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Weblog System Features Compared 269

prostoalex writes "The question of the best weblogging system out there arises quite often, especially after the new licensing scheme introduced by MovableType. Here's a rather detailed breakdown of currently popular blogging and content management systems. Out of 11 software packages, 10 run on any server with variations of Perl/PHP and MySQL/PostgresSQL, and one requires Windows and .NET Framework. 4 are licensed under GPL, 3 are under BSD. Mark Pilgrim explains why licensing is suddenly important."
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Weblog System Features Compared

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  • by Octagon Most ( 522688 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:02PM (#9241677)
    This "rather detailed breakdown" is a nice comparison of features, but hardly answers the question of which package is the best. The chart itself says that it "displays attributes of different user-installed blog software packages side-by-side for comparison." There's nothing about usability or other subjective criteria. It is a comprehensive collection of information though. I guess that's good for some people but I bet plenty want a comparison of how easy/flexible they are to use and maintain. Personally I would also like to see a comparison to the hosted services like Blogger.

    As I've said before, if accumulation of features were all that mattered, we'd all love Microsoft Office [].
  • Why just blog? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:14PM (#9241779) Homepage Journal
    There are more kind of things one could want to publish, even from the personal point of view, that don't fit very well in the blog approach. You have wiki pages, discussion forums, tabular information, file or image galleries, and a lot more ways to store and manage "content" in very different ways.

    Maybe is not yet perfect, but i like TikiWiki [] because it have all in one single package (enabling some sort of integration between features, unified security, etc).

  • by telbij ( 465356 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:19PM (#9241825)
    All these Movable Type bloggers whining about the new licensing scheme is getting a little old. Sure I agree that the new licensing move is stupid (considering the quality of the product), but they have every right to go and shoot themselves in the foot if they want.

    As far as the individual blogger is concerned, the lesson is this: use a tool that will allow you to migrate your data. Tools will continue to advance, and you can always redesign, but your archives the only irreplaceable part of the whole equation. In the case of Movable Type, you are already ahead of the game because every other blogging tool in existence imports MT data.

    Why you migrate is a non-issue. You could just as easily be forced to abandon a GPLed package because it is no longer being upgraded and you need the latest features. Even if you write your own CMS, you still run the risk of not having time to add the features you need! Paying a license fee is just one of many considerations you need to make when picking a CMS.
  • about to switch (Score:2, Insightful)

    by trippin_efnet ( 713714 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:19PM (#9241828) Homepage
    i currently use movable type, and while i like it, and think its fairly easy to use.. i have to agree with earlier posters here, its kind of silly to use any kind of cms that is not open source.

    ive been looking around for a while now and it seems that wordpress is the most complete package with a good community behind it. the community behind it is important because if you ever run into any kinds of problems, the more people supporting it the better. i guess it is just as important as it is to have a good community behind any kind of open source software.

    if i am incorrect and there are bigger communities behind any of the other complete gpl'd packages, please let me know, maybe i missed something.

  • GPL misconception (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pretzalzz ( 577309 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:20PM (#9241834)
    Mark Pilgrim:
    Regardless, GPL software has the restrictions that it has, but it can never become more restrictive. An upgrade can't take away freedoms that I enjoyed with an older version.
    This is simply not true. Any license can be changed with the consent of all the copyright holders. With GPL software like the kernel, this is simply infeasible due to the large number of contributors. But if all of the copyright is controlled by a single company, this is trivial. The community can always fork from the last GPL release, but the community could also continue to use Movable Type pre3.0 plus [increasingly complex] patches. If they can't than they never had any freedom in the first place, regardless an upgrade didn't take away freedoms[except as could also happen if the software were GPL].
  • by WombatControl ( 74685 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:20PM (#9241836)

    I've had a site running on MT for the past two years, with nearly a year's worth of Blogger entries before that. About 4,000 individual entries and over 6,000 comments dating back over three years. One would think that migrating a site of that size would be a royal pain in the ass.

    WordPress imported the whole thing in a matter of minutes. It's easier to upgrade from MT2.6 to WordPress than it is from MT 2.6 to MT 3.0.

    WordPress is fortunate to have hit its stride just as the MT licensing brewhaha was hitting. WP 1.2 has all the features of MT, runs faster, and is completely open source and GPL licensed. It's a bit of a paradigm shift from MT - you have to get used to a dynamically-run system rather than static templates, but once you grasp the power it brings it offers a lot of new potential for blog development. Plus, there are a lot of talented hackers who have been turned off by MT licensing and will be developing WP plugins instead. WP even has features that MT doesn't - for instance automated link management. That alone makes it worth the upgrade.

    Plus, future versions will support multiple blogs under one interface, some more commenting controls, and other features. I'd expect as WordPress captures marketshare the development of new core features and plugins will increase as well.

    That's a big selling point - even if the WP developers wanted to pull the rug out under free users like Six Apart did, they couldn't. WordPress is GPL software, meaning freedom is but a fork away. Mark Pilgrim's piece does an excellent job of detailing why that freedom is so important. It's another reminder of why open source software is better than proprietary software in terms of flexibility and licensing.

  • Scoop? Slashcode? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:29PM (#9241908) Homepage
    I'm a little surprised that Scoop and Slashcode aren't being considered for blogging software. They're a little complex maybe, but they've been used for blogging pretty successfully. For example: DailyKos [] is a pretty successful 'blog, and it does very well on Scoop [] (which runs Kuro5hin []). Beastbay used to run Slashcode.
  • by WombatControl ( 74685 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:29PM (#9241916)

    Are you nuts?

    You try manually managing 4,000 entries without going completely bonkers - including permalinks, comments, and extended entries. The whole point of blog software is that you have a system that manages permalinks, organizes information, allows for open exchange, etc. Those are all things that require some kind of infrastructure. Blogging software is really just a specialized form of CMS, and anyone who argues that sites consisting of thousands of pages doesn't need some form of content management and control is quite frankly a complete and utter lunatic.

    Or to take your logic, who needs a computer? What is a computer? A device that just does mathematical calculations. If you can't figure out insanely complex matrix operations and vector math, then your're probably not very smart anyway. All those super-elite people can use a slide rule to handle all the intense computation for them. If you pay for computers, you're a sucker...

  • Commect sections (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Mc_Anthony ( 181237 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:33PM (#9241951)
    One weak aspect I find in the blogs I like to visit is they almost all have poor, clunky comment sections. Take for example.

    I'm my opinion, the slashdot comment area is very clunky and would love it they ditch their code for a modern PHP/SQL forum...
  • by Black Perl ( 12686 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:35PM (#9241970)
    Actually, OpenSourceCMS is not a very good site. First, you can't say it's unbiased--it only has PHP. There are many great CMS apps that are not PHP. Second, what it calls CMS are in many cases actually portals or weblogs, which makes the site a bit of a misnomer.

    The sites mentioned in the other responses (OSCOM and CMSMatrix) are better.
  • Re:Write your own (Score:3, Insightful)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:44PM (#9242067) Homepage Journal
    I think there is a shred of merit in what parent says.
    The DIY approach is always worth considering from a self-teaching standpoint.
    Once you've understood all of the problems that the rest of the community has solved, though, pitch your idea and get behind something popular.
    The only people benefitting from the Open Source fragmentation are the proprietary vendors. While a small number of choices may make sense, keep in mind the ancient architect who noted that houses divided against themselves don't stand...
  • Re:my own? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @05:46PM (#9242085)
    And some of us ( who might have a certain infamy for not having a weblog ) are having a bit of trouble understanding why we wouldn't like doing it that way now.

    Could someone please edify me (and consequently the rest of the viewing audience who might not yet have weblogs) why we might find it desirable to use dynamic methods to update and display a plain text journal?

    And for us old time teletype jockeys who are jacks of all trades but masters of only vi who have never figured out what an IDE might possibly be good for, how do the benefits of weblog packages offset the disadvantages that are the raison d'etre of this Slashdot article, vis a vis, licensing issues (not to mention their attendant prices).

  • Re:my own? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by crayz ( 1056 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @06:32PM (#9242470) Homepage
    Yeah, I ran a semi-blog type thing from my site, back before I knew what a blog was. I just added text into a file, coded the formatting myself, and at the end of each month renamed the file for an archive and started a new one.

    MoveableType is a radically better experience. The Luddites who are trying to say otherwise are simply wrong
  • Re:my own? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Salamander ( 33735 ) <> on Monday May 24, 2004 @09:02PM (#9243406) Homepage Journal
    Could someone please edify me (and consequently the rest of the viewing audience who might not yet have weblogs) why we might find it desirable to use dynamic methods to update and display a plain text journal?

    Simple: because it's not just a plain text journal. A weblog system gives you multiple views of your entries - last N, last N in a category, everything in a certain month, RSS/ATOM views, etc. A weblog lets you post when you only have web access and not FTP, which might be the case when you're traveling and you want to send the virtual equivalent of a postcard from a kiosk somewhere (like I did from Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania last year). A weblog lets your readers comment on your posts. Then there's a bunch of stuff I'm not sure I care about, like "trackback" and "pingback" and such, but the point remains that a weblog gives you a lot of functionality that static files don't. Sure, you could cut and paste between those static files, but it would be an error-prone pain in the ass and a big waste of space, and there'd still be some functionality (e.g. commenting) that you'd be missing.

    In short, a weblog system doesn't have to have every stupid feature the folks in the so-called "blogosphere" dream up, but it does add value to the people who use it.

  • by forevermore ( 582201 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @10:33PM (#9244009) Homepage
    There is a lot of stuff that runs behind the scenes at livejournal that isn't actually part of the livejournal package (we build their hardware, and have had chats with their developers about some of the cool stuff they're doing). But you're right, all of the basic functionality is there in the OSS version.

Someday somebody has got to decide whether the typewriter is the machine, or the person who operates it.