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freedom zero mark pilgrim text
Movable Type has never been Free Software, as defined by the Free Software
Foundation. It has never been open source software, as defined by the Open
Source Initiative. Six Apart survived and thrived in the blogging community
because Movable Type was “free enough.”
Many people misunderstand
Free Software and the GNU General Public License. Many people equate the GPL to
the boogeyman, because it’s “viral”, and that sounds like a bad thing.
Here’s what viral licensing means: GPL software has the restrictions that it
has, and that’s it. The GPL is quite restrictive on developers, not at all on
end users. (More on that in a minute.) Regardless, GPL software has the
restrictions that it has, but it can never become more restrictive. An upgrade
can’t take away freedoms that I enjoyed with an older
Freedom 0 is the freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
WordPress gives me that freedom; Movable Type does not. It never really did, but
it was “free enough” so we all looked the other way, myself included. But
Movable Type 3.0 changes the rules, and prices me right out of the market. I do
not have the freedom to run the program for any purpose; I only have the limited
set of freedoms that Six Apart chooses to bestow upon me, and every new version
seems to bestow fewer and fewer freedoms. With Movable Type 2.6, I was allowed
to run 11 sites. In 3.0, that right will cost me $535.
WordPress is Free
Software. Its rules will never change. In the event that the WordPress community
disbands and development stops, a new community can form around the orphaned
code. It’s happened once already. In the extremely unlikely event that every
single contributor (including every contributor to the original b2) agrees to
relicense the code under a more restrictive license, I can still fork the
current GPL-licensed code and start a new community around it. There is always a
path forward. There are no dead ends.
Movable Type is a dead end. In the long
run, the utility of all non-Free software approaches zero. All non-Free software
is a dead end.
This site now runs WordPress. Thanks to the wonderful people
on the #wordpress
It’s not about who has a right to make a living
(everyone does); it’s not about how nice Ben and Mena are (I’ve met them,
they are very nice); and it’s certainly not about eating. I’ve taken the
$535 that Movable Type would have cost me, and I’ve donated it to the
WordPress developers.
It’s not about money; it’s about freedom.
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Thanks for copy/pasting this here, Matt.

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