Centralization and Blogging Tools
A few notes in outline form about various blogging tools that I am more or less familiar with, as they relate to issues of centralization. I'm assuming that the weblogs are public. Assume browser-based editing, with the caveat that all tools listed here have XML-RPC and/or SOAP interfaces, which screws around with centralization. For example if you have a Blogger site, you can retain a copy of all the data by using a tool that connects through XML-RPC or SOAP. The tools are listed in alphabetic order.
Blogger is centralized for editing, and decentralized for reading.
All data is stored on a Pyra server.
Blogger can send static content to be served on other sites, using their FTP capability, or they can be hosted on blogspot.com, which is run by Pyra.
The basic Blogger service is free, the professional version is $30 per year.
Limited community services.
Manila is centralized for both writing and reading.
You download and install the software (Windows or Mac) and install it on a publicly-accessible Internet server.
UserLand hosts free Manila sites created between 1999 and 2001, and licenses the software for $899 per year per server; $299 for academic applications. Hundreds of sites per server.
Movable Type is centralized for both writing and reading, on your server, not the vendor's server.
You download software and install it on a publicly-accessible Internet server.
The sites are hosted on your server, which is also where the editing takes place.
Movable Type is free for personal use, $150 for commercial use.
With Radio UserLand the editing software is on your desktop computer, as is all the data.
You can host the rendered site on a UserLand server, or on your own server through FTP.
Community features are centralized, but the centralized software is free, and has been cloned in Python and PHP (both are open source). Most but not all of the community interfaces can be turned off through the prefs system.
Radio is $40 per year with free updates; 30-day free trial.