MovableType Madness

, May 20, 2004

Phil Ringnalda dissects MovableType’s license agreement (I wonder - did he do this with the license agreement of all the other software he’s using?). Mark Pilgrim’s post on his switching from MT to Wordpress gets translated into different languages. All over the weblogging world, people are switching from MT to something else, write bitter posts about SixApart’s evilness, how they’ve been betrayed … have all of them gone completely nuts?

Seeing the reaction of the blogosphere, just because somebody wants to make money with a good product, will kill many good product ideas, simply because nobody will want to deal with this crap.

On May 21, 2004 7:30 AM, Phil Ringnalda said:

No, I didn’t and won’t read every word of the licenses for all the software I use. Of all the strange and terrible things to do, I use Outlook Express for email (locked down, and demoronized, thank you), because I just don’t care about email. I use Windows because it works with the cheap hardware I have, and there’s rarely a program I want to run that isn’t available for it. In both cases, if MS did something to the license to make it impossible for me to use anymore, I really wouldn’t care. Happy to have a reason to move on. Or, if I’m violating the license using it in what I think is a reasonable way, I don’t much care about that, either.

But there are things I do care about: PuTTY (“you may do any damn thing you want, as long as it isn’t suing us because it didn’t work like you expected”), HTMLKit (“you may do anything other than redistribute it, and don’t sue us”), and Firefox (“you may do about anything, and if you sue us you’ll be very very sorry”). The MPL is insanely tangled, thanks to its history with Netscape, but the effective meaning is pretty well known. The other two? PuTTY is completely and utterly free, HTMLKit isn’t, but they both very simply and clearly state the minimum that you can and can’t do, include the minimum boilerplate to cover themselves, and that’s it.