why did MT lose and WP win?

ma.tt responds to Anil Dash by pointing out that WordPress is fully open source:

WordPress is 100% open source, GPL.

All plugins in the official directory are GPL or compatible, 100% open source.

bbPress is 100% GPL.

WordPress MU is 100% open source, GPL, and if you wanted you could take it and build your own hosted platform like WordPress.com, like edublogs.org has with over 100,000 blogs.

There is more GPL stuff on the way, as well. 🙂

Could you build Typepad or Vox with Movable Type? Probably not, especially since people with more than a few blogs or posts say it grinds to a halt, as Metblogs found before they switched to WordPress.

Automattic (and other people) can provide full support for GPL software, which is the single license everything we support is under. Movable Type has 8 different licenses and the “open source” one doesn’t allow any support. The community around WordPress is amazing and most people find it more than adequate for their support needs.

Movable Type, which is Six Apart’s only Open Source product line now that they’ve dumped Livejournal, doesn’t even have a public bug tracker, even though they announced it going OS over 9 months ago!

I think that this gets to the heart of why WP is so successful. WP vs MT is almost a case study of the Cathedral vs the Bazaar. Were Six Apart to fully embrace the open source model, as WP has done, they would of course lose the revenue stream from licensing, but the absence of that stream hasn’t exactly inhibited Automattic ($29.5 million in the latest round…). Matt alludes to the MT3 debacle, which really was a betrayal of MT’s until-then loyal userbase. It came down to simply money; in an era where the best things in (computing) life are free, Six Apart seems determined to charge. And that’s been the thing holding them back. Technology alone isn’t enough, you have to address the user model. That is what MT has failed and seems to continue to fail to do.