WordPress and Movable Type founders square up over call to move to MT

Filed as News on March 12, 2008 6:29 am

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Forgive me for turning what should be a news post into personal opinion, but when the news is that the founders significant representatives of two of the world’s leading blogging platforms have resorted to personal attacks, I think it’s only fair that — as a consumer of both products in near equal measure — I have my say. You too, of course.

According to TechCrunch, it started with a blog post from Anil Dash, Chief Evangelist for Six Apart, encouraging WordPress users to “upgrade” to Movable Type because MT is a better platform.

Fair enough. Pepsi wants you to switch from Coke. Apple wants you to switch from Windows. Every car manufacturer wants you to trade in your existing model for one of theirs. It’s how business works.

What shouldn’t happen — but does in the blogging world all too frequently (and, yes, I’ve done it too) — is the start of a name-calling fest (or a mini flame war). (In fact, Anil has stated in his comment that it didn’t descend into personal name-calling — apologies for insinuating that)

Actually, like the original blog post calling for defection from WP to MT, it was all pretty lame. Photomatt twittered that “six apart is getting desperate, and dirty” while anildash retorted “desperation is resorting to name-calling and slander instead of substance — if there’s a factual error, i’m glad to fix it.”

OK, it’s hardly war of the century.

Dash even uses one of Lorelle’s Blog Herald articles to somehow prove that upgrading to Movable Type is easier than to WordPress.

Actually, that’s just good upgrade procedure. You don’t have to backup your Mac operating system to upgrade it, but it’s good practice to.

Anyway…

As someone who has used both platforms, I can categorically state that neither is without fault. Movable Type is a paid-for platform (at least, if you want the best features it is). I’d almost expect its support service to be better than a free service. It isn’t necessarily so.

Update: It’s worth noting that both Movable Type and WordPress are open source platforms, and both offer some forms of paid-for services should users require them.

MT3 was horrible (IMO). MT4 has some nice features, but they’re hardly game changers. WordPress 2.5 is, as yet, an unknown quantity, but I’ve high hopes for it.

Several MT4 blogs I work on have been having problems since we upgraded a week or so again. I can’t say that’s entirely down to the platform itself — it could be server issues — but the fact remains that neither platform is perfect, and for many bloggers, neither is significantly better than the other.

I know which platform I prefer, but a lot of that is down to familiarity and my own reliability issues. As usual, your mileage will vary.

There are bloggers moving from WordPress to Movable Type. And vice versa. And those using both. And neither. And completely different platforms.

I’ve got no problem with companies encouraging users of other products to take a look at their own, and none with open, honest debate on the pros and cons of various platforms, but perhaps it’s better to spend more time improving your own software, and letting the features speak for themselves, rather than tearing down the competition.

Like that’s going to happen?

(Via TechCrunch)

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  1. By Chris Osborne posted on March 12, 2008 at 7:24 am
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    If you switch platforms and the new one is better, then in my mind that’s an upgrade. Really though, find what the other platform has that you don’t and see if it’s something that should be added to your own.

    As for which one is better, I’ve only used WordPress so I can hardly be the judge of that.

    Reply

  2. By Anil posted on March 12, 2008 at 10:36 am
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    Andy, thanks for the post. I’d like to clarify a few points. First, Ben and Mena Trott are our founders, and they’ve been busy with other things.

    Second, there were no personal attacks in anything I wrote, and there still haven’t been. I admire Matt Mullenweg, I don’t think he’s done anything dirty, and if I ever did, I wouldn’t say that publicly because it wouldn’t serve anyone for me to do so.

    Let me be clear: Saying that you think your own product is better in some scenarios is what business is about. I’d invite anyone to compare the level of snark on, say, Apple’s “Switch” page to the degree of respect and restraint that we’ve shown. Microsoft certainly didn’t respond to that page by pointing out validation errors in the markup.

    More importantly, MT is an open-source platform. It’s both free and Free. However, you can pay us for paid add-on packs with more features and you can pay us for support. You can also pay third parties for additional plugins/packs or support. Automattic sells add-on software and services for WordPress which are not open source, as do many third parties as well. So describing one platform as being free or open without including the other is, frankly, inaccurate. Both are open source platforms where companies are making their revenues on top of proprietary extensions and additions.

    I would draw the distinction that we are at least clear about that fact of the business model of both products.

    I agree we should focus on what we do best. So far today, we’ve been part of an announcement with Apple around TypePad for iPhone, and launched the first-ever support for Yahoo’s Fire Eagle in any blogging platform. And that’s just *today*. I’m very comfortable with letting those kinds of features speak for themselves.

    Reply

  3. By Andy Merrett posted on March 12, 2008 at 11:33 am
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    Hi Anil,

    Thanks for the feedback — I’ll ensure the article is tidied up to remove the inaccuracies.

    Reply

  4. By yoshi posted on March 12, 2008 at 11:45 am
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    As a person who uses all the platforms, depending on what I am doing, I have to say that each platform is superior, depending on what you use it for. That’s my sole opinion, and I’ll stop right there. Just had to get my opinion out there. :D

    Reply

  5. By Jeremy Steele posted on March 12, 2008 at 11:50 am
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    Flat file content management system FTW!

    Heh.

    Reply

  6. By Vassil Mladjov posted on March 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm
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    Why don’t we have a contest with experts and do a showdown and find out which is the best blogging system for different use (personal, business, media, etc.)
    The test should include, installations and setup, tools, ease of use, etc, etc,

    and the verdict will be published somewhere on the web. Web 2.0 is coming and this may be fun (for some)

    Cheers,
    Vassil

    Reply

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