The End Of The Crisis

In 2007, I had what I dubbed a “crisis of blogging faith“. Movable Type, my blog tool of choice, had been stagnating on the personal blogging front, while Six Apart was making a lot of noise about the enterprise. Within a day, I had a comment from Anil Dash:

We know we’ve been, honestly, focused elsewhere as we built up all the other work we’ve been doing. But, especially with the success of the other platforms and work like MT Enterprise, it lets us focus resources on the personal version of MT.

After four years of waiting, today I gave up — and migrated to WordPress.

Rather than trying to pick through the last four years of the tool, I want to focus on three key events over the last six months:

In September 2010, advertising network VideoEgg bought out SixApart and formed SAY Media. After a day of silence about the future of the tool, Six Apart Japan spoke up, and promised continued support and development. (The Japanese team, it turned out, had been handling development for over twelve months by this point, as MT is strangely popular in Japan.)

In October 2010, my site moved between hosts. Those poor souls who have dealt with MT on shared hosting know that it can be a resource hog, and I got nailed with an odd bug where repeated searches using mt-search would hose the server. My beloved sysadmin told me to either cutover to another platform or turn off search. I turned off search.

On Friday, Six Apart Japan was acquired by Infocom, a Japanese IT company (sadly, not the developer of Zork). The translated press release says:

The Infocom Group shall actively seek expansion of our net business by adding our specialty of SI to the base established by Movable Type and then conducting sales to major corporations.

That was enough for me. For the last four years, I have regularly faced bad news about the tool’s future. Each time, I swallowed the bitter pill of being told everything will be okay, that someone (Six Apart itself! The MT community! A different open-source community! Japan!) will take hold of the project and make it competitive again. Every time, no rescue came, and the other tools in the personal blogging space (WordPress, Twitter, Tumblr — even Facebook) continued forward.

I spent the afternoon huddled over my keyboard, migrating and massaging blog posts, trying to migrate in my existing stylesheets, giving up on that and trying to find a free theme that looked good enough, giving up on *that* and purchasing Basic Maths, installing useful plugins, and disabling my Movable Type install. The process was not pain free, but I will take short term stinging over long term scars.

As I wrote back in 2007:

…I have to be a bit selfish. I have a vested interest in this site: after all, this site is me. This blog has been running for nearly seven years – over a quarter of my life. In that time, I have graduated from college, gotten married, moved three times, crossed thousands of miles, met hundreds of people. I have seen the world, experienced so much, and grown into who I am today. As I have grown, so has this blog.

But the blog cannot solely be powered by me; I can only use the tools available to channel my thoughts and experiences. If the tools refuse to grow, neither can the blog.

Farewell, Movable Type.