Welcome to my dark corner

I am always on the look out for interesting commentary about the company I work for, which is probably why I find myself drawn to The Blog Herald like a moth to the flame. I keep hoping that one day that web site will fully realize its potential and become a journalistic endeavor in which the writers think more critically of the blogging industry in spite of their prejudices.

I read today's post about Wordpress' announcement of KnowNow WordPress Enterprise Edition with the usual amount of naive and blind optimism that I usually have - hoping that this time it would be different. Of course it wasn't.

But I don't want that to discourage anyone from not reading the post, because to do so would keep you from reading some really incredible comments from an amazing cast of characters, including Anil Dash of Six Apart, Matt Mullenweg and Toni Schneider of Automattic, Thord of The Blog Herald and Tim Appnel, creator of Blogcast - just to name a few. And man, there are some really great conversations and nuggets of information in there.

Matt quotes this from Toni's announcement:

“KnowNow plans to be active in the WordPress community and release their enterprise improvements as open source (they are looking to hire WordpPress experts who know enterprise software, please contact me if you are interested).”

Yes, this shows their commitment to open source, but it also reveals that KnowNow doesn't have the resources in house to build enterprise software for Wordpress. Ok, that is probably a stretch. I am certain KnowNow has plenty of enterprise blogging specialists who know Wordpress.

Of course the proprietary competitors to WP are going to use the same FUD tactics that Microsoft used to use against Linux, but I’ve gotten used to that sort of thing.

I really wish Matt wouldn't lump all proprietary competitors into the same bucket. It might be true of some, but I have never known Six Apart to ever take a position against open source. How could we when so much of the software we write is open source? I would even be willing to wager that you could find some of Six Apart's open source code powering parts of Wordpress.com.

I also like Anil's response:

talking about the actual history of a company isn’t FUD. Insinuating that a company that releases more open source code to more users and actually lets people outside the company make commits is “proprietary”, however, could definitely be considered FUD.

Which is a subtle nod to the fact that Six Apart allows more people from outside its company to make commits to its open source code repository (at least 7 that I can think of off the top of my head) than does Automattic.

Another interesting fact is the number of open protocols and standards that Six Apart has invented:

Or is actively engaged in shaping:

On a different topic, another thread touches upon the scalability of Movable Type.

I’ve concluded that MT gets a bad rap from so many bloggers because it is often an ill-fit for a shared hosting environment. Once a static-based MT site reaches some threshold number of files, a rebuild will consume enough server resources that it triggers the inevitable reaper daemon that typically runs on shared servers.

This was once true, and it underscore for me how poor a job we have done evangelizing and educating the market about the advances we have made in this aspect of Movable Type. Our recent release of RebuildQueue has brought incredible speed enhancements to Movable Type by turning publishing into an asynchronous process that can scale to a magnitude we have yet to reach. And is it still fast? Quite. With a small rebuild daemon running on my machine, there is virtually no latency between the time I save a post and Movable Type begins to rebuild a number of pages in the background.

But enough of what other people said. What do I think of Wordpress entering the enterprise space?

I sincerely welcome them. As pointed out in the comments several times, there is more than enough to go around. But what is honestly great about them getting into the space with us is that there is now another company actively engaging the market and educating them about how blogging can help their business. Trust me, trying to do that by yourself is a lonely and intractable problem. Having others join the effort only works to validate the market and give every enterprise a greater sense of confidence that blogging is something that they should be doing too.

I believe, as I am sure the Wordpress folks do as well, that at the end of the day it will be our products that enterprises will judge us upon, and nothing else.

8 Comments

I agree with just about everything there, but I have a minor quibble: it's pretty disingenuous to claim Six Apart credit for projects that were made open (and Free) by Danga Interactive before it was acquired.

It's great that active development has continued on those projects, mind you, but still.

You are right, I should never insinuate that Six Apart is responsible for making Mogile, Memcache or Perlbal open source. However, Six Apart is the sole source of their funding, which cannot be underestimated.

Six Apart can claim however that is has made the following applications and frameworks open source:

  • djabberd
  • AdEngine
  • Data::ObjectDriver
  • GearMan
  • Brackup
  • Over 20 Movable Type plugins
  • Literally hundreds of Perl Modules

And Six Apart developers are routinely building and contributing to open source projects in their spare time.

I say all this only to hammer home the point, that I think Anil states quite articulately, that Six Apart and Automattic have one thing in common: we are a company with a collection of both open and closed source software - and it just so happens that in both companies, the software that actually drives revenue for the business is closed source. Whether that is Movable Type, TypePad or Akismet.

Actually, I take that back. LiveJournal is responsible for a significant amount of Six Apart's revenue, and it is completely open source.

it's pretty disingenuous to claim Six Apart credit for projects that were made open (and Free) by Danga Interactive before it was acquired.

It's also completely appropriate to point out that we've kept those open, invested heavily in keeping them open, spent time and effort working with the community (big props to Facebook!) to integrate their contributions, and introduced major new open source efforts like a complete, scalable Jabber server.

I assume it's not disingenuous for Automattic to take credit for projects that were made open (and Free) before the company was incorporated?

Hi, Bryan, that's me you're quoting about the "bad rap" business. (And, it is a bad rap.)

Does RebuildQueue work in a shared server environment? I.e., can someone runnning one MT blog on a bog ordinary account at Pair or TextDrive or Media Temple or whatever use it and see improvement?

(That's not a hypothetical question. I'm looking around for a host for an MT site and will use rebuildqueue if possible. I'm also looking, with no luck, for someone who supports FastCGI in a way that's not effectively limited to Rails development.)

I'd very much encourage 6A to put up a page highlighting ways for singleton MT users -- who don't have access to an MT consultant -- to run their sites more efficiently. Would probably include things like rebuildqueue, fastcgi (and some hosting companies that offer it), tags vs categories, efficient archives, etc. That would go a long way to reduce the impact of a lot of the bad PR that's at the other end of a Google search.

Funny you should mention wanting a page about Movable Type Performance Tuning - we have one.

As for RebuildQueue in a shared hosting environment. .. there is nothing that I am aware of that would prevent someone from using it in this context. Here would be the requirements:

  • ideally user would need ability to add entries to a crontab
  • user needs access to install plugins

Pretty straight forward right?

Oh - and my name is Byrne, not Bryan. No biggie though, a common mistake. Just want to nip that one in the bud though. :)

Thanks. And sorry about that name thing.

Sorry, I didn't mean to take away from Six Apart's contributions, it's just that I've always been annoyed that LiveJournal doesn't get the credit it deserves. There's so much hatred directed at LiveJournal the community (though that's shifted onto MySpace nowadays) that it flows on to LiveJournal the platform.

As you say, Six Apart has plenty to be proud of in its own right -- there's no need for borrowed glory.

Anil, no, it's disingenuous of Automattic too. Trust me, I'm not on their side.

I know for a fact that RebuildQueue works in a wide variety of shared environments. I know of none in which it is problematic except that on shared hosts who routinely reap processes which run long, you need to call the shell script included in the repo instead of RebuildQueue directly...

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  • I know for a fact that RebuildQueue works in a wide variety of shared environments. I know of none in which it is problematic except that on shared hosts who routinely reap processes which run long, you need to call the...

  • Sorry, I didn't mean to take away from Six Apart's contributions, it's just that I've always been annoyed that LiveJournal doesn't get the credit it deserves. There's so much hatred directed at LiveJournal the community ...

  • Thanks. And sorry about that name thing. ...

  • Funny you should mention wanting a page about Movable Type Performance Tuning - we have one. As for RebuildQueue in a shared hosting environment. .. there is nothing that I am aware of that would prevent someone from us...

  • Hi, Bryan, that's me you're quoting about the "bad rap" business. (And, it is a bad rap.) Does RebuildQueue work in a shared server environment? I.e., can someone runnning one MT blog on a bog ordinary account at Pair ...

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