Subject: Re: FW: Why would I pay for Ximian software?
From: Harald Koch <chk@pobox.com>
Date: Thu, 03 Jan 2002 10:59:36 -0500

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, Ian Lance Taylor
had to walk into mine and say:
> 
> The free desktop has to be about as easy to
> use as the proprietary alternatives,

Which, takes us back to the original discussion (see the Subject:
line). Current free desktops are hard to use on their own. They're even
harder for people who have learned existing proprietary systems, and
have developed habits and expectations.

> and there has to be a significant
> number of available consumer applications, and those applications must
> be able to share data with applications running on existing desktop
> systems with significant market share. 

Those applications also have to share user knowledge with existing
desktop systems with significant market share, something most GUI
designers (even the pros) seem to forget.

> although of course matters
> are steadily improving.

I disagree, because I've seen no significant improvement in usability in
the last two years of gnome/kde development.

User interface design and implemenation is *hard*, and unprestigious.
One of the common incentives for OSS, community prestige, doesn't seem to
come into play for user interface issues. Hackers don't congragulate
each other on their cool user interfaces, IME.

My employer sells a product that is decidedly "back office"; it plugs
into the servers, and only an administrator uses the UI. However, we
spend almost half of our development effort (especially design) on the
UI, because it is the part of the product that purchasers interact with,
and our UI differentiates us from our competitors. However, without a
purchaser, the incentive to do UI work would disappear; there's no
*other* incentive.

-- 
Harald Koch     <chk@pobox.com>

"It takes a child to raze a village."
		-Michael T. Fry