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6/4/2007
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Six Apart Releases Movable Type 4 Beta

MT 4 represents a new software architecture that combines the code bases of Movable Type 3.3, Movable Type Enterprise 1.5, and the core code from its hosted blog services.

Blogging software and services company Six Apart on Tuesday plans to release a beta version of Movable Type 4, the latest iteration of its blogging platform, and a new open source initiative, MTOS, that aims to deliver a fully open source version of Movable Type by the third quarter of the year.

"It's not a Google beta. It's a real beta," said Chris Alden, executive VP and general manager of Six Apart's professional division, meaning that Movable Type 4 is not stable enough for production environments.

Since last year, when Six Apart made a concerted push for corporate clients, Alden said the company has seen its software embraced by more and more large companies as a way to enhance productivity and collaborative workflow. "Blogging has moved past one-person, one-blog personal punditry, to a whole variety of use cases," he said.

Companies such as the Boeing, Intel, NYU, Oracle, TBWA/Chiat Day, The Washington Post, and Whole Foods are using Movable Type for both internal and external communications. CMP Media, which publishes InformationWeek, uses Movable Type as a blogging platform and for internal communication.

Advertising firm TBWA/Chiat Day, for instance, uses Movable Type to unite some 9,700 employees across 258 offices around the world. The company maintains 27 blog channels to coordinate internal communication, to leverage organizational intelligence, and to eliminate duplicative document distribution.

"MT will save us close to $1 million this year on physical publishing and meetings not held," said Laurie Coots, CMO Worldwide at TBWA/Chiat Day, in a statement. "Compared to our old intranet, which took one year to build, MT gave us a solution in a fraction of the time and with a 20-fold increase in participation."

Faced with the rise of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook that offer blogging capabilities, Six Apart is emphasizing the social networking features in its software. "Part of the story of MT4 is we're creating the ability for your blog site to actually have members and profiles and a rating framework," said Alden.

Last October, Six Apart launched a free, hosted personal blogging service, Vox, which emphasizes social and media sharing features.

MT 4 boasts over 50 new features, including easier upgrades and installation, improved management tools, better editing and image insertion tools, and a redesigned user interface. New social capabilities include community management and media sharing options

MT 4 represents a new software architecture that combines the previously separate code bases of Movable Type 3.3, Movable Type Enterprise 1.5, and includes core code from its hosted blog services LiveJournal, TypePad, and Vox. High-end enterprise features, like LDAP support, will be sold through separate service packs. The company said it will release further details about enterprise options later this month.

As part of Tuesday's announcement, Six Apart is adding new features to TypePad, its hosted blog service aimed at small businesses.

Six Apart expects the official release of Movable Type 4 will occur during the third quarter of this year. Movable Type 4 is free for personal use or $49.95 per year with support. Enterprise and hosted pricing varies.

Six Apart's push to make Movable Type fully open source is mostly done: Some 90% of Movable Type is already open source, according to the company, which counts itself among the top 10 contributors to open source projects. Acknowledging that competing open source blog platform WordPress had done a better job promoting its openness, Alden said his company's effort to open its code would serve Movable Type's users.

"We want the platform itself to be as broadly used as possible," said Alden. "We're customer-driven, not competitor-driven."

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