Security Patch for Movable Type

Via PhotoMatt (one of the lead WordPress developers), I learned that there’s a newly discovered security flaw in Movable Type that could allow spammers to commandeer your Movable Type setup as an e-mail gateway (by futzing with the comment page, since that already sends an e-mail to the blog’s administrator).

Fortunately, there’s now a patch available (via a plugin) which works with both MT 2.661 and MT 3.14. After downloading the patch, just upload it to your plugins directory and set its permissions to 755. That’s it. (If you need an ftp client which can set permissions, FileZilla is an excellent open source ftp client which can do that.)

I’m Still Switching From Movable Type to WordPress

I recently wrote a comment on Ask.MetaFilter, the gist of which is that I plan on switching this blog from Movable Type to WordPress (probably with the next major WordPress release, to save myself at least one upgrade cycle).

And, Anil Dash — the vice president of Six Apart, the Movable Type company — saw my comment and e-mailed me personally to ask why I had decided on that. Though I’ve e-mailed him a reply as well, I’m posting my response as an open letter here, in case other bloggers are considering the switch to WordPress.

Hi Anil,

Fancy running into you on the InterWeb. And, I believe we’ve met before at SXSW — I’ve played kickball both in ’03 and ’04 :). I also found a picture of me from the SXSW 2004 moblog.

I’m still planning on switching to WordPress and it’s primarily due to Movable Type’s new licensing. Sure, I can use 3.x for free as I limit my blog to one author and three or fewer blogs — which currently is the case — but why not switch to a publishing system without those limits, in case I want to add another author or a few extra blogs sometime later?

I think my thoughts on this are summed up well in DiveIntoMark’s essay "Freedom Zero":

“I do not have the freedom to run [Movable Type] for any purpose; I only have the limited set of freedoms that Six Apart chooses to bestow upon me, and every new version seems to bestow fewer and fewer freedoms. With Movable Type 2.6, I was allowed to run 11 sites. In 3.0, that right will cost me $535. […]”

Continuing along those lines, I can’t be sure that Movable Type 4.0 won't limit free use to one author + one blog — or even start charging for non-commercial use in general. Now, I take to heart that Six Apart is one of the most non-evil companies around and that such a scenario may be unlikely; but that’s not to say that it couldn't happen.

Anyhow, Anil, please don’t take this as anything against you personally. I’ve had a great time playing kickball every year and if you’re ever in Dallas I’d be happy to take you out for a beer (HHOS).

Alex Bischoff

Migrating Movable Type?

So, I’ve been thinking about web hosting since my current host doesn’t offer me quite enough space on my current plan (100 MB but just $5/month). There were several suggestions in the comments and my choice is becoming harder (or even whether I should switch at all).

Supposing that I choose to go with a new web host, I’d have to move my data over. Moving the static bits (such as my portfolio) is easy and even moving Gallery shouldn't be that hard (since their FAQ specifically addresses how to migrate Gallery).

However, I’m having some trouble finding solid information on migrating Movable Type to another host. Sure, I could just export & import the entries, but I think I’d lose my comments that way. The Movable Type documentation addresses some troubleshooting issues when moving servers, but doesn’t seem to describe the move itself :-/. And their support forum has a few posts about moving servers but they’re hardly the definitive answers that I was hoping for.

In any case, if you’ve moved Movable Type from one server to another (entries, comments, and all), please let me know.