Six Apart has announced that they will be releasing their Movable Type blogging platform as open source later on this year. This is a major move by the company which made a poor decision in the past when they heavily enforced their MT 3.0 license and which gave rise to WordPress to become a major player in the blogging platform arena, and arguably, the CMS world.
Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0 has posted his thoughts on how he thinks the battle between WordPress and Movable Type will play out, now that both will soon be open sourced. WordPress has really taken a strong foothold and has now become the blogging platform of choice among millions of users worldwide.
When I first started blogging (way back, even way before the oldest post in my current blog’s archives), I jumped between using Blogger, Movable Type, and WordPress. I finally settled on WordPress when it was still in its infancy at version 1.0. The default theme back then was horrendous. I couldn’t stand it, but I still stuck with it because I thought WordPress suited me best, especially since I was a PHP developer back then and WordPress is written in PHP, an extremely popular web programming language, so it would have been easy for me to change things to suit my own needs.
Over time, WordPress has evolved, and it definitely shows in its default theme, its functionality, and a lot of new things that are implemented in the application’s backend.
Whenever I hear ‘open source’, I often imagine something that’s made well, but that looks really bad. When you’ve got a group of developers building an app, it’s not easy to unilaterally decide on a design that looks well, so you usually end up with an application that has a lot of functionality but that lacks in the design department. An excellent example of this is Azureus. For what it lacks in its design, it makes up in features.
WordPress is the first open source application that I’ve encountered that, finally, looks as though it was made by a small company. It is a polished application, it looks great, and it’s not too heavy on the features that it offers. A lot of this can be attributed to Matt Mullenweg, the project’s founder, and so I tip my hat off to him.
In my opinion, there’s going to be no showdown between WordPress and Movable Type. The battle ended when WordPress opened up its hosted blogging platform, WordPress.com, and when it released WordPress 2.0. Other applications such as Blogger, LiveJournal, and TypePad will still play significant roles in the blogging world, but in the open source blogging platform arena, WordPress is already king.