Movable Type Monday: Considering Security and Beta Test Updates

Filed as Features on April 14, 2008 4:55 am

The primary focus of activity this week was around the Movable Type Open Source (MTOS) 4.15 beta test and the release of the second beta release. Before we dive into that information however, I thought I’d address one of the hot topics of the last week.

Welcome to Movable Type Monday!

MTOS Security

Reflecting on Movable Type’s security history, MT4 was released on August 15, 2007 and before the next feature release (MT 4.1) saw two security releases. The first (MT 4.01) was released just over a month later and was more a bug-fix release, fixing only one security bug that was discovered during a normal quality assurance process. As a result, MT 4.01 was recommended but not mandatory. There were no known exploits for the one security bug fixed with v4.01. On the other hand, the second bug fix was MT 4.01a which came 116 days after v4.01. This was a mandatory release that addressed a potential security issue. Once again, there were no known Movable Type users who had been affected by this issue. And, although MT 3 was no longer officially supported, Six Apart chose to release MT 3.36 in order to patch an older version of MT which suffered from the same issue.

Since MT 4.1 (and with it MTOS 4.1) was released in January, there have been no security releases nor any known exploits (further confirmed by scanning the changelogs for the MT 4.15 beta which lists no security changes).

As we can see, Movable Type has had a proven, trustworthy security track record. Few exploits have been found to date and when they have, they have been patched quickly.

Talk to the Team

A lesser known aspect of the MTOS community is the bi-weekly phone calls that Six Apart hosts, every other Wednesday. Although the wiki page hasn’t yet been updated, by my calculations, the next call should be this coming Wednesday (April 16). The agenda of the bi-weekly phone calls varies greatly but, it is none-the-less a great way to engage in discussion with Six Apart and other members in the MTOS community on the direction and future of the product.

Conference Number: 1-712-432-3000
Bridge Number: 353177

If you’re unable to call in, a podcast is usually available in a few days!

MTOS 4.15 Beta Test

Beta 2: The second beta version of MT4.15 was released late this week. On carefully perusing the changelog, we see that besides a long list of bug fixes, there are also a few features hidden in this release:

  • Clone a template with one click
  • Republish a template with one click from the template listing (a oft-requested feature!)
  • Sort entry listings by the number of comments or trackbacks they’ve received

Template Listing Feedback: MTOS 4.15 featured a number of updates to the backend administration interface. One of these updates was to the template listing screen which now displayed all the templates together (rather than under different tabs or behind different filters as MT3.x and MT4.0 did respectively). This change triggered a discussion on the MTOS-dev mailing list with members debating scaling this new listing (would it start to get unwieldily with a large number of templates?) as well as the nomenclature used with the various different publishing methods MTOS 4.15 now supports.

Release Date: While by no means set in stone, Byrne Reese, the product manager of Movable Type at Six Apart, has posted a tentative release date of mid-to-late May to the mailing list (and updated the Roadmap page on the wiki).

Living on the Bleeding Edge: I thought that this beta test would also be the perfect opportunity to highlight how to live on the bleeding edge of MTOS development. Automated nightly builds are of course available but lets take this up a notch. How can you get the source? A trac has been setup which allows you to browse through the source code in an easy way as well as get a list of updates to the code. This page in the documentation explains how to actually check out the source code from the repository whilst this entry on the MTOS blog highlights some of the nuances of the MTOS code repository. Check it out!

MTOS Community News

Debian Package: Byrne Reese published an interview with Dominic Hargreaves, the author of the Debian MTOS package that I highlighted last week. Dominic talks about why Debian is his preferred distribution and what he likes and would improve with MTOS.

Documentation Updates: This week also some updates to the documentation. A new page details the magic variables in archive templates and many template tag pages were updated to be more detailed and include more examples. To stay up-to-date with MTOS documentation, subscribe to the changelog.

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  1. By Dan Wolfgang posted on April 16, 2008 at 10:05 am
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    Awesome update, Arvind, thanks.

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