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June 8, 2004

MT Educational License

Six Apart, the makers of Movable Type, have finally come out with at least an introduction to their new license for educational institutions. Before I get into my meager analysis of the email I received from them, I'll cut to the chase first and say their initial introduction is somewhat of a relief. It actually looks like this will be something we can work with here at UThink, but obviously some questions remain. Now for my longer reaction.

I'm sure this was a form email, and many of you reading this will have probably already received it, but I will print it here just for reference:

"Regarding educational licenses, we are very interested and excited to work with universities and want to encourage campus-wide installations. To that end, we have created a licensing structure specifically targeted to educational organizations that offers unlimited weblogs and unlimited authors. The pricing is based on the number of student of the department, college, or campus that will be using MT.

The prices we have for perpetual licenses for a size of up to 300 students is $299, for up to 1000 students would be $699, and up to 2000 students would be $999. For anything larger, we would be happy to put together a custom license if you could let us know the size of the department/school this would be for."

First of all, they say the "have created a licensing structure specifically targeted to educational organizations that offers unlimited weblogs and unlimited authors." This is interesting since in the next paragraph they base their pricing on the number of students that we expect to use the service. However, I can live with that since my initial estimations for users of the UThink system were between 500-1000 users. So, the fact that they have stretched their licensing to 2000 users so far gives us a little wiggle room. Good deal. Tougher questions remain, though.

Note that they are basing their prices on number of students only. Obviously there are a lot of people using UThink that aren't students. Does this mean we have to pay extra for facutly and staff use? I hope not. I hope that the 2000 users can be any affiliated user on campus, or that the 2000 "students" referred to in their email actually refers to "account holders". But we'll see. They also refer to a "perpetual license." Does this mean that we only have to pay for the license once? I read it that we won't have to pay a yearly fee or something like that.

Finally, and this is the most troubling unknown for me, are they basing their pricing per student on the number of actual students using the system, or the potential number? If it is based on potential number then we are in trouble. That would be a whopping 50,000 student potential. I'm hoping that we can purchase a license for 2000 students and then work our way up to that. If we cross the 2000 student threshold after a couple of years maybe we could then pay another $1000 for 2000 students more (?). That seems reasonable to me. I'm also wondering if their definitions of "author counts" and "weblog accounts" (right hand side of MT download page) also apply in an educational setting. Obviously we also get a lot of people that start a weblog and then abandon it. I would hate for those authors and weblogs to be used against our counts.

So, there you have it. I look forward to more clarification of this license, and hopefully there will be an actual document to refer to on the MT website in the near future. Like I said above, though, this is a good start.

Posted by snackeru at June 8, 2004 9:13 AM | UThink


Thanks for the update. Those are some big "ifs" and not unlike problematic questions I've run into when pricing other academic licenses. Please keep us posted as you learn more!

Posted by: Prentiss Riddle at June 8, 2004 10:32 AM

I think the MT stipulation about an "active" blog would come into play here... students who start a blog for a class and then abandon it would fall out of the "active" category by the next term.

As I read the terms, it looks -- unfortunately -- as if MT is actually fitting the price of the service to the number of students at the university. They should at least focus on the college or division that is being served (law school, English department, etc.).

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at June 8, 2004 11:21 AM

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