The phrase "Give me convenience or give me death" seems to ring true for a lot of folks, developers or otherwise. Convenience is what will be our undoing. (I've been with FOSS software for 25+ years, so I speak from experience).

· · tootstream · 6 · 4 · 10

Yep, it's universal. Not sure how many times I've had the discussion with people about MS-Windows vs. free operating systems:
"But {free OS} doesn't have *real* support, and Windows just works, and I don't want to spend time learning {OS}."
"But if you do, you take control. Every OS will cause you problems, but knowledge can save you."
"Nah, I'm good."
[time passes]
"Damn, Windows Update just blew up/MS dropped support for device X/etc."
"Huh. If only you'd been warned..."

@craigmaloney I would be more convinced of that if I hadn't seen FOSS developers ignoring any concerns about convenience (i.e. usability) for the past 25+ years, instead largely considering only themselves as their target userbase. The gap between interfaces targeting "power users" and interfaces targeting "regular people" doesn't seem to have narrowed much, and meanwhile even systems that do target regular people often break in ways that can only be fixed by power users.

@freakazoid Convenience is meant here in a selfish term, not a usability term.

@craigmaloney But I don't think people are by and large selfish. I think we just don't really understand what their needs are and don't consider the things they want to be legitimate.

Like, for example, I don't think most people really want to use Facebook; they want to connect with their family and friends, and Facebook just happens to be where they are. Likewise Facetime, etc. They want to have calls with family and friends. So they just look at you blankly if you suggest different software.

@freakazoid @craigmaloney
In my eyes the issue is different. Your refrigerator or washing machine are not made to be easily customizable or fixable by you, they are preconfigured and likely pre-installed for you, and you happily adhere rather strictly to their usage manual. Crucially you also know, that if something were to go wrong, or some upgrade or fix was necessary, or even if you just need an advice, there is a free market of affordable local experts to choose from to help you (not to mention warranty). The proprietary software culture has made sure this free market does not exist, and even the few islands of FOSS that exist have to adhere by the standards set by it: No infrastructure, no quality standards, no competition, only marketing and pop culture.

Many people think that FOSS has been tried and didn't work, or didn't work well, but as long as most people accept proprietary software and its culture and consider FOSS just an alternative, you can't say it has been tried. It's still the same old battle. It's only natural that first you need to win over the niche expert markets and then move on to general public, but we haven't yet fully achieved even that.

@craigmaloney Of course, this is not limited to FOSS - it's a symptom of the misguided "developer"/"user" dichotomy. Why is it that if I want to do anything interesting on Mac OS, the thing that I open is Bash?

@freakazoid @craigmaloney and if you actually take the time to try and fix those problems, you spend a year bogged down in trying to get build systems and packaging to work before you can actually do the work you want to do, and everyone hates you for doing it! 😂


The guy who fixed a software package with an ableist slur for a name and still wants to make an accessibility dashboard for it at some point

@trechnex @craigmaloney And the software you're fixing has been a posterchild for unusability since its inception, even before people in the community started caring about ableism. I think the main thing that's gotten people using it is the high price of the alternatives and reduced ability to pirate those alternatives. And its Windows port doesn't suck nearly as bad as it used to.

I've been at it a whole lot longer and don't disagree. I had some thoughts about some of your other posts today but since you bit my head off the other day I'll just keep those to myself. Everything can be fixed. Will it be fixed? Well that's the real trick, isn't it?

@mike That day was not great, in part because it felt like everyone who used RSS had to weigh in on it as though nobody had ever heard of RSS before, or that we needed to fix all the things in a thread. I apologize for my brusqueness.

@craigmaloney It's a bit of a double-edged sword, though; there's some real upsides to scratch-your-own-itch as the development impetus, as I'm reminded of often when I have to interact with proprietary software (which is every day to one degree or another) and feel the evident lack.
I remember the original announcement - they used it for Netscape Netcenter to fetch Associated Press articles for the Netscape home page. I was around when David Winer "claimed it" and changed a few things to support podcast "attachment" (note this is not plural - that was the downfall of RSS). Then he gave the IP rights to Harvard Law School. Atom was created to resolve the attachment and IP situations. Then Google came out with phase one of EEE and produced bastard feeds that were really RSS 0.96 (complete with Dublin Core) or whatever wrapped in Atom - because they could. This meant if your software once read a single format you had to adapt it to handle all of them, plus Yahoo media and Dublin Core and a dozen other microformats. This killed off a lot of readers so Google could dominate. Then atom was extended by ActivityStreams1 and turned into a federation protocol (OStatus). Then Google killed off both their own feeds and later their reader product. So I kind of understand the mess. My best advice is still not to maintain the steaming pile of shit but I don't have any real problem with it. Atom (without activities and without embedded RSS) isn't bad - but otherwise we're basically just choosing which piles of shit to rally behind. Actually for my own software I should probably go back to pure Atom - as I don't need to federate with OStatus these days and I admittedly added in my own stuff to support DFRN over OStatus a decade ago. I'm not trying to get in a fight - just thinking out loud. So pure Atom (WITH discovery) is what I choose to support after weighing the alternatives. I'll push it out today or tomorrow after I remove the extra baggage.
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