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So everybody’s talking about the Movable Type upgrade/fiasco (see also here, and here, and here, among too many other sources to link.

The problems with Six Apart’s announcement of its new release and pricing structure are, as you can see, much discussed elsewhere; my main objection to the changes has less to do with their “sudden” decision to charge for MT (I’d already voluntarily donated, as it seemed to me a product worth paying for) than with the limitations being placed on the number of weblogs and authors each license allows. Yes, today’s update clarifies the reason:

Why are there limits on the number of weblogs and authors I can have on one Movable Type installation?

One of the biggest criticisms we’ve heard thus far regards the limitation on the number of weblogs allowed at each tier of the new licensing structure. Our best explanation for the tiering is that we feel a personal user who sets up weblogs for 50 of his friends should pay more for a license than one who uses only one weblog for himself.

And yes, as Liz points out in her entry, Anil has assured her that there will be an educational licensing structure that will be reasonable, making my multi-author, multi-blog class projects possibly still feasible.

But it strikes me as an odd precedent nonetheless, as if Microsoft were suddenly to start limiting the number of documents one could produce in Word on a given license.

I do understand the difference — that Word is individually (or institutionally) licensed, and that it is installed on individual users’ machines, while MT is installed on multiply accessible servers, and thus, as Mena points out, users and blogs become the most easily determined metric for pricing.

Yes, it would be complicated, but why not seek a way to focus the license around the user rather than the use? Once I, for instance, purchased my individual license, I could create as many blogs as I’d like with it, and could be added as an author to other existing blogs (and could likewise add other licensed authors to my blogs). I’m no programmer, of course, and this would probably be a nightmare to manage, but it would provide a more reasonable system of licensing. Once I’ve purchased the software, I want to be able to do whatever I want with it, subject to its own technological limitations.

However Six Apart chooses to resolve this issue, I find myself at a crossroads. I’m about to have to migrate the site anyhow, so it’s a perfect moment for a software switch and a redesign. I’m checking out Textpattern now, and will decide shortly.

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  1. Hi- followed a trackback link here from Mena Trott’s site. While you’re checking out other solutions, they’re giving away free copies of ExpressionEngine to MT converts. It’s normally $149 to $200, and it’s one awesome piece of software. You might want to give it a look. WordPress is also worth checking into.

  2. Thanks, dave. I’ve sent my email to ExpressionEngine, though I’m afraid I’m too late. And while WordPress looks great, it seems not to support multiple blogs…? Anyhow, I’m still looking for good options. Thanks again.

  3. KF, you can still use multiple blogs with WordPress, only you have to install it separately in different urls with different database suffices. People are using it with multiple blogs.