October 2004 Archives

I fixed a bug in my Monthly Archive Links macro (for Radio UserLand users) where specifying a date format that has the month and year next to each other (such as "mmmyy") displays the wrong output for months that end in "y". You can download the updated macro from the download link at the above linked post.

Two days after posting about weblogs.us violating Movable Type's license, weblogs.us announced they will be migrating their users to WordPress:

A year ago in my girlfriend's basement weblogs.us was born. Now a year later and 800 noncommercial blogs later, I'm happy to announce some changes.

We are:
#1 upgrading to WordPress.
#2 adding FTP support
#3 increasing storage space from 100MB to 1GB.
#4 adding full statistics reporting
#5 plus a few other treats...

[I]f there's anything missing, that you would like added, please let me know! This upgrade will be for all of our current users. Once everyone is upgraded and happily blogigng [sic] blogging, we will start on the hundreds of people that signed up in our queue, and finally we will reopen signups to the world (possibly using an invitation system much like Gmail uses.)

I wonder how many of those 800 users will like having to switch from Movable Type to WordPress?

The P.S. at the end bothered me a little:

PS I would also like to thank Robert Scoble and Dave Winer for linking to us early on and sending many great bloggers our way :-)

This appears to be true - Robert linked to weblogs.us with this post at the end of February, 2004, and Dave linked to them back in November of 2003. I find it somewhat disappointing that two leaders in the blogging community promoted and linked to an illegal MT hosting service. (They probably didn't know weblogs.us was an illegal MT hosting service, but they should have.)

While searching for Robert's and Dave's posts, I found the following comments to the first post (06 Nov 2003) in the weblogs.us archive (at the very bottom of the page):

How sweet. I do wonder if this is breaking any policy with SixApart though
-Rave, Ramblings, Rants, Randomized

[Does anyone know if what I'm doing here is okay with SixApart? if this is a violation of any thing, please let me know. Thank you, -J.D.]

Too bad someone didn't speak up sooner. But really, rather than expecting someone else to inform you that you're violating Movable Type's license, you could have read the license yourself, posted a question in the MT Forums, or sent an e-mail to Six Apart.

I hope the migration to WordPress goes well for weblogs.us and their users.

weblogs.us Users - Beware!

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Another warning, this time to users of weblogs.us. These guys are running a service much like mBlog was, and is just as illegitimate.

It is not obvious from their web site, but weblogs.us is using a single copy of Movable Type to host all weblogs in violation of MT's license. In their support forum, the hosting setup is made clear in a discussion about MT plugins:

"Since everyone is installed under one main MT installation plugins must be installed by JD on the server and they will effect everyone.

I don't know if it is accurate or up to date, but their list of members' weblogs currently lists 187 weblogs, and their blog setup queue shows another 640 weblogs awaiting setup (all of which would presumably run under the "one main MT installation").

The admins of weblog.us seem to be about as ignorant about MT's license as the people running mBlog.com. They are aware that the old MT 2.661 license allows for unlimited authors and weblogs, but appear to have missed this point:

"Prohibited uses include, without limitation,... hosting, or offering to host, the Software, on any basis;..." (From the MT 2.661 Personal, Non-Commercial Use License, which was in force if MT was downloaded prior to May, 2004.)

Their "service" is definitely lacking some frills:

P.S. We don't accept payment for installation or hosting, we don't have PHP, we don't allow FTP. We are working on an easy way for folks to manage their files. For most people the "Upload" feature of MT is getting them by for now.

The warning I offered to mBlog users applies equally to weblogs.us users:

I strongly recommend that bloggers stay away from weblogs.us. 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 weblogs.us' hosting provider may be all it takes to turn out the lights on weblogs.us, potentially leaving weblogs.us' users stranded with no way to get a copy of their weblog data.

Now that I know what weblogs.us is, the only "support" I will be providing to its users is to tell them the weblogs.us service is a gross violation of MT's licenses. As far as I'm concerned, weblogs.us' users should not expect nor have any right to any support in the MT Forums.

Update: weblogs.us announces migration to WordPress.

mBlog bites the dust

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I've previously written about mBlog and their illegal Movable Type hosting service. In a stroke of good news, mBlog has apparently closed their doors, with the following text now on their home page:

mBlog has attempted to provide an exceptional service for the blogging community at no cost. Unfortunately due to member abuse, inability to reach agreement with Moveable Type and hosting cost overhead we have incurred an extremely high deficit. We stand to incur further costs which we hope that our members' gratitude will help us offset. Unfortunately we can no longer offer support or continue this service at penalty to us.

To those who had weblogs on mBlog, I offered this advice:

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.

As a result of mBlog's shutdown, mBlog's users do not appear to be completely stranded without access to their weblog data - it's just being held for ransom:

A number of requests from our members have prompted us to offer a restoration service at a nominal fee. To obtain an archive of your files for import into an alternate blogging system please enter your mBlog name below.

I can't say that I'm exactly broken up over mBlog's demise. (Hat tip: Shelley)

Update: Mena Trott comments, and offers some advice to former mBlog users in "Stranded Bloggers".