Movable Type 4.0 Beta Launches, Platform To Be Open Sourced

mt.pngSixApart have released a new beta version of popular blogging content management system Movable Type.

Moveable Type 4.0 is the first major release of Movable Type since MT 3.0 in 2004 and comes complete with a market disrupting announcement: SixApart will open source Movable Type before the end of the third quarter.

I spoke to SixApart’s Vice President Anil Dash prior to the launch and he explained that SixApart sees the move to an open source Movable Type as going back to SixApart’s roots.

There’s a lot of history between MT users and SixApart. Although Movable Type was never an open source platform, prior to the release of MT 3.0 many treated MT as if it was open source. The decision to enforce licensing with the release of MT 3.0 caused widespread outrage in 2004 (including rather vocally from myself) and in many ways was a tipping point that delivered WordPress from relative obscurity to being the popular blogging CMS it is today.

Dash said that commercially SixApart had no choice other than to enforce licensing at the time. However SixApart in 2007 is a thriving company with a broad suite of popular products, including TypePad, Vox and LiveJournal, and today can afford to give back to the blogging community.

The new version of Movable Type is a radical departure from previous versions.

MT4 includes more than 50 new features including a new installation and upgrade wizard, easier and more powerful template management tools that speed site development, all new default templates and themes, and a completely redesigned user interface focused on streamlining common tasks.

MT4 as social media platform allows users to turn their readers into communities through Movable Type’s new community management features, with the ability to give users the right to post, add and share rich text and media posts with photos, videos, and audio. MT4 also includes a new ratings framework that enables a variety of recommendation features.

Scalability is dramatically improved with built in support for database caching through Data::Object Driver and Memcached, incorporating technology that powers Vox, LiveJournal and TypePad, as well as Web 2.0 sites including AOL, Microsoft, Digg, Wikipedia, Craigslist and Facebook.

The new licensing model once MT 4 is opened source will be similar to MySQL, the paid version will include technical and product support from SixApart.

I have a long history with SixApart that isn’t worth repeating here. As a vocal critic previously I can now say in all honesty that a leopard can change its spots. The new version of MovableType looks wildly appealing to me as a blogger and the decision to open source the platform may well deliver broad numbers of WordPress converts back to the platform that started it all. The open sourced version of MT 4.0 will also offer a strong alternative to the millions of WordPress users who never grew up in blogging using MovableType.