Movable Type is the blogging engine used by TypePad blogs, and is available for download and installation on your own server. Think of the relationship between the two being like WordPress.com and WordPress.org.
Movable Type and TypePad (as well as LiveJournal and Vox) are owned by Six Apart, which was a pioneer in blogging platforms – TypePad was for a long time the ‘serious’ bloggers’ choice of system. That was until Six Apart introduced a licensing agreement which turned many bloggers off (check out some of the comments to this post) – and helped WordPress become the major player it is now.
Anyhow, Six Apart have now backtracked a little bit on this, and are opening up the Movable Type platform for version 4 of the software, launching a new site in the process. Their claim is that the position of the other Six Apart products means that this is now a viable proposition:
It will still be possible to buy Movable Type – a professionally supported version can be purchased.
MT4 has some extremely interesting features, including social networking elements, as discussed at TechCrunch:
MT4 as social media platform allows users to turn their readers into communities through Movable Type’s new community management features, with the ability to give users the right to post, add and share rich text and media posts with photos, videos, and audio. MT4 also includes a new ratings framework that enables a variety of recommendation features.
These are interesting times, and while I have never been tempted by MT (it runs on PERL, which I don’t understand) it opens up the possibilities for either individual bloggers, or those wanting to create blog communities.