WordPress vs. Movable Type

By Daniel Scocco

As you probably know, WordPress 2.5 is about to be released. It was supposed to be live already, but the development team decided to delay it by one week or so. So far so good, except that the guys from Movable Type, a competing blogging platform, decided to play smart and published a post encouraging WordPress users to switch to their software instead of upgrading. Here is how they started the post:

As you might know, WordPress 2.5 is about to be released, and we wanted to encourage WordPress users to upgrade. To Movable Type.

The truth is, there are lots of good blogging tools out there, and they’re all good at different things. But since upgrading from older versions to WP 2.5 can mean changes to your themes, plugins (“print your plugins list”!), and site, we thought we’d take a minute to explain why it may make sense to make those changes in Movable Type instead. For those people in the blogging community who’ve never taken a look, or who haven’t seen MT in a while, you might just find some surprises.

After reading the post, Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, got a little upset and posted the following message on Twitter:

six apart is getting desperate, and dirty.

In response, Anil Dash, author of the polemic post and vice-president of Six Apart (the company behind Movable Type), posted the following message:

desperation is resorting to name-calling and slander instead of substance – if there’s a factual error, i’m glad to fix it.

Finally, Matt posted a more structured answer to the whole deal on his blog, titled WordPress is Open Source. Here is a quote with the main argument:

WordPress is 100% open source, GPL.

All plugins in the official directory are GPL or compatible, 100% open source.

bbPress is 100% GPL.

WordPress MU is 100% open source, GPL, and if you wanted you could take it and build your own hosted platform like WordPress.com, like edublogs.org has with over 100,000 blogs.

There is more GPL stuff on the way, as well. 🙂

Could you build Typepad or Vox with Movable Type? Probably not, especially since people with more than a few blogs or posts say it grinds to a halt, as Metblogs found before they switched to WordPress.

Automattic (and other people) can provide full support for GPL software, which is the single license everything we support is under. Movable Type has 8 different licenses and the “open source” one doesn’t allow any support. The community around WordPress is amazing and most people find it more than adequate for their support needs.

Movable Type, which is Six Apart’s only Open Source product line now that they’ve dumped Livejournal, doesn’t even have a public bug tracker, even though they announced it going OS over 9 months ago!

I had held off criticizing them after they went OS and before they decided to start an all-out confrontation because that’s not generally what OS projects do to each other.

What to think about all of it? You decide on your own.

Michael Arrington at TechCrunch said that “it’s generally fair game to target your competitors.” I think it depends on how you do that.

Personally, if I was Anil Dash or a member of the Movable Type team, I would focus my energies on improving the product, to the point where the users themselves would love it and want to talk about it deliberately. That is pretty much how WordPress got so popular after all, right?



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63 Responses to “WordPress vs. Movable Type”

  • Ranjan

    Good post – I never considered MovableType but may do so now. But in all fairness WordPress has been steadily improving with each version and their team seems to be quite busy upgrading regularly.

  • Peter Szabo

    WordPress is THE BEST…There is no question about it.

  • Andrew

    I think this is a totally fair tactic on MT’s part. If the roles were reversed, I bet far fewer folks would be taking issue with it. I bet few, if any, of you take issue with the Apple ads that openly mock Microsoft. This, if anything, is the same approach done in what I consider to be a more straightforward manner.

    Full disclosure, I use MT for my zoology news site, but am using WP for a new site I am currently working on.

  • Matt

    WP for me!

  • clint

    I was a dedicated MT user for quite some time. Way back when they were both pretty raw. WordPress was just a little bit less finished (I forget which version I tried – zero point something)

    But as I continued using MT, the kept bulking it up, making it less user friendly, slower and then totally killed it for me with MT4. I think they peaked at version 3.2. Everything since then has seemed like the newest version of Office.

    I recently took another look at WP. It’s definitely been cleaned up since its earliest iterations, and it works for me now. Almost all my own and my clients’ sites have been converted now.

    Sorry Anil, I guess I’m happier downgrading.

  • shared hosting solutions

    ok, i’ve tested wordpress for the last few weeks in a testfase. i must admit i’m quit suprised about the functions and the build in seo plugins. I’ve used nucleus before but i’m going to switch. thx dailyblogtips!!!

  • MaxTheITpro

    Well, looks like I’m gonna be taking the ExpressionEngine plunge folks. Been hearing some AMAZING things about it’s chameleon-like architecture plus the fact that it’s built on my favourite PHP web framework, CodeIgniter, which is sooooo easy for creating powerful, scalable web apps.

  • helva

    I’m a regular Blogger user, but it’s time to spread my wings. This nitpiking stuff is silly.

  • assembly

    good.. thx.

  • photoshop

    wow.. very good theme.. thx

  • proje

    I am use wordpress and like it.

  • ankraj

    WordPress 2.5.1 very clean and useful ..

  • güvenlik

    WordPress more useful I think..

  • ersin

    only WordPress 🙂 .

  • webhosting

    I already asked it on an other page here, but what are the examples from using wordpress vs nucleus or drupal?

  • MaxTheITpro

    I think I’m going to have to take the WP 2.5 plunge. I’m a regular Blogger user, but it’s time to spread my wings. This nitpiking stuff is silly. Give both MT and WP their props and let it be. Perhaps a year from now will be a good time to revisit WP vs MT so as to see the fruits of open sourcing.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Richard Eng

    I chose WordPress 2.3 for three of my blogging websites, and I’m very happy with it. I recently upgraded to WordPress 2.5, and it was a breeze! I must confess, I was a little afraid to upgrade, but my fears were completely unfounded.

    Regardless of MT’s pleas to switch platforms, I see absolutely no reason to even consider it. Why should I??? WordPress is fabulous. MT may be, too, though I seriously doubt it. I’ll stick with what I’ve got, thank you very much.

    MT, you are not cool. Your puerile behavior is a total turn-off!

  • New blogger

    I was looking for a platform to begin my first blog when I saw the “WordPress upgrade” thread on the Six Apart homepage. It was an interesting read, not unprecedented in the software marketing wars to take an approach like this, and began to learn about difference between the products. However, the things have convinced me that WordPress is the way to go:

    The general feedback from the blogosphere on the product differences
    The well packaged installation and rich plug-in environment of WP

    But, the biggest thing is the general arrogance and Ego which seems to pervade everything that Six Apart writes, from their own blogs, their comments in others blogs, to their website. I’d rather invest my time as part of the WP community.

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