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Comments, Spam and Dollars

So I’ve been busy with work and yard work lately, so not much time to blog. That said, there’s big news comin’…. just you wait. Until then, I’ve been battling annoying comment spammers who want to promote their “wonder pill” in the obscure entries of my blog. I’ve grown tired of banning IP addresses, so I went and looked at to see if they had anything new I might use to remedy the situation. Boy, was I in for a suprise.

I’ve used MovableType for about 8 months now, with good results. I’ve played with PyBlosxom , and been impressed with it’s customizability and general Python-ness. But the web interface of MT has kept me in place, despite my documented allergy to Perl. I’ve been meaning to write a plugin for PyBlosxom which provides support for the Atom API , but haven’t had the time or motivation. I did manage to convert my photo album to PyBlosxom, and while it’s still not perfect, the entire posting process is going to be much better (from my perspective). So, long story short (too late, I know), I was suprised to see that MT has launched a new 3.0 “Developer’s Edition”. I was even more suprised to see the strong reactions to their newly announced pricing plan.

I don’t begrudge Six Apart’s desire to make money on Movable Type. They’ve obviously put quite a lot of effort into making it one of the easiest to use platforms around. While I love it when my software is free, I also don’t mind putting out for software that does what I want, how I want it (and even better if I can further hack it to my needs). I’m a programmer, and I need to eat, too.

That said, I also understand some of the reactions. Even though they’ve never attempted to disguise their licensing, Movable Type has long been easy to confuse with Open Source. And Open Source is even easier to confuse with “free” (as in Dollars). Evidence: MT is written in Perl, which is Open Source, and as such the code is by nature available. Ben and Menna were invited to present at OSCON 2002. So when you suddenly reassert (in a much more real way) your commercial nature and interests, people are naturally confused and possibly upset. I’m not sure there’s anything Six Apart could have done to prevent this; it’s sort of the nature of the beast, I think (can anyone else think of similar examples?).

Will I be shelling out for MT3? Um, no. First, my usage is so light that I still qualify for the “developer’s” edition, which is free and unsupported. But more than that, I think I want my “free” software to be truly free, if possible. So maybe I’ll write that Atom plugin for PyBlosxom so I can use any Atom-enabled client. Or maybe I’ll try WordPress . And maybe I’ll actually pay the developers of whatever Free tool I use, since that’s what I’d appreciate for my own work.

Whatever I do, it has to be soon: I can’t stand much more of the comment spam.