Let’s try and walk in Six Apart’s shoes for a moment

I have been thinking over the past 24 hours what it must be like to be in Six Apart’s office today. As I pondered that I thought back over the past 2 years.

As Movable Type users we have had a pretty great deal, many of us have had essentially free software for the past 2 plus years. I personally donated money to help support their transition from their bedroom office. To see them launch a company realizing in which they now have to pay payroll, electricity, rent, server cost etc.

My initial reaction to the whole licensing issue was wrong and I am going to be a big boy and reverse my initial assessment on the whole deal. The reason I am going to reverse myself is I have tried to put myself in their shoes and have come to the conclusion that they are a young company that is striving hard to do the right thing and possibly underestimated the passion that a lot of us have for this software package.

That being said as I read thru the trackbacks to Mena

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14 thoughts on “Let’s try and walk in Six Apart’s shoes for a moment

  1. I paid for the lowest personal license, because I’m enough of a geek that I wanted to play with it right NOW, and because I like MT, and I have no problem supporting Six Apart by paying for something I use.

    I’m not thrilled with the pricing tiers, but I also understand that this is their first attempt at real pricing, and since they gave credits for donations, it was worth paying for.

    But….I’ve switched the one collaborative blog I have to WordPress, at least for now.

    Really liked your thoughts.

  2. To the general public – you all should be ashamed of yourselves. All free software costs the authors *something* to make, yet you huff and puff about how you’re getting screwed because they would like to see some sort of compensation for their work.

    You want it for free? Boot up Visual Studio and write it for yourself, if you can!

    If you are unable to write replacement software for yourself, you are in no position to complain about software pricing, since you lack the skills to make what you want for yourself. The only free software in the world is the `ware you code on your own.

    All software authors provide you, the user public, with a service. It costs them time. It costs them endless hours of stress. It costs them money, And it takes them away from their families to create software that You, Joe User, doesn’t want to pay for. Looks like Joe User needs a reality check.

    To all the people who have lashed out in a negative way about this topic, you are saying in unison that you are all cheap, and consider the developers time to be worthless. You showed just how self-centered you can get.

    Some of you feel betrayed, mutter things like “2 1/2 years of being a faithful user, and this is what I get” or “You guys suck, charging for software that has been free for 2 years”…No dammit. YOU suck, you cheap bastards. Do you really consider yourselves to be that important to the world that you deserve everything for free? Is your gasoline Free? Are your daily meals Free? How about the car you drive to work in? Your Broadband Connection? The blue jean you pull on in the morning? Oh I see…You pay for those things…Go figure, so do the developers of Movable Type!

    Quit being so cheap and ante up.


  3. i’m quit using MT
    they’re suck, there’re still many GNU blog and has many more features than MT3.0D

    suck especially to force us to register with the typekey
    and guess what after registered:
    An error occurred:
    DBD::mysql::st execute failed

    MT3 LMAO and suck! ;)

  4. I think Six Apart handled this whole thing really really badly.

    Does it make them look good that they’ve removed the whole “one CPU” thing saying it was just a mistake?

    Does it make them look good that they didn’t even bother to define what a blog was before coming up with these weird licence counts?

    Does it make them look good that the licence I just clicked agreement with has the word “sever” instead of “server”? What have I signed up to do, run it on a meat cleaver?

    People have found it really confusing. Even with the clarifications, I’m still confused.

    The first thing I did? Went looking for a download of the Full-Install 2.661, just in case. I found a TAR copy online, but couldn’t find a ZIP copy.

    I gave up looking, and went to download a free version of MT 3.0D. After signing up for TypeKey, whatever the hell that is, I found that if I clicked on “My Account”, MT was still offering downloads of 2.661 as I was a registered user of it. There’s no mention of that on their website but I bet it’s a frequently-asked question.

    I’m still baffled as hell but at least I’ve got copies of it I can use in case of emergencies.

  5. I don’t think people’s reactions were in anyway stupid or unreasonable. When you restrict the number of authors you can invite to your blog that is an issue if you are asking 100$ for that software. No software I pay for limit me in such way, especially not the ones that around 100$. Furthermore, what’s MT have in it that makes it worth 100$? Some say, people were using it for 2 years without paying so they should pay. That’s fine for them, but what about those who just started blogging? What about the stupid CPU restriction (later removed)? That doesn’t sound like goodwill. Imagine Microsoft selling its Word based on the number of documents you create using it. I am a software developer, I totally support companies like SixApart, but please be reasonable, don’t put arbitrary limitations and then ask a lot of money with it.

  6. I realize they are in the game to make money, but us poor guys who are doing this just for the fun of it can’t justify upgrading at that cost. The most I could see myself spending is maybe $50. I would hate to switch because most other blogging software out there don’t seem to handle multiple blogs like MT does. I am still up in the air. If they removed that CPU restriction on the free version. I would consider it since the other blogs I host aren’t really being used anyway.

  7. um, point to Anil. I think the consensus (having read probably 70% of the trackbacks) is that most of the people who have “been kind enough to accept free software for the past two and a half years” actually have been paying all along. Once I had a live blog, I made my ‘donation’ (the language of which puts his sarcasm in an interesting light) and got my key. The Tin Ear Committee at 6A is amazing. Can we expect this kind of condescesion once our dollars are no longer considered donations? I hope so. Maybe it wil even be part of the license: “1 CPU maximum, but no limit to us insulting your intelligence.”

  8. The idea of a personal and professional license seems to make sense, but just ask Joel Spolsky about the disproportionate amount of support those personal licenses take.

    Six Apart may be better off simply forgoing the personal license alltogether and focusing on the professional one. Or charge a small annual fee for personal use and offer support ONLY through a special online forum, thus leveraging the goodwill of some developers and the community itself.

    I am not an MT user, but as a software author myself, I’ve been following this fairly closely and feel their agony over which how much to charge.

    Hey, that elastic demand curve stuff from Economics 101 is real!

  9. Agreed with everyone else – good, level headed comments and thought regarding Six Apart’s change. Asking for $$ is nothing to apologize for. Look at how many people use their software and appreciate it. It’s not wrong to want to be paid for something you’ve worked so hard on. But yes, I agree with your ideas on the restriction of authors, etc. A lot of us have guest authors who contribute to the melting pot of ideas on the web, not for profit, just for opinion and education and creativity and it would be a shame to end that. I bet a reasonable solution will be reached.

  10. Thanks a lot for your level-headed comments and for some well-thought-out suggestions. Thanks to you and other people who’ve actually taken the time to try to think through what they would do in the same situation, the mood at Six Apart’s offices today is pretty good. :)

    We’ll be updating with some more info really soon. Hopefully people who’ve been kind enough to accept free software for the past two and a half years will be patient enough to give us two and a half days to respond.

  11. Nice comments. I read you blog everyday and thought the comments yesterday were over the top. I think most of the trackbacks on Mena’s blog are insane.

    Your comments today are level headed and make more sense.

    Nice blog. 8>)

  12. I don’t use Movable Type, so this change doesn’t affect me, but here are my 2 cents:
    1) There is still a free version of MT3. There are also alternative software out there, so what is the big deal?
    2) The tiered pricing model for personal use is silly. They should have thought to create a $19.95 Personal Edition, and a $199 Professional Edition or something like that.
    3) Perhaps MT should have done a better job of preparing expectations. So if they had been warning people for weeks that pricing was coming, and gave them ballpark figures as to what to expect, the anger I am reading over this would not have happened.

    Other than that, I support any company’s right to set whatever price they wish for software. It might not make sense, but who am I to say “How dare you?” They have that right in our capitalistic society.

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