MovableType 4 Beta Released and Goes Open Source!

MovableType 4

SixApart has just announced the release of MovableType 4 Beta. Many have known MT as the definitive blogging software that has forever changed the way people blog.

Beyond WordPress

Those who are well-versed with the history of blogging will know that the boom did not start with WordPress. The first wave came with MovableType. Few blog software were as easy to customize, and this attracted a large following.

Movable Type was once the darling of the blogosphere, especially from its original launch in 2001 to about 2004 (when licensing issues upset many bloggers). Since 2004/05, many bloggers have migrated to the open source WordPress – and perhaps of more concern, a lot of third party developers transferred their efforts from MT to WordPress

Source: Read/Write Web

What’s New With MT?

The latest version of MovableType will include a completely revamped user interface, improved scalability, and over 50 new features like tagging, widgets, as well as static pages and media management. It looks like SixApart wants its blog software to provide more uses than straight-up blogging, which WordPress has managed to do.

MT Goes Open Source

Perhaps the most important part of SixApart’s announcement is that an open source version of MovableType will be released at MovableType.org (under the GPL).

This is big. Being open source is one WordPress’ greatest assets and is one of the biggest reasons it gained the following that outshines MT today.

Also, most professional blogs out there—whether under a blog network or not—have taken advantage of the cost-effectiveness of WordPress. Its open source license had a lot to do with that.

MT Goes Social

MovableType serves a well-defined purpose for a well-defined market: ultra-flexible yet no-frills blogging for the expert blogger. Yet SixApart’s more social blog services, LiveJournal and Vox, provide proof that adding social (community- and relationship-oriented) features opens up new possibilities in the blogging context, aside from making it a lot more interesting and “human”. MovableType 4 will soon join this social shift:

MT4 has been re-designed and re-architected as a platform to address their needs while providing a basis to build social networking features that re-define the scope of blogging.

Source: SixApart Press Release

I’m personally curious how well these features will be put to use by the MT users/audience.

More to Come

SixApart says this announcement is just the first of several that will cover new products and services for for MT4. Shall I stay tuned? Definitely. I’m genuinely interested in how MovableType’s open source version will compete with WordPress’ own and how new developments in blog software will reshape this industry once more. Never a dull moment in blogging, it seems!

You can download the beta version of MT4 at MovableType.org.