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Jumping Ship?

The blogging community is in a tizzy over the licensing terms for the new version of Movable Type.

It's hard to pinpoint where the uproar started, but Les (who was one of the folks who first noted the issues) has taken a substantially more reflective look at the situation and wisely advises a collective chill pill.

People have asked me what I intend to do in regards to MT 3.0, and frankly I'm not sure what (if anything) I'll do. The sudden burst of traffic at Wizbang has given me a chance to test the limits of the current version of MT, and the results have not been good.

Over the period of the last few days I have one of the busiest installations of MT 2.661 on the planet, and I can tell you from first hand personal experience it does not scale into the 500K visitors a day range gracefully if comments and trackbacks are enabled. On one post with 400+ comments the size of the HTML file generated was over 500K. That's just not acceptable, and was a painfully slow load even with gzip on the PHP page enabled.

Rebuilds and the MT CGI code became a real issue here yesterday. Look at this graphic of the load on the Wizbang server (the period with no activity is a switch failure). See the big drop in bandwidth at the end of the timeline? That is the function of disabling comments on one post. Anyway you slice it that's some pretty inefficient CGI code...

I like the MT product and will evaluate the new version (not the Developer Edition) when it becomes available. Unless there is a real improvement in the code for commenting though, I may be looking for other products or hybrids, such as WordPress, PMachine or the backends at LGF or Daily Kos.


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Comments (16)

I really like pMachine. I k... (Below threshold)
jen:

I really like pMachine. I know that there are some things it doesn't have that MT does, but there are two things it does that I like:

1. No rebuilds required.

2. No comment spam. I think I've had maybe 3 comment spam ever.

I've said it all over, and ... (Below threshold)
Pete:

I've said it all over, and I'll say it here now: MT is not (nor has it ever been) a good product froma programming perspective. The code is slow, cumbersome, and inefficient. To be frank: it's not a product worth paying for.

"Building a better mousetrap," so to speak, wouldn't be trivial, but it'd be close and it boggles my mind that MT is STILL so bad despite it's popularity, success, and backing.

The wordpress folks have to... (Below threshold)
Paul:

The wordpress folks have to be downright giddy. The trackbacks to that one post announcing the changes were incredible.

But I think it is somewhat overblown. 70 bucks for a smallish blog and 120 for a bigish blog is just not that much money to pay. Having said that I think they would have been far better off charging 49.95 and 99.95.

I think they would have made more sales and actually had a higher gross.

The only way I can see MT b... (Below threshold)
Pete:

The only way I can see MT being worth $50.00 is if you value the time it would take to move to a different system higher than that... if that's the case, though, just not upgrading should be sufficient.

As long as there are free a... (Below threshold)

As long as there are free alternatives, I don't see how MT can charge $50 or $70 or even $19.95. I'd rather use that money for hosting, pizza, or car payments. The fact that the alternatives are superior from a technical standpoint just makes the decision easier.

The problem with WordPress ... (Below threshold)

The problem with WordPress in my evaluations (and based on other blogs which have switched to it) is that it's nearly impossible to make a good looking/well-designed blog in it. We take hot Sekimori and other designs for granted on MT, while every blog that's switched from MT to WP has ended up looking like dog shit compared to it's previous incarnation (Electric Venom being the poster child).

I think the keys to the upr... (Below threshold)

I think the keys to the uproar are -

1) The ambush factor - Mena and Ben didn't really give any indication that the move to commercialization would be so stark, and so heavy handed.

2) The convolutions of the liscensing agreement - check the assesment over in the HM forums - their appraisal looks like they're probably out of the MT3.0 hosting game

3) Mena and Ben need to eat, true - but unless they've got inside info on potential commercial customers, they've alienated just about everyone that helped them achieve the noteriety they've attained - in one fell swoop. And most of these folks are people that probably would have happily handed over 30 or 40 bucks for a non-crippleware version of a CMS from the Trotts. Putting out the hamstrung free version isn't a benny - even your current setup of having Paul as your guest blogger would be a no-no with 3.0 free.

I'm not sure if they cooked this new biz approach up in a vacuum or what, but with the available alternatives out there, it does look, as Michele described it, as bordering on suicidal. It isn't too hard for most folks to interpret this move as tantamount to putting a sign in the window that basically says "we're tired of this crap, take a hike".

Mt, for most bloggers, is a pretty good solution. It ain't as great as they seem to think it is, though. And that's a lesson that they're probably about to learn the hard way, which isn't a good thing.

Ian, the look of a site is ... (Below threshold)

Ian, the look of a site is a function of the CSS and template, not the CMS software. There are more pretty MT sites because there are more people familiar with the MT template and comfortable with manipulating it. Sekimori mentioned earlier today in ASV's comments that she would be steering people towards PHP based systems (like WP) in the future, so I expect that the graphics/layout people will get up to speed on WordPress soon.

I have no idea what constitutes pretty to you, but there are some good looking WP sites out there, such as binarybonsai.com and photomatt.net. Go to wiki.wordpress.org and look at the user sites. Like any other list, there are good ones and bad ones, but Wordpress pages can be just as pretty as any other web page in the right hands.

Jeez, people. I mean, I've ... (Below threshold)

Jeez, people. I mean, I've actually read Mena's post. Here's what I'm seeing:

There will still be a free version of MT3 -- the one that's going to cost money is the Developer Edition, which the overwhelming majority of hobbyist bloggers don't need or want. The general release, which is what most ofn us would upgrade to, is coming out later.

If that is going to cost money, then let's talk.

I installed MT 3.0D last ni... (Below threshold)
Fritz:

I installed MT 3.0D last night. I was disappointed by the lack of improvements to the UI and text formatting tools. Being able to delete multiple comments from a list is nice. But, there's nothing much else to rave about.

I work as an intranet content manager and I had hoped that I'd be able to deploy blogs here at work using MT. MT is by far the best candidate for the task, but it still isn't commercially viable.

I don't think the fees are too steep. But, the limitations on the number of authors and blogs is what will kill MT -- especially in the "free" version that is limted to one author and one blog.

I need 60 authors and 30 blogs (two authors for each of our 15 departments) and I need them to share a common administrative platform. MT seemed ideal. But, even their most expensive commercial license is limited to 20 authors and 15 blogs.

What I want to do is control the branding and site navigation and turn the authors loose to manage their own content. If they can't make a bulleted list or change the color of the text, the product won't be useful. A spell checker would be nice, too.

My goal is to be able to provide those "department homepages" that are used for content that isn't business-critical. I had envisioned people blogging at work (well, posting WORK-RELATED content -- we already blog at work). It would be inexpensive, easy for ME to maintain, and FUN.

Unfortunately, my hopes for MT have been dashed (no reference to Anil).

If they can't make a bul... (Below threshold)

If they can't make a bulleted list or change the color of the text, the product won't be useful.

Do what now, Fritz? I've been making bulleted lists in Movable Type from the very beginning. I use a little thing called HTML. Here's how:

<UL>
<LI> First bulleted item
<LI> Second bulleted item
</UL>

Not all comment windows will render such a list, but let me see if this one will:

  • First bulleted item
  • Second Bulleted item

In any case, it'll display perfectly well in a blog post, unless one lets the stylesheets kill them. I've turned off stylesheets and use HTML templates on my blog.

So I can control the branding and site navigation...

Well, a working example of ... (Below threshold)

Well, a working example of a bulleted list in HTML can be seen here.

Kevin, it seems to me that ... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Kevin, it seems to me that Fritz is talking about non-geeks writing to these blogs. Of course, one can write raw HTML to create many effects, but I'm pretty sure that Fritz wants to remove as many obstacles as possible so his bloggers won't let little things get in their way.

Ian,My Sekimori de... (Below threshold)

Ian,

My Sekimori design translated to WordPress fine. The only problem was that comments and trackbacks are lumped together in the current version. That and the fact that it won't autoseek trackbacks are its biggest weaknesses as I see it.

My site had more than 4500 posts and rebuilding had become impossible so I had to abandon MT. I wouldn't have minded paying for it with out the rebuilding problems and the rendering. Static pages are killers and adding new comments doesn't kick in a rebuild of the individual archive with WP. MT kicks off a rebuild practically every time you perform an operation.

Having said that, I would wait and see what WP 1.2 looks like when it's released. I suspect the major problems will have been dealt with.

Whoa. When did we let non-g... (Below threshold)

Whoa. When did we let non-geeks start blogging? Nobody asked me about that.

Lemme see, what's the first... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Lemme see, what's the first name to pop into my head...maybe James Joyner?




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