[mythtv-users] Why Free Software has poor usability ?

Tom Dexter digitalaudiorock at gmail.com
Mon Aug 4 17:27:51 UTC 2008

On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 12:23 PM, Russ Dill <russ.dill at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 4, 2008 at 9:11 AM, Param Singh <mithu.singh at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Interesting article :: Why Free Software has poor usability, and how
>> to improve it
>> ============================================================
>> Link :: http://mpt.net.nz/archive/2008/08/01/free-software-usability
>> ============================================================
>> Major Points in the article
> Have you never worked on commercial software? I think all of these
> could apply to any commercial software I worked on, plus more.

Amen to that.  Anyone who gripes about "usability" specifically in
regard to free software has obviously never had to use Lotus
Notes...:D (anyone who has just got a cold chill...).

I'd go one step further...in my experience as a developer I've noticed
that very poor decisions get made in commercial software because "can
we do it" _always_ seems to trump "should we do it".  That's how
feature bloat and a lot of hopeless spaghetti code are born, and
everything suffers as a result down the road: usability, stability,
future development, you name it.  That's often the sad reality of
sales/marketing driven development.

Quite the opposite seems to be the case in most open source projects.
If a certain feature or a specific approach to a feature/issue will
become a nightmare down the road, most of the time the smart long term
decision is made.

In my career I've often been the pessimist pointing out the
nightmarish future of such decisions to no avail, only to be proven
horrifyingly correct later on.


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