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WordPress goes Enterprise (SixApart cries in dark corner)

WordPress goes Enterprise (SixApart cries in dark corner)

In a not so surprising move, WordPress is going enterprise with a special version being offered by KnowNow and Automattic. The special enterprise version will be sold by KnowNow and is called KnowNow WordPress Enterprise Edition. This version will focus on the needs of companies:

About KnowNow WordPress Enterprise Edition
The new KnowNow WordPress Enterprise Edition will offer enterprises a comprehensive authoring solution that includes a powerful new platform for open communications and information management. With the addition of WordPress, KnowNow offers enterprises a platform to build their customer-facing presence in the blogosphere, or an internal platform behind their own firewall to support interactive employee communication. The solution enables authoring of content that leverages the RSS format, meaning enterprises can speed the delivery of critical information to employees, partners, or customers.

WordPress is an open source blogging software, so these features should actually be made available to the community, right? So far no comments from the Automattic guys.

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This is of course good news for Automattic, but indeed bad news for SixApart, who has been relatively undisturbed in the commercial blogging niche. No more, so beware’€¦

View Comments (29)
  • WordPress is an open source blogging software, so these features should actually be made available to the community, right?
    Ha! Another open source tool going the double license path. Or not yet?
    Thord did you actually check in the same way if WPMU has the same features as WordPress.com ?
    Anyway it was just a matter of time. I wonder if the recent acquisition of BlogSmith by AOL, and especially Brian Alvey’s statement on AOL’s plans have rushed today’s announcement?

  • I have no ideas how much of WordPress.com that has gotten straight into WordPress MU, but the core is there to say the least. Hence the questions. ;)

    And yeah, I’d reckon the Blogsmith happenings have something to do with this, although I would have expected it sooner anyway.

  • it’s interesting, given that the name of the site is “The Blog Herald”, I’d think you’d be in favor of anybody who wants to grow the number of people and companies blogging, while staying true to the medium. Instead, you’d like to present the whole thing as a zero-sum-game.

    I think there’s room for everybody to succeed — some will focus on niches or their own areas of expertise, and in the case of Six Apart, we’re trying to grow blogging in all of its forms, from personal to professional. Maybe you think KnowNow is a more authentic, true supporter of blogging and that they care about the medium. But I suspect not.

    If you understood the basics of how this kind of software market works, I think you’d recognize that having more good options in a market strengthens the position for all of them. Instead, you wrote a post that reveals your own ignorance about not just the market you’re covering, but also reveals your willingness to look a fool in service of a corporation that, frankly, isn’t going to go out of its way to do anything for you.

    During his tenure at the Blog Herald, even Duncan realized that Six Apart bashing was (1) boring (2) inaccurate and (3) not that useful in drawing readers. I hope you’l learn the same lesson, but until then, we’ll be here in this corner along with our millions of users, helping new people start blogging.

  • “Another open source tool going the double license path. Or not yet?”

    Not at all, I personally don’t like dual licensing. Everything we do is GPL or more free (freer?) to the core.

    You can read more about the enterprise announcement here:

    http://toni.wordpress.com/2006/11/20/knownow-wp-enterprise-blogging/

    Notably, this line:

    “KnowNow plans to be active in the WordPress community and release their enterprise improvements as open source (they are looking to hire WordPress experts who know enterprise software, please contact me if you are interested).”

    We wouldn’t choose a partner who wasn’t fully on board with Open Source as much as Automattic is.

    Of course the proprietary competitors to WP are going to use the same FUD tactics that Microsoft used to use against Linux, but I’ve gotten used to that sort of thing.

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mahatma Gandhi

  • You seem to imply that its all over for Six Apart in the
    enterprise, but don’t go into any detail to explain your
    opinions.

    The WordPress move into the enterprise was expected if not long overdue. I wouldn’t argue that WordPress has become a very successful and attractive tool for personal weblog publishing. What I don’t see in this news or your post is how this move guarantees WordPress’ success over Six Apart that they should “[cry] in dark corner.”

    I’ve worked in or for corporate IT for nearly 17 years now and there are significant cultural and political issues at work in the enterprise that can’t be taken for granted. These issues have little to do with software and everything to do with how the company presents itself to that market and then backs it up. In this regard I see WordPress and KnowHow as being unproven to make any judgement.

    BTW: It’s Six Apart — two words. If you are going to take shots at a company you should at least spell their name correctly.

  • “Of course the proprietary competitors to WP are going to use the same FUD tactics that Microsoft used to use against Linux, but I’ve gotten used to that sort of thing.”

    I don’t see any really proprietary competitors out there, I see a lot of companies that, like Automattic, have some stuff that’s open sourced and some stuff that’s not. And as Tim O’Reilly’s often indicated, open formats are as important as open source, if we’re going to make a non-proprietary checklist. I also see that, even when KnowNow had a number of actual blogging pioneers on staff, they have a history of distancing themselves from open source when convenient.

    http://a.wholelottanothing.org/2002/12/knownow_finally.html

    I hope they’ve changed, and I’d guess that Matt, you and Toni are good enough judges of character that you probably have a good sense of it. But talking about the actual history of a company isn’t FUD. Insinuating that a company that releases more open source code to more users and actually lets people outside the company make commits is “proprietary”, however, could definitely be considered FUD.

    As for Gandhi, I’m pretty sure that when my great-grandfather was working with him, they focused more on securing independence than in attacking those who were on the same side as them. I’ve been trying to learn as much from my family’s history as possible.

  • My general impression of this site is that it is a WordPress cheerleader. It runs on WordPress, and seldom misses a chance to take a whack at Six Apart.

    Perhaps you are projecting the experience of using MT and WP in the personal blogging space onto the rather different corporate and enterprise arena. That would be unwise.

    Now, I run a little personal site on WordPress. But, if I was going to set up an internal blogging system at an organization that was big enough to have a real IT department, I’d certainly look at Movable Type. I’d also invite someone to come in and pitch WordPress. But, I’d be cognizant of that fact that WordPress-in-the enterprise has, as of yet, no track record. That fact that the software works and is used by a host of personal bloggers is largely inconsequential for any business looking for blogging tools and support. Bloggers don’t have the same requirements and interests, and have decidedly less at stake.

    I’ve concluded that MT gets a bad rap from so many bloggers because it is often an ill-fit for a shared hosting environment. Once a static-based MT site reaches some threshold number of files, a rebuild will consume enough server resources that it triggers the inevitable reaper daemon that typically runs on shared servers.

    That doesn’t happen to WP users (unless they get enough traffic that they max out their slice of MySQL). As a result, bloggers who don’t have a clue about what’s really happening on their shared server simply decide MT is broken. It isn’t broken, but running it in static-mode for a personal blog of more than a certain size might not be the way to go. (I like MT, so if someone can counter that assertion, I’d welcome it. But, there seem to be a lot of people complaining about rebuilds failing and triggering those 500 messages.)

    It should be obvious, but businesses big enough to have an IT department don’t run things on rent-by-the-month shared server space.

    Here are two things I’d like to see Six Apart do with MT. One is easy, one is difficult.

    First, clean up the default CSS file that ships with MT 3.3. It’s something of a mess. I understand the reason for all those div’s, wrappers, and inner-this and inner-that. But what’s all that photo code doing in there? Why’s there “Vicksburg II” code? Why is their “experimental code?” “TypeList” code? (Isn’t that for TypePad?) I’m not a pro, but I know my way around CSS, and working with that file is a pain.

    Second — but only if 6A is still interested in the personal blogging market (such as it is) — find a way to run more efficiently on a shared server. That probably means something besides CGI. Given 6A’s investment in their current MT engine, that seems unlikely.

    My own assumption is that 6A has looked at the personal blogging space and decided there is no money to be made there trying to sell software. Selling blogging capability — TypePad — is a different matter altogther.

  • Anil,
    There is nothing in this post that either attacks nor defends the decision to make the enterprise edition of WordPress. I personally am all in favor of any business venture that the WordPress guys (hi Matt!) take that will contribute to the community, as well as rake in some cash so that the development can be continued in a serious fashion.

  • My general impression of this site is that it is a WordPress cheerleader. It runs on WordPress, and seldom misses a chance to take a whack at Six Apart.

    This site is also owned by a corporation that runs both WordPress and Movable Type. I also don’t tell my writers what to write about – that’s entirely up to them.

    Do I prefer WordPress? Yes.

    Does that bias my writing? Yes.

    At least I’m open about it.

    Matt

  • “Does that bias my writing? Yes.”

    If your preference for WordPress admittedly colors what you write about it and its competitors, why should I take what you write at face value?

    To argue that you make no effort to ensure that your personal opinion doesn’t sway your journalism is, to me, an admission of cheerleading.

  • > There is nothing in this post that either attacks nor defends the decision to make the enterprise edition of WordPress.

    Thord: Anil works for Six Apart and was obviously commenting based on the really unnecessary and childish pot shot used the title. His point is that having options in a growing nascent market like enterprise blogging is good for both companies. There is more then enough to go around right now that there we needn’t waste energy in a zero sum game of of trading insults. No one in the MT community is taking pot shots at WordPress or Automattic for their move into the enterprise.

  • Depends how you look at cheerleading. We are all cheerleaders one way or another?
    Being open and honest about it great though. Yes the site runs on WP, it used to run on MT. No big deal there. WP put out a wee bit of news that excites some users that SixApart will have a bit of competition. I’m glad to see Automattic move into the entertprise realm a bit more. I think its great. Competition is always good for markets.

    That’s what I’m for. I’m also for seeing how many posts about SixApart that Anil doesn’t comment at. I haven’t found one yet.

  • (Photo)Matt, I hadn’t read Toni’s entry when I commented here.
    I have no problem with a clearly defined double license, like it is the case with Akismet, or Expression Engine just to name a competitor.
    I won’t go more into detail, but personally I wouldn’t mind pledging into a solidarity fund for WP or even pay for a professional license if I would make a nice paper every month from my blog.
    And I am sure this would benefit the community as well. Especially knowing how engaged for the WP community Automattic is.

    Oh boy, people will hate me even more after this comment.

    But the timing was weird (Blog Smith) and KnowNow hadn’t made any statement about a commitment to the WP community.

  • I agree open formats are important, but they really only provide the illusion of security rather than the true freedom that Open Source software guarantees. Generally as long as a format isn’t binary gibberish, it’s good enough for end-user portability, as MT’s export file is a good example of.

    I can’t really comment on KnowNow open sourcing something they hadn’t before in 2002. To be honest I was in high school at the time. I don’t even know if the same people are still at the company, but we all make mistakes and perhaps their previous OS experience is why they chose to make it explicit that all their contributions will be GPL from the start.

    Very cool that your great-grandfather worked with Gandhi, you must have heard some amazing stories growing up.

  • Timothy said:
    “Anil works for Six Apart and was obviously commenting based on the really unnecessary and childish pot shot used the title. His point is that having options in a growing nascent market like enterprise blogging is good for both companies. There is more then enough to go around right now that there we needn’t waste energy in a zero sum game of of trading insults. No one in the MT community is taking pot shots at WordPress or Automattic for their move into the enterprise.”

    I’m all in favor of competition, that’s always good and I’m sure this move will push SixApart forward, just as the launch of Vox is sure to make its competitors think about new features. That’s all good, I haven’t said anything else.

    However, if you are trying to convince me that SixApart cheers this move, and not thinks about how it will affect their business, then you’re on a fool’s errand. What kind of company wouldn’t get a little nervous when an open source alternative with a strong community moves into its sphere? Come on, of course they are worried about how this will affect them, that’s only natural and healthy. If they’re not, well, then they’re just stupid.

    As for the so called pot shot, well, no, I have no comment for that really. Perhaps I have developed tough skin or something, but I don’t feel like changing it because although SixApart probably isn’t literally crying in a dark corner, they might on a more symbolic level? What do I know, I still can’t believe someone reacted to it in such a fanboyistic way!

  • I look at cheerleading as something to avoid if you want to be taken seriously as a source for information. “Cheerleading” is just another word for trumpeting your biases instead of suppressing them. Example: Slashdot.

  • What kind of company wouldn’t get a little nervous when an open source alternative with a strong community moves into its sphere?

    One that realises that the Enterprise blogging market is currently small enough that two companies actively promoting the concept is likely to benefit both?

  • Adsm,
    No matter if there are possible gains from a little competition (raising awareness and all that), the established company being challenged should indeed be nervous – they’ve got the most to lose.

  • I can’t agree. Nervousness would suggest that they believed that they had an inferior product. Any business with the smallest iota of commercial sense will know that they will never be able to operate unchallenged in any space. Nervousness would only be the result of a palpably weak offering from themselves, or a notable better offering from the competitor. Nothing indicates that this is the case here.

  • I am very open about my biases when I write here – and elsewhere.

    I prefer WordPress. I used to prefer Movable Type. Ask David – we used to have some nasty arguments about this in the past.. he was right, I was wrong.

    That doesn’t mean that I dislike Six Apart anymore than I dislike Userland (the first blog platform I was using was Radio Userland).. but I do believe, and continue to believe, that WordPress is a better blogging platform for what we need here at BlogMedia, Inc.

    Now convince me otherwise..

    Matt

  • Adam,
    I think you’re reading a bit more in “nervous” here than I am. Of course they should be nervous, they don’t know how good the new product is going to be, and what support the massive WordPress community might lend it one way or the other. That doesn’t mean that they’re degrading their own product in any way, and neither should they, but to just ignore the fact that they just got a competitor with this support, and this great open source product to build from, well, that’s just plain stupid. Of course they’re nervous, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

  • Thord,

    I think you’re confusing “concerned” with “nervous”.

    “Nervous” implies a degree of threat that “concerned” doesn’t, and frankly, given that you’ve headlined this with “Six Apart cries in a dark corner”, I think you’re being slightly disingenuous. You certainly seem to think that this product is a major threat to Six Apart’s business, but have failed to justify that. I was merely pointing out that any business niche has space for at least two companies and history shows that in a small, but growing market, those two companies can often benefit both businesses, until saturation point is reached.

    Cheerleading WordPress does not necessitate running down the competition you know…

  • Adam,

    I’m not disagreeing with you that there is room for several ventures, but I am saying that Six Apart should be nervous. Yes, nervous. They might lose a lot of money to this new competitor, or they might not. Time will tell. While the niche might grow with another prominent venture, it doesn’t necessary mean that Six Apart will grow with it. Again, time will tell.

    As for cheerleading, well, that’ll be your opinion. If you don’t think Six Apart should be nervous about this, well, perhaps that means you’re cheerleading for their team? I don’t care, really, since I feel I’ve made my point clear. Read it any way you want.

  • I’m certainly not cheerleading for Six Apart. while we’re Movable Type Enterprise users at the moment, the second that Word Press Enterprise (or any other product) becomes more suitable for our needs, we’ll switch without hesitation.

    It’s just that, as a business journalist for the past decade, I dislike puff pieces masquerading as news on a site that claims to be a news blog. You obviously feel differently…

  • I love all the comments here. Suddenly readers don’t accept a degree of bias (although nervous doesn’t sound that biased to me, especially not knowing that KnowNow has several Top1000 clients and WordPress rocks the blogging boat right at the moment. I’ld even write that WPEE could become a major threat to Six Apart/MT).

    Honestly, every media, news paper has a certain degree of bias. Every editor has. No matter if online or offline.
    I don’t think Matt/Blog Herald would hire someone who’s ideas they don’t like, but another news paper might hire that same person.

    I can only conclude in this way :
    Matt & Co.,

    congrats! Obviously The Blog Herald has made it!
    People criticize you more and more. Jealousy? No idea, but continue the way you are doing right now.

    Critics & haters are the best validation you can have. :)

  • I’ve always had haters – that’s fine, it’s their birthright.

    Everything we do here gets criticized ;) I had someone tell us we needed more snark and someone tell us that we needed to be more professional.

    I’ll note that both of those someones have seen their own blog businesses fail this year – while we continue on our path of world domination :)

    I’ll continue to move down a path consistent with where my heart lies – validated with my head.. the haters can keep on hating.

    Matt

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