Movable Type 4.0 Beta: Popular Blogging Tool To Go Open Source

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Blogging software giant Six Apart has announced the beta release of Movable Type (MT) 4.0. MT 4.0 is the first release since 2004′s MT 3.0 and brings upwards of 50 new features and a completely revamped interface.

SixApart Vice President, Anil Dash, writing on the Six Apart blog, also says that the new version will be released under the GPL, which means MT 4.0 will be open source like its main competitor, WordPress.

So far I haven’t been able to locate an exact feature list, but Dash’s post provides the following overview of the new version:

  • A completely reinvented user interface with a dashboard overview of how all of your blogs are doing
  • Support for publishing standalone pages and managing file assets and images right within MT
  • Brand-new community features like OpenID, and a built-in user registration system
  • A completely redesigned component architecture that makes MT faster and more scalable than ever before
  • And it???s going to be available in a completely open source version with its home at a completely relaunched community site that revives an old, beloved URL: movabletype.org.

Moveable Type took something of a beating in the blogosphere when version 3.0 was released and introduced all sorts of licensing and fees that led many longtime users to abandon the platform in favor of WordPress, Textpattern and other blogging software.

Obviously Six Apart is hoping to regain some of those users with the release of 4.0 and from all appearances the current beta is still very much a work in progress — Dash says that Six Apart would love to hear from users.

If you’re a Movable Type user and and you’d like to test the new version, grab a copy from the Movable Type site and be sure to use the feedback form if you have suggestions or feature ideas.

While it’s good to see Six Apart moving in a new direction and embracing open source, from the limited information that’s available regarding the new release, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that WordPress doesn’t already offer. While OpenID support is nice and the redesigned interface looks to offer some slick new stats and other options, there doesn’t seem to a particular “killer feature” designed to win over former users.

While the update will no doubt be welcomed by current users, there isn’t much to entice new users to switch from their existing platforms.

The beta version of Movable Type 4.0 is free and the final release will be free for personal use with support and commercial licenses ranging from $50 for basic support to a whooping $750 for a 20 seat commercial license.

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