像铅齐柏林飞艇

Six Apart’s Movable Type 3.0 announcement created, well, a bit of a ruckusI won’t rehash the saga here; if you haven’t been paying attention, you can catch up by readingBrad Choate’s well-considered take我非常同意布拉德的观点。

That’s not to say, however, that Six Apart didn’t fuck this up, big time.

Their mistake was not that they raised their prices and removed the unlimited aspects of the free personal-use licenseSure, that would have been enough to piss off the subset of their users who want all of the features but don’t want to pay a dimeBut the people who are the most angry at Six Apart are people who are willing to pay for Movable Type, and are willing to accept license restrictionsMany of them donated, voluntarily, for previous versions.

我看到Six Apart犯下了两个重大错误。

功能销售升级

This is the nature of commercial software: people pay for features. Or, stated conversely, people will not pay for upgrades without features.

每个人都喜欢错误修复Everyone loves performance improvements. But what people will pay for are featuresMicrosoft is sitting on $50 billion in cash on the basis of this premise.

The problem with making MT 3.0 a paid upgrade is that it offers very few new featuresThis is not merely my subjective opinion — Six Apart’sMena Trott上个月就这么说了

Movable Type 3.0 is not the fabled “Pro” version as originally describedWe had always imagined Pro as being a feature packed version that would contain all the features ever requestedWhat we’ve learned in the past year is that every user wants a different set of features, and we need to create a product that is not just feature-packed, but robust, extensible and geared toward a specific audienceMovable Type 3.0 and on will not be the solution for everyone, and that’s okayFor some users, TypePad makes more sense. For others, non-Six Apart tools make more sense.

Movable Type 3.0 is not intended to be a feature release (3.x releases will address the addition of features)While we have devoted a great deal of resources to making the main feature — comment registration — sophisticated and flexible, it’s the Movable Type engine that has evolved (and will continue to evolve) significantlyIn this vein, we’ve made speed optimizations to this release as well as made processes such as rebuilding smarter.

Working on the engine first, and then adding features later, is a perfectly acceptable strategy for Six ApartBut they shouldn’t have attempted to sell upgrades until they were ready to ship a feature release.

You can certainly argue that the world would be a better place — or at least filled with better software — if people were willing to pay for non-feature release software但他们不是。

预先公告几乎总是后悔

12月22日,Ben Trott宣布即将推出的MT 3.0在官方Movable Type博客上,写道:

The next version of Movable Type will be version 3.0, a significant and free upgrade.

现在,本周,MT 3发布了,但它并不是免费的Yes, there is still a free version available, but with severely limited licensing terms — one author and three web sites.

No matter what you think about the new MT licensing terms, there’s no way you can reasonably claim that MT 3.0 is a “free upgrade”.

“Under-promise and over-deliver” is good advice for developing a loyal user base然而,实现这一目标的最佳方法是not to promise anything at all

不要宣布发货日期不要宣布即将推出的功能And don’t announce future pricing软件完成后,然后宣布它你永远不会失望。

Open source and hobbyist projects can afford to be open about their future plans, because users are willing to accept that these plans might not pan outBut users will hold commercial software companies to their word.

The urge to pre-announce is strong, because (a) as a developer, you’re excited about the new features you’re working on; and (b) users are excited to hear about new features.

But pre-announcing is merely a statement of intention, and depending on the state of what you’re announcing, sometimes only a prediction. Intentions change, and predictions are often wrongA company that announces software它准备发货永远不会错。

Plus, the more time you spend talking about future versions of your software, the worse it makes the current version lookThe whole point of upgrades is that they’re supposed to be better, but the current version is the only one that’s available today, thus, the current software is what you ought to promoteYou want your users to be excited about the shipping software, not software on the horizon.

供电 …

It’s worth noting that this is a PR debacle, not an engineering one. Movable Type is still a good product and a good development platformBut that’s not to downplay the severity of the problem caused by the reaction to MT 3.0Six Apart’s credibility is essential to the ongoing success of Movable Type.

With open source software, users can put their faith in the licenses behind the softwareIf the developers do anything that takes the software in a direction you don’t like, you can take the existing software, fork it, and continue development in the direction you want.

With commercial software, users put their faith in the company behind the product.