Subject: Re: Users Views
From: darin@INFOGRAPH.COM (Darin Wayrynen)
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1993 17:07:01 -0700 (MST)

sorry if this hits the list late, I mailed it off to the wrong person
last time :-(

> > I think part of the reason for the lower productivity in computers (no producti
> vity gains since the
> > introduction of the IBM PC in '81) is the lack of recognition among most people
>  of the necessity for
> > knowledge and expertise.  Commercial, bundled software builds on this attitude.
> > Most organizations cannot deal with something which doesn't come in a box...
> > One of my justifications to use freeware is I know who writes it (and some of t
> he best
> > programmers in the world write freeware).
> > 
> > marty
> > 
> > 
> I couldn't agree more - point and click packaged software has turned into a 
> crutch that seems to impede not only understanding, but productivity as well.  

Do you seriously believe that packaged software impedes productivity?

First off, Marty's statement that there have been no productivity
gains since the introduction of the PC in 1981 is false.  There have
been enourmous productivity gains, in just about every measurable

Perceptionally it's even measurable just by looking around the typical
office.  10 years ago, a secretary could type up a letter on her IBM
selectric typewriter, and give it to her boss to proofread.  If there
were any corrections to be made, usually that meant that the letter
would have to be retyped from scratch.

With the advent of PC's and all the various word-processing packages,
that situation is now changed to 'one initial write of the document,
print, small edits, reprint, send'.  If that isn't isn't productivity
gains, then I don't understand the term.

Look at drafting.  10 years ago, most companies had to draft things by
hand, now they are done with packages like AutoCad, Designer, etc.  If
you've ever had to edit a E size document by hand, then you would
realize that making changes with a computer based document is much
I disagree totally that productivity is lower because of pre-packaged
software.  I don't think anyone could disprove my disagreement.

I also disagree with the statement that packaged software impedes
understanding.  If you believe that, then you must believe the
converse that free software increases understanding.  That may be true
for a programmer who wants to add a feature to the software, or make a
change that makes it more usable, but it isn't true in the sense of
someone that wants to use the software as a means to an end.  People
that use software like to have human support, pre-printed
documentation, etc.  Packaged software normally offers that.

> I use nothing but FSF software (and Linux) and find that I am just as
> productive if not more so.  However, this transition did take
> considerable experience.  As FSF-type software develops, hopefully the
> required level of expertise will go down.

I too use FSF software, and Linux (love it), but I also use commercial
based software (HP-UX, SunOs, Dos, Windows NT) etc.  So don't
mis-interpret my statements above as dislike for free software.  I
actually do like it, and try to find free equivelents to the software
I use, but blindly stating that unfree software impedes productivity
and understanding is sort of silly.

> Dan Doner
> Mechanical Engineering
> Colorado State University

Darin Wayrynen                        UUCP:     uunet!uupsi4!infogrf!darin
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