What Does it Mean for Movable Type to go Open Source?

While I like to see Movable Type going in the direction of open source, I am also a bit skeptical. According to Movabletype.org:

“The Movable Type Open Source Project was announced in conjunction with the launch of the Movable Type 4 Beta on June 5th, 2007. The MTOS Project is a community and Six Apart driven project that will produce an open souce version of the Movable Type Publishing Platform that will form the core of all other Movable Type products.”

Aside from their inability to correctly spell open source (or run spell check), they are not particularly clear about what will be in this new open source “publishing platform” vs. their commercial products. By announcing the new open source project along with the beta of their new version (not open source), it is a bit difficult to see how the open source project will fit in with their commercial products. I suspect that some of this announcement might be to put Movable Type in a better position when compared to open source rival WordPress to reduce the numbers of people migrating off of Movable Type due to licensing concerns over the past few years.

Skepticism aside, I really do like to see commercial companies embrace open source. If Movable Type embraces the open source community in a collaborative fashion, this could be a great step. Companies who work with a community to create an open source product that is awesome by itself when used without the commercial product can successfully sell commercial products with additional functionality and services needed by enterprise customers. I sincerely hope that this is the direction that Movable Type is headed.