Noise Level Is Pretty Shrill

13 May 2004

At 7:22 a.m. this morning, I posted something about the new Developer Edition of Movable Type 3.0. What I had not seen at that time was the pricing.

Tonight, I realize there has been a (rather) large outcry about the prices. Some are also ranting that there is any charge at all. This is something I’ve never understood about the software business. What made people think that Movable Type would be free forever? If I mow the lawns of three neighbors for the first month of the summer, is it reasonable for them to assume/expect that I’ll be mowing for free for the rest of the summer?

My questions had nothing to do with the prices, though perhaps they should have. Rather, I’m concerned about the mixed signals over the past few months. It sounds like the messages from a company that is simply growing too fast.

Clearly, if 100,000 people paid the price today, Six Apart won the software lottery. I don’t really think that happened. For me the bigger issue is one of what tool to count on. I’ve been trying (frantically) to learn Movable Type along with CSS, XHTML and web standards. Lately, I’ve heard from several people that many of my validation problems are a result of something inside Movable Type and not something I’ve been doing in my markup. All the problems aren’t due to the tool, but some of them are.

As much as I like WordPress’s early press, I’ve always been concerned about the sustainability of a software product that is free. I’d feel much better if someone or some company found a way to add value to the open source, charge a nominal fee and create a viable business around the product.

I don’t like the fact that a visit to doesn’t give you a clear path to the pricing. Go to and you can find the pricing, but the link takes you back to a page at at These seem like small things, but they don’t come across too well from a company announcing its first round of pricing.

I hate to think of changing content management products. I would not change over money. I will change if I believe I can learn more by moving my weblog(s) to a different tool supported by different people who are committed to teaching and furthering web standards!

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  1. dave    14 May 2004, 05:54    #

  2. Vincent    14 May 2004, 08:02    #

  3. Vincent    14 May 2004, 08:06    #