integer on Tue, 23 May 2000 16:17:41 +0200 (CEST)

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ultra !nteresant++ \ nett!me++

           JA +? 


>let's see if the moderators survive my response. ;-)

nettime moderators' !ntel!gensz <=> ur !ntel!gensz +?
tzo ___...  du + ur genez = enzurd zurv!vl +?  
[luvl! pr!vat ema!l prev auss! - du = ultra]

alison jolly - "beside concealment of ovulation in women 
what is new in human sex is the general need for privacy" 

- open source - male fasc!zt shortkut 2 !ntel!gensz


etc modl c!t!zn debr!z

>>     Amy> Definitely. I think most open source programs still have a
>>     Amy> way to go to be responsive to the end-user, rather than to
>>     Amy> programmers making other things out of them.
>> It's the difference betweem applications and toolkits (and other bits
>> unspeakable ;-)
>yes, but that in itself is ambiguous. for example, perl modules.
>they are mostly easy to understand for a fairly new perl programmer.
>and many even come with a useful standalone utiltity.
>but many users  may not always understand the more sophisticated aspects,
>nor understand how one is written. when they ask questions on the lists,
>they often get flamed.  
>so the lines between "end-user" and "programmer" are quite muddy here.
>or at least the definitions don't necessarily follow what we traditionally
>think of.
>>     Amy> The project mailing lists are generally populated by
>>     Amy> programmers, not end users, with rare, apologetic posts from
>>     Amy> non-technical end-users.
>> Most projects have different lists for developers and for users.  Some
>> projects' developers lists are not even public (means accessible to
>> every Joe, Dick and Harry (or Joan, Diane and Harriett ;-))
>ok, again, this "end-user/programmer" was largely what i had in mind...
>>     Amy> More than once I've written to the author of an open source
>>     Amy> program or posted to the mailing list, and said, "I've read
>>     Amy> the docs and haven't figured out - can it do so-and-so?" and
>>     Amy> had them respond, "Hey, great idea, why don't you write the
>>     Amy> code for that?" Many open source apps seem to be written with
>>     Amy> little expectation that there *is* an end-user, except that
>>     Amy> the end-user him/herself might program something useful out
>>     Amy> of the source code. Maybe the end-user should be renamed the
>>     Amy> "end-programmer". :-) ...
>> The problem here is that many people forget that the majority of all
>> Free Software projects are done by (unpaid) volunteers whose time is
>> limited. (I'm not assuming you do, Amy, though what you say could be
>> taken that way).
>yes, and i both write bits of free software when i can (for free) and use it, so 
>i know  what you mean.
>i'm not complaining that motives are impure, rather addressing the
>issue that i feel that there is a lot of great stuff out there that
>is too daunting/time-consuming for the average person.
>(i also teach unix and general computing to artists and other
>non-technical people, so i am familiar with what they find daunting.)
>> It might even be that the developer in question *does* put your idea
>> on his or her TODO list... but since end-user applications are not
>> developed for *you*, but for the developer that does the work, your
>> idea will probably have pretty low priority (unless it's something the
>> developer comes to like as much as you do).
>agreed... i think this was mentioned early on in the thread. again,
>not a complaint about lazy developers, but an assessment of why
>it's difficult for non-programmers to make use of much open source
>> Oh, and if you absolutely *need* the feature... you *are* free to code
>> it, or, if that's not a possibility for you (mayhap you are to busy
>> with other things to do it), you can *hire* someone to do it.  You
>> can't do that with Microzoff Word (or any other proprietary app).
>definitely. i think you are just missing my point... i am
>a *huge* proponent of open source, sitting here in a room
>with 2 linux boxes writing you this in pine. :-) ... 
>and as both a geek and a net artist, i make my projects
>almost entirely out of open source stuff. (hey nothing is 
>perfect. :-) ) ... the point i am making is, most open
>source software now is not incredibly accessible to the general
>public. yet at the same time, there seems to be a movement for
>more general acceptance, and clearly, there are financial incentives
>for many for that to happen. and, things do seem to be improving,
>but they are not there yet.
>>     Amy> I realize that it's important to develop toolkits and so on
>>     Amy> for other people to build onto, and that not everything
>>     Amy> *should* be an end-user app, but, with the open-source stuff,
>>     Amy> there seems to be an inordinate percentage of apps that seem
>>     Amy> to be end-user apps on the surface, but which then turn out
>>     Amy> to be "some-assembly-required" sorts of things.
>> When I put something out there, I'm *very* interested in
>> feedback... most of the stuff is written for me, with varying
>> attention to usability by other people.  Starting with the platform it
>i'm thinking here of apps where you download them, and then
>you have to compile them because there
>isn't a binary for your linux distro, but, oops, you don't have the library
>you need, so you gotta get that..
>oops, wait, something else i have is the wrong version... 
>and that happened to me just trying to install KOffice last wk. on last
>year's RedHat distro...  i should really upgrade RedHat but first i have
>to check the bug reports on 6.2 and make sure it's not going to screw
>up my system like the bugs 6.1 apparently had... (and i really don't
>want lilo to forcibly install itself in my MBR, which apparently it did 
>in 6.1)... 
>i also downloaded SoundStudio because i needed to do some sound editing
>on one of my linux boxes over the weekend... it turned out it to be a front
>end for sox, but it couldn't find sox so it didn't work. (weird,
>because sox was in the usual path... ) fortunately
>i am a sysadmin so i understood the problem and created a symbolic link.
>but again, a general desktop user wouldn't be able to get that going.
>again, this is not a complaint about developers, (except maybe RedHat
>because they are commercial and put out a really buggy release...)
>it is rather an analysis of why a lot of open source stuff is currently
>inaccessible to the general public.
>and as far as adding features yourself, yes, it's great to be able
>to, but i am talking here about the assumption that the user is a
>programmer capable of doing that. 
>> And the front-end/engine split is a good old UNIX tradition...
>yes, but again, a tradition that may stand questioning if
>open source is going to expand beyond the good old traditional
>unix user...  or maybe it shouldn't do that; maybe its best left to
>us geeks... ok, but then there's so much hype about open source being
>this great thing for everybody, so it's worth pointing out to people
>if what is meant is "this is great for those who have spent years learning
>unix and have a lot of time available getting things to work."
>>     Amy> There are always quite a few male geeks who argue, "Women
>>     Amy> code to get a particular job done. Men code for the joy of
>>     Amy> coding. Therefore, men code things that can be used by many
>>     Amy> others to create apps, while women code specific apps that
>>     Amy> spawn nothing further.  This is why almost all the famous
>>     Amy> open source geeks are men."
>> Crap.  One of the major annoyances for me when I have to deal with
>> `lusers' is that people are not willing or able to explore, to play
>> with a system, and thus to *learn*.  Are women worse than men?  I
>> don't think so...  (That crap was directed at those make geeks of
>> course...  geek doesn't mean smart-in-all-areas-of-life)
>well, yeah, since the quote was male geeks talking about male and
>female geeks, i'm not sure what point you are making here...
>i have that same experience with users; especially since many of
>the people i deal with are art students in their 20's, who have always
>thought of themselves and been told they are non-technical. 
>so technophobia is a big part of the problem, not just laziness.
>on the other hand, there is a point here, which our users
>run into and one which i run into
>when working on my own projects: as much fun as it might or might not
>be to explore a system (fun for me, not for most of my users), the time
>spent exploring the system is taken away from the project at hand.
>obviously, there needs to be a balance. outlook express saved everyone
>time by opening their mail attachments and so on, and people have
>paid all sorts of prices for this "no-decision required" methodology.
>and so one has to ask, "gee, how difficult is it really to open
>your attachments manually?" on the other hand, spending hours on
>end figuring out how to get the software to work is a problem when
>one needs to get work done... tinkering is fine when you have the time
>and want to, but we can't assume that everyone does.
>>     Amy> Suspicious metaphors aside, one thing that's very significant
>>     Amy> here is that there is quite a bit of incentive in terms of
>>     Amy> ego gratification (and potential for career enhancement
>>     Amy> through reputation-building) for people who code things that
>>     Amy> are *not* for end-users, and not so much for people who code
>>     Amy> things *for* end-users.
>> What I personally like best about working on Free Software is
>> gratification-by-satisfied-(and-thankful)-users.  Whether it's an
>> end-user app or a tool for programmers doesn't matter.
>that's good to hear... (clearly *somebody* must be coding these things.. ;-) )
>>     Amy> All that said, the open-source movement seems to be waking
>>     Amy> up, albeit slowly, to the needs of the end-user.
>> You mean *companies* are waking up... they want lots and lots of
>> paying customers (tons of em... you gotta make a killing, you know).
>> And lots and lots are *not* developers.  If you want masses, you have
>> to accept that they might be unwashed ;-)
>you bet! but the companies woke up when they decided to make money
>off the masses, and that opened up discussion, and that created more
>general awareness among the whole lot.  
>>     Amy> The article at
>>     Amy> entitled "It's the User, Stupid", was interesting because:
>>     Amy> a) They ran an article about these problems.
>> *They* being a commercial company (okay, so there are no
>> non-commercial companies).  Q.E.D. ;-)
>yes, but, then it got linked on slashdot, and a lot of people read
>and discussed it - commercial and non-commercial developers both.
>> If you want an MTA (a Mail Transport Agent... the software that
>> delivers email from your computer to the recipients computer), look at
>> Exim, or Postfix.  Both are vastly easier to configure... and Postfix
>> is said to be orders of magnitude more secure.
>ironically, i've got postfix on my latest-installed linux box, and
>i'm having more problems with it than i ever did with sendmail! :-)
>(but i think it's because i'm more used to sendmail.)  yes, it
>seems like postfix at least tries to be less cryptic...
>> Oh, and I'd rather use an application that is *used* by its developers
>> than an app that is designed by market research.
>yes, but then, if a product designed by market research is at least
>usable by non-developers whereas they can't use the one the developers
>designed, then what choice do the non-developers have? 
>the problem comes when open-source advocates say, "our stuff is great! you guys
>are using crap! why don't you use our great stuff? 
>oh, by the way, *you* can't actually *use* our stuff..."
>> I'd work on such stuff... if I'd want to use it myself to.  I'm not
>> getting anything for it except an occasional thank-you... and an app I
>> use myself.  If the later part would go away, I'd probably not do it.
>> But that's just me...
>>     Amy> This is a good idea, especially specifying that it was a
>>     Amy> forum for geek/non-geek interaction...
>> Another point: Many non-geeks trample into a project's forum and start
>> demanding as if the developers owe them something.  A lot of these
>> will (if they're lucky) get a "Hey, great idea, why don't you write
>> the code for that?" (yes, that's a quote from you above).
>i don't agree with boarish people on forums whether they are geeks
>or non-geeks. that was the second half of my quote, but the first
>half was a polite query. :-) .. something like, "does it have this
>feature?"  that doesn't mean, "write this feature for me!" i have
>plenty of my own users saying that to me to ever say that
>to anyone. ;-), (so i started
>trying to teach my users shell scripting so they could do their own... 
>some do, some don't...) but again, it wasn't a complaint about the feature
>not being implemented, just wondering if the developers realize that
>not all their users might be programmers, at least not of the level
>necessary to implement features in the software. are non-developers
>not welcome? if the forum is
>really just for developers, how do all these non-geeks wander in? 
>apparently, because they wanted to use the software, and followed the
>link that said, "questions? join our forum..." which doesn't usually
>say, "this is a developers-only forum." though sometimes it does.
>> Such a forum as just envisioned would have to make one thing perfectly
>> clear (to the non-geeks): the geeks in there are not obliged to do
>> whatever the non-geeks would like to have.  Unless someone would cough
>> up some money (and then the geek(s) could still refuse...)
>that's for sure.  but it would also have to make clear to the geeks
>that the non-geeks are users and still have valid perspectives 
>even though they can't code and don't use technical terminology.
>no flaming the user because he spells telnet "telenet", which was
>among the insults that happened to one non-geek on a list the other day...
>the guy wasn't demanding a feature, just asking for help because he
>couldn't get something to work.
>> Bye, J
>> PS: I do not see myself as a `geek' per se... I'd rather be called a
>> `hacker' (though I would not call myself that ;-).
>i prefer the term "gek".. geek is overly long and hackneyed. ;-)
>> PPS: First post to nettime and I'm probably already over some size
>> limit ;-)
>let's see if the moderators survive my response. ;-)

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