After a year since the previous release, today Six Apart released Movable Type 4. (Disclosure: I am on leave-of-absence from Six Apart, Radar runs on MT3.) As with previous versions, there are both commercial and non-commercial licenses. New is the upcoming Open Source version, which contains the core functionality of MT under the GPL.
Significant new features (som of which aren’t in the GPL version) are centered around community building, with first-class support for comment conversations using OpenID and user registration. The new community pack delivers a social network in a box, allowing end users to create profile pages and rate others. This pack also allows administrators to promote commenters to authors. Hopefully this all will enable extended discussions on blogs and the development of dynamic commenter identities instead of just a name and email.
Six Apart has moved towards a Open Source tiered business model for MT. With Open Source, personal, and commercial licenses, Six Apart is paying homage to MT’s roots as well as targeting commercial customers. Since MT’s source is already open, I think this licensing approach makes a lot of sense.
As a user of MT3, I have often found the lack of integration of identity with opinion quite frustrating. Trying to keep up with comments and users, especially on older posts, is nearly impossible, and I would love to establish a deeper connection with people who regularly contribute good comments. Just recently there was a discussion internally on how we can associate identity with comments to solve this, Nat suggested:
I think comments needs a SERIOUS overhaul. Slashdot karma and
moderation looks more and more attractive as the Polish human-
submitted spams roll in.
Hopefully MT4 will help move blogs toward community environments, and I certainly hope we can do some of that on Radar.