Six Apart Responds to the MT3 Kerfluffle
So I got a nice e-mail from Six Apart today explaining that they’d heard the complaints regarding their licensing scheme for the new Movable Type 3.0 Developer Edition, and were making some changes to address them. They’ve got a summary of the changes on their corporate blog.
Here’s what they’ve decided to do:
- Increase the number of authors allowed in the personal license. One of the biggest complaints people had was that the less expensive personal license didn’t accommodate the “group blog” scenario, where you have many authors contributing to a single blog, very well. To address this, Six Apart are increasing the max number of allowed authors under this license from three to five.
- Offer inexpensive “Personal Edition Add-on Packs”. These packs will let you add one new blog and one new author to your license, and will only cost $10. That way users of the personal edition who have many blogs/authors can get compliant without having to get into the (much more expensive) corporate licensing.
- Making their licensing terms more generous. They’ve changed the definition of “Weblog” for licensing purposes to “a single Web site viewable at a single URL (Uniform Resource Locator), consisting of one or more weblogs as generated by the Software via the ‘Create New Weblog’ function of the Software.” This is important because many people use multiple MT “blogs” in unison to put together a single site — now those people can cover all those blogs under one license. They’ve also clarified that blogs and authors that haven’t been active in the last 90 days don’t count towards your total for licensing purposes.
- Strike the per-CPU licensing. Apparently this was not supposed to be in the final version of the license, so they’ve removed it and made it clear that the change is retroactive (in case you downloaded a copy of MT3 with the offending language).
- Post a FAQ. That’s what the post I linked to above on their blog essentially is. This is always a good idea.
These are all welcome changes, and it’s good to see Six Apart taking the reaction to their initial announcement constructively and using the feedback to find ways to improve their offering (rather than just seeing it as whiny users who won’t pay for software). But none of them address one of my main concerns with their licensing scheme, which was that it was just too complex — especially for personal/hobbyist users.
In fact, these changes, in some ways, just add complexity to the terms. Now I can get more realistic pricing, but I’ve got to deal with “Weblog” meaning one thing in the software and and another thing in the licensing terms, and figure out how many add-on packs I need to buy to get in compliance, and watch my blogs to see if any that haven’t been used recently suddenly sputter to life so I know if I need to pay up for them too…
I’d almost rather just pay a flat fee — even if it’s more expensive — if it meant I could use the software without having to become a part-time accountant at the same time.
(Of course, I can do that by plumping for one of the higher-end personal licenses, which come with more blogs/authors/etc. out of the box… but then I’m back to paying $100+, like I was before this announcement. And I still have to watch my usage in those cases — where is the über-expensive Personal License with no limits on the number of blogs or authors?)
So — it’s good to see them reacting to people’s feedback. They seem to be addressing some of the common concerns. I just wish they could find a way to do so that didn’t require all this creeping complexity.