks and blog geeks and graphics geeks all coming together to make cool things happen. What could be better? And, from my perspective, WordPress was easier to extend and develop for in many, many ways. Also, it seemed to have fewer resource issues than the Perl-based Movable Type. Better still, as I understood the license, WordPress would always be free and if it stopped being free, we could fork the code and make it free again.
Somewhere back in there, after the 2004 license debacle, Movable Type added an Open Source version. They tried to get us back, but, frankly, for most of us, it was too little, too late. After one license change like that, how could we be sure that it wouldn’t happen again? And what about charging money to be part of the developer’s group who had access to the documentation you really needed to understand Movable Type enough to develop for it? I know I couldn’t afford that! Besides, as Six Apart got more and more corporate, I just felt like something else bad was coming, if not soon, then eventually.
Well, it actually happened in July, but I just read about it on Mark Jaquith’s blog.
So, finally, after nine years, that other shoe has finally dropped. Of course, a lot has changed in those nine years. For one thing, I’ve gotten both married and divorced and am getting ready to be married again. Interestingly, to me, Ben and Mena who started Six Apart have gotten divorced, too. Ben still seems to be involved in the day-to-day development of Movable Type and related stuff, but Mena seems less involved. I can’t imagine the toll their meteoric rise took on their relationship. It must have gotten truly unbearable after a while.
You know, I hope they made out well. Sure, this latest license thing is, I think, a final nail in the coffin of Movable Type, but, damnit, Movable Type also launched the blogging era in many ways, and paved the way for WordPress. And, it was two people who started it. Just two. Two good people.
So, it’s sad, to me, to see how things have gone. I’m sad to have been right about Movable Type all those years ago. I wish they had proven me wrong.
But, with this, I think they proved me right not to trust the Movable Type license any more. And, honestly, they taught me something about how to treat my audience and my customers.
And, yes, it makes me sad. It’s the end of an era, of sorts.
I’m sorry to see you go, old friend.