It’s pretty simple, really: the Six Apart folks made a business decision. It’s the same business decision that Noah Grey has said that he wishes he’d made: charging a licensing fee for Greymatter back when he was actively involved with it.
Is making money a wrong thing? I don’t think so. We’ve seen countless “free” things offered on the Internet, only to have them pulled eventually. The model’s pretty clear: you offer it for free, build a userbase, then work to monetize the userbase. Some companies work to have a partially free structure and hope that added value will get you to pay them money–see Yahoo!, ESPN.com, and countless, countless other companies. In fact, I myself offer a free hosting service, RMFO-Blogs, to the people in the community which I vehemently support. Do I have a paid level to RMFO-Blogs? Yes, I do. Does that mean that I intend for everyone to end up having to pay me? No. That is a business decision that I have made–I’ve chosen not to do business so much as I have to enable people.
Let’s also be clear: TypePad was never going to pay all the bills. The hosting fees there are pretty reasonable and pretty close to the market level, and they’re adding value to the hosting by providing software that your average hosting provider won’t [and actually cannot, under MT’s previous licensing]. 6A likes to eat.
Let’s also be clear about another thing: in the software world of today, if there is a non-free/FREE package out there that has any kind of marketshare, there will be a free/FREE analog. Hobbyists live for these kinds of things. Of all the logware out there, the one with the largest market share that is GPL’d is WordPress, which you should know by now that I use and support. Being popular doesn’t always mean best/most featureful, but it does often mean that It Just Works.
If you’re looking for software to power your *log, you’ve got plenty of options out there. 6A now has one that you pay for in MT. There is a free analog in WP. There are many, many other options out there if you’ll take the time to look. Make a sound business decision of your own and find the logware that fits your needs.