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Article:
  There Is No Open Source Community
Subject:   What about good design?
Date:   2006-01-13 21:56:03
From:   jtidwell
...software developers have two choices when trying to win over users: (1) add features not available elsewhere, and (2) release the source code. There is no other currency of value that developers can extend to users.


No other? What about a good user experience?


In some market niches, people will pay extra for a product which is more fun, easy, and rewarding to use. And user experience is not just about adding a bunch of features; it's about knowing your users, and designing the right kind of product and interface for them. That's often resource-intensive, but it doesn't have to be. Skill and knowledge can give a developer an edge.


When users treat good design as a differentiator, the software-as-commodity model can break down. It doesn't always, but enough that you might want to take it into account.

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  • What about good design?
    2006-01-14 07:23:25  rancor [View]

    You're making an assumption that there are no decent "designers" (what-ever that might be) that are not willing or able to utilize the Internet in the same way that FLOSS developers have.

    I believe that there is evidence to the contrary. Consider the Appeal project for KDE (http://appeal.kde.org/wiki/Appeal), an Internet-enabled effort to make KDE 4.0 beautiful and, well, appealing.

    I presume that it was this kind of "design" that you are speaking of because there is plenty of examples of good software design (as well as bad software design) in FLOSS projects.

    But, in the end the "design" you are speaking of is a "matter of taste" issue. For instance: I find the Mac OS X stuff to be visually very nice (but I tire very much with the "brushed steel" look) but at the same time I find them to all have frustrating and annoying quirks and limitations.