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

Coin_Graham at genpt.com Coin_Graham at genpt.com
Thu Aug 7 15:23:05 UTC 2008

mythtv-users-bounces at mythtv.org wrote on 08/07/2008 09:06:14 AM:

> [image removed]
> Re: [mythtv-users] Why Free Software has poor usability ?
> John Drescher
> to:
> Discussion about mythtv
> 08/07/2008 09:06 AM
> Sent by:
> mythtv-users-bounces at mythtv.org
> Please respond to Discussion about mythtv
> On Thu, Aug 7, 2008 at 8:53 AM, Mike Perkins
> <mikep at randomtraveller.org.uk> wrote:
> > David Brodbeck wrote:
> >> Raphael wrote:
> >>> Heck, I quit using anything to do with MS office and solely use Open
> >>> Office _because_ of usability.
> >> I dunno, Open Office is I think a classic example of "chasing
> >> taillights."  They're basically trying to make a work-alike for an
> >> obsolete version of Microsoft Office at this point.
> >>
> > They're basically trying to make a work-alike for a version of
> Microsoft Office
> > *that everyone knows how to use* at this point.
> >
> Microsoft decided to completely redesign the GUI for most of its
> office products with no option of backward compatibility forcing
> everyone who knew the old interface (which was basically the same for
> at least 10 years) to relearn how to use office. For me at work most
> of my users after having the new office for a few days asked for the
> old office back since they did not want to spend valuable time
> relearning office. I certainly would not call that a usability
> improvement.
> John
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This is a perfect example of usability thrown to the wind for the almighty
dollar.  Microsoft realizes that no one will buy a product that looks
exactly like the previous product even if there are new features
(specifically if no one uses those extra features).  So they re-write the
document code, change the extension, and the UI.  This approach has worked
well for them (Vista anyone?).>>

Since we are holding M$ up as the standard of usability.  This Christmas I
got a copy of Vista and a "Vista Compatible" video card.  The 2 didn't work
together at all.  I'm sure I could've called M$ for $100/hr and they would
gladly tell me it wasn't Vista's fault.  I spent hours troubleshooting just
to eventually downgrade to XP.  Plugged the Video Card in and it worked

I can tell you from years of working in Support, QA, etc. that software
companies are concerned with making money.  If the number of users effected
by a bug is less than the relative cost of fixing said bug, it will wait
till the next cycle (if at all).

I'm going to put the usability of MythTV to the test.  I'm somewhat
familiar with linux but a power user by no means.  I'm looking to have a
backend/frontend system in the USA on Comcast cable.  I'd like to put
together the simplest system possible.  I'm still working on the hardware,
but I'm going to use Mythbuntu for the software.  The goal is to be able to
watch and record SD and HD content.  That's it.

I'll post my experience as a typical noob user.


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