The MovableType 3 Fiasco | Localtype

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The MovableType 3 Fiasco

Originally written on: August 16, 2004 at 8:17 pm

Last Updated: August 16, 2004 at 8:17 pm


Originally I posted this to a weblog long since forgotten. It seems it has been quoted in several places, so I wanted to preserve the original entry here. The only changes are for punctuation and formatting. Below is the entire comment, posted before SixApart changed their licensing scheme.

UPDATE I have tracked down my original post. Below is the much expanded original post as seen here:

6A needs to get paid. I don’t think anyone disputes that. People also need to realise that 6A is no longer “Ben and Mena”. It’s a full-fledged VC funded company with offices around the world.

When 6A became VC funded, a very radical change occurred. The VC, because they are the ones fronting the money, are the ones calling the shots. Don’t be fooled by Mena’s posts. TypeKey, TypePad, the MT3 Licensing, and the lack of communication are all influenced by the VC. That’s just what happens when you become funded. That is the entire point. Other people give you huge chunks of money so they can make more money.

6A probably signed a deal that told the VC that they will get X% return on investment in T time (where X is large, and T is small). How do you do that? Usually it involves doing things you wouldn’t normally do to customers or a community you are a part of. The licensing scheme is the obvious result. If they didn’t do this, the VC people would probably be able to sell the whole shebang to a large company and sack Mena and Ben without batting an eyelash.

I’ve done the VC thing several times. It’s all the same. If VC didn’t want a return on their investment, they would call it a hand out.

So to sum up:

Someone above mentioned that 6A has been hashing out this licensing scheme for months. Well, I am not convinced. Even if the prices were reasonable (I don’t think they are, even for non-personal use), they aren’t even close to being complete/exhaustive. You would think that after months of prep, they would have considered a situation where you would need more than 20 authors, or an install on a machine that has more than one CPU.

The 6A team rocks on the whole Perl thing. Their mad skills cannot be denied. But, as far as simple business acumen, they get a failing grade.

And of course, no one has even touched on what this will do to the whole plug-in developer community.




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