[mythtv] MythTV Usability Report

Joe Votour joevph at yahoo.com
Mon Jan 9 04:43:38 UTC 2006

--- Steve Hodge <stevehodge at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 1/9/06, Brad DerManouelian
> <myth at dermanouelian.com> wrote:
> > Again, I need to point out that my 8 year old
> daughter can work
> > nearly all of my mythTV system and never read a
> word of any manual.
> > My 14 year old can do it all and never read the
> manual. They're below
> > the grade-level of the average Mythtv user.
> That doesn't mean there aren't problems. The pural
> of anecdote is not
> data. Jono has provided examples of the things he
> thinks are not
> ideal, to simply dismiss them all with a "RTFM!" or
> "You're wrong" or
> "My kids don't have any problems" is incredibly
> unhelpful. And  for
> what it is worth my wife won't try to do much more
> than watch
> recordings because it is not simple. Yet she was the
> one who
> programmed the video when still used that piece of
> antiquated junk.
> > Also, it's pointless to complain about things that
> have been fixed in SVN.
> How is a user running the latest stable release
> supposed to know what
> has been fixed? Do you really want to discourage
> users reporting
> problems by shouting "It's fixed in SVN" at them all
> the time?
> I don't run SVN so I don't know, but I strongly
> expect that at least
> some of the issues raised still exist.
> > Developers knew it was an issue and fixed it. What
> more can you expect them to do??
> I can expect them to reply with a lot more
> politeness than has been
> shown in this thread. The tone of this thread has
> been outright
> dismissal that anything is amiss. That's not the way
> to treat someone
> trying to offer constructive criticism.
> Steve
> _______________________________________________
> mythtv-dev mailing list
> mythtv-dev at mythtv.org

Anecdotes don't necessarily mean much, I agree, as
everybody has different comprehension levels.  Some
people just "get things" more quickly/easily than
others.  Some people are more likely to experiment
than others (some people won't experiment out of fear
of "breaking" the device).

I also agree that there is a bit of an attitude on
this and the users' list, heck, I know that I've
contributed to it a bit sometimes.  But, as a
commercial and open-source developer myself, as well
as just a regular user, I can see why it is happening.
 Here are things that happen quite often on the users
and dev lists:
1. People don't read the documentation and then run
into issues during their installation or usage that
are clearly documented.
2. People don't search the archives and then ask a
question that has been asked over a dozen times in the
3. People use SVN but don't keep up with the dev list.
 (Then they ask questions that were covered on the dev
I can quite easily see how developers would become
upset and potentially rude to people.  Heck, this week
I spent three days trying to solve a problem at work
that one of our salespeople was having, and it turned
out that he was running an old version of the
software.  Believe me, anything that I have posted
either on this or the users' list pales in comparison
to the words that I had with the Sales Director (who
was riding my back the entire time).

People who are running the SVN release are expected to
keep up with the dev list and the commits list.  All
users are expected to be searching the archives before
posting their questions.  People should try to at
least diagnose their own problems.

I think that you're confusing commercial support with
open-source support.  Open-source support is done out
of the love of the software, and the genuine desire to
improve the software.  That said, many developers try
to keep the open-source support to a minimum, so that
they can continue to improve the software in the way
they feel is the best.

I'm quite certain that people would be glad to accept
money in exchange for providing technical support for
any MythTV/ivtv/lirc question that you (or anybody
else) have.  That would absolve the users the
responsibility of searching the archives and following
the lists, but would come at a price.  I hear that
Microsoft charges $150 per incidengt for this, I don't
know what price somebody familiar with MythTV would

If you want commercial level support, buy a commercial

Phew!  Now that I've said my piece, I'm certain that I
need to don my fire-retardant suit.

-- Joe

Yahoo! DSL  Something to write home about. 
Just $16.99/mo. or less. 

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