Movable Type Distributions

By Deane Barker on November 12, 2003

How long before someone issues a Movable Type “distribution,” and how would Six Apart react?

Movable Type is so customizable, that a lot of users have custom preferences, myself included. Whenever I do a new MT install, I find myself loading the same plug-ins, building the same templates, changing the code to install the same hacks, etc. It’s tedious. I’m going to start making these changes to one codebase on my local machine and just do new installs off of that.

So, how long before someone does this, then releases it as a “distribution.” You install that distro and you get MT 2.6X, these dozen plug-ins, these code hacks, these templates, etc. Just like with Linux, you could get different “flavors” of Movable Type, custom-hacked to work well for specific things.

One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that Movable Type is not open source. Yes, it’s written in Perl and none of the code is hidden, but Six Apart owns the code. Modifying it and publishing the hacks isn’t really even legit, though they’re pretty laid back about it (Anil Dash himself gave me permission to publish my user-defined fields hack).

But what if you wrapped up a bunch of the extended MT functionality and published it as a zip file to save people time in installing all that stuff? Does anyone do this now? It’d be interesting to see how Six Apart would react.



  1. Good question Deane! I essentially customized the crud of MT to make it work like a CMS for my church website. Alot of Perl plugins … alot of PHP in the templates.

    Perhaps one way Six Apart could avert such problems is to allow us to easily decouple templates and plug-ins to the point that we can peddle them as add-in/enhancements? I mean, plug-ins are so easy, the only other real work would be to allow the easy infusion of entire template sets from a 3rd party.

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