mBlog combines the latest in Internet and wireless technology so that you can post Text and Multimedia to your live journal.
But it is way more than that.
I got my first hint in a comment by Phil Ringnalda:
But there's no question in the license: you may not "Use the Software to provide hosting services to others." Given how fuzzy the line is between your reasonable sort of hosting and the complete fricken' nightmare that's mblog.com, with their "unlimited free signups, virtually no support, no way to actually control the software, but a prominent link to the support forum" approach, I can see why 6A would want to absolutely prohibit any hosting (other than hosting they approve of, since the pricing page does imply that there are or will be hosts that offer MT preinstalled).
Today in the MT Forums, Phil fully explains what mBlog is:
mBlog is a hacked up version of Movable Type, which violates the MT license agreement, and the stream of people it sends over here asking questions without realizing that the answers won't work for them because they are using a hacked up and feature-limited version is very probably one of the reasons that the new MT license is so much more strict than the previous versions.
I wondered if this could really be true. Would someone actually be dumb enough to so blatantly violate MT's license?.
The answer to that question ("Yes") is on mBlog's about mBlog page:
What's 'under the hood'?
mBlog is driven by the award-winning open source MovableType (MT) personal publishing system. mBlog consists of various modifications to the MT source as well as integrated custom modules developed in order to provide this free service to you. mBlogs mobility features are derived from modules designed using Perl and Simplewire's SMS/MMS API.
Movable Type is not open source software. Just because MT's code is viewable does not make it open source.
There's probably a dozen different license violations here, most prominently the "no hosting" clause:
"Prohibited uses include, without limitation... hosting, or offering to host, the Software, on any basis..."
I wondered if Six Apart was aware of what mBlog was doing. A little searching on Google turned up the answer:
Over on the KSmith blog, Mark suggests in a comment that new bloggers use mBlog. I checked it out and was surprised: its guts are simply a poorly hacked up version of MovableType. I know running a bloghosting service is strongly against MTs terms of service, and the software's implementation just seemed too shoddy to have been a result of striking a legit deal with Six Apart.
Anyway, after trying to find the answer everywhere, I just emailed Anil Dash who replied with:
They're not authorized, and they are blatantly violating the license. We are aware of them and I'm sure we'll be dealing with them, but in the interim, I'd recommend steering clear of them. TypePad's not free, but it is only a couple of bucks a per month, it does support the development work we do, and it's not going to go away.
So there you have it. mBlog: too good to be true.
I strongly recommend that bloggers stay away from mBlog. If you have a blog there, export your data (if you're able to) and go somewhere else while you still can. A short letter from Six Apart's attorneys to mBlog's hosting provider may be all it takes to turn out the lights on mBlog, potentially leaving mBlog's users stranded with no way to get a copy of their weblog data.
Now that I know what mBlog is, the only "support" I will be providing to its users is to tell them the mBlog service is a gross violation of MT's licenses. As far as I'm concerned, mBlog's users should not expect nor have any right to any support in the MT Forums.
Update: mBlog shuts down!