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Responses to ESR's "Luxury of Ignorance"

Mar 01, 2004, 20:00 (33 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mahdi Abdulrazak, Eric S. Raymond)

Iraqi LUG: The Current Interfaces Have No Future

[ Thanks to Mahdi Abdulrazak for this link. ]

"The reason for me writing this article is that Raymond is taking Microsoft as a direction example that the Open Source community could follow. Quote: 'This kind of fecklessness (poor UI usability and design) is endemic in open-source land. And it's what's keeping Microsoft in business--because by Goddess, they may write crappy insecure overpriced shoddy software, but on this one issue their half-assed semi-competent best is an order of magnitude better than we usually manage.'

"It’s very important for the open source community to be aware of the fundamental usability problems of computers, operating systems and software, that surly also apply to Microsoft and the software industry in general. Microsoft set up its focus rather to imagination speaking techniques then on the problems which are caused by the old techniques of usability and UI design..."

Complete Story

ESR: The Luxury of Ignorance: Part Deux

"A few days ago I uttered a rant on user-interface problems in the Common Unix Printing System. I used it to develop the idea that the most valuable gift you can give your users is the luxury of ignorance--software that works so well, and is so discoverable to even novice users, that they don't have to read documentation or spend time and mental effort to learn about it.

"This rant made it onto all the major open-source news channels, so I was expecting a fair amount of feedback (and maybe pushback). But the volume of community reaction that thundered into my mailbox far surpassed what I had been expecting â€" and the dominant theme, too, was a bit of a surprise. Not the hundreds of iterations of 'Tell it, brother!,' nor the handful of people who excoriated me as an arrogant twerp; those are both normal features of the response when I fire a broadside. No, the really interesting part was how many of the letters said. in effect, 'Gee. And all this time I thought it was just me...'"

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