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What is Melody? [openmelody.org]
Melody is an open source content management, blogging and publishing platform, derived from the popular blogging tool Movable Type. At its onset, Melody is distinct from Movable Type by having put in place a set of processes that assist the greater Movable Type and Melody communities to contribute features, changes and fixes more freely and quickly back to the core product. This allows independent developers to pursue the features and preferences that matter to them most.
The promise of Melody is to serve its community by working to build a product according to the principles and philosophies that have helped make WordPress, Apache, Linux, Firefox and other open source applications so successful. Those principles include creating and fostering open communication channels with its user base, by building transparency into its roadmap, and by permitting users to more freely contribute back to the core product.
There's no code yet, but they're expecting to have something ready by this Fall.
Since Wordpress is free, cheaper doesn't work. Arguments about actual quality aside (please!), since WP is perceived to be a high-quality product, it strikes me that Melody will have to have some really compelling value that Wordpress and WordpressMU don't have. Tough slug.