Mine, Trusty, Strong
Simply 3 concepts would be good, to nail it in 3 words is excellent. And yeah, mine, trusty and strong are words I'd use too, though I might substitute 'strong' for 'smart'?
I generally agree with what you (Middings) say regarding FOSS. Let me counter your counter points
FOSS developers are rightly unhappy with people who complain about "a problem" with software they obtained at no cost yet make no effort to clearly describe the problem they see.
OK, I can give you a direct example from today/last night, in a minute. Yeah, there are plenty of people out there that are aholes, or who are simply inarticulate, or perhaps daft enough to be trying to type on a phone, and so try to communicate without using enough words or whatever.
Sometimes though, they just don't have the words, though that doesn't excuse being rude or failing to make any
Let me back up a bit though, regarding "at no cost"...
There IS a cost. One of my biggest concerns when selling a client's software is trying to sell the free trial. It's not really "free" because it will cost the visitor time, time to look at the page, some screenshots, testimonials, machine specs or whatever. Then time to download, to run their virus checker on it, to figure out where the download went.. and then installing or registering or whatever. Then they have to figure out how to use the thing. You can suck down an entire afternoon just looking at 1 or 2 software free trials - and those are polished, user-friendly commercial products.
FOSS stuff is often... Not.
Some of it is, and some is great, once you get past the initial learning curve.
Thing is, FOSS products don't usually have dedicated UX peeps or writers like me, they may have graphic designers and look great, but no usability experts helping with the UI.
I promised an example - I'm transitioning my laptop over to Linux. Because it had Windows10 on it. One simple but useful little app I've used for many years is "Treepad". It's nothing too fancy, just a little hierarchy thingy that makes it easy to store notes about a project or whatever. So I spent an entire day faffing around trying to find a suitable Linux replacement (there's a Linux version of it but it doesn't seem to work).
Settled for "Cherrytree".
On Windows the text has a normal white background with black writing. For some reason on the Linux install the background is dark blue, with white writing. Urgh.
I DID RTFM. Found how to change "text background" but that just gave me a white strip behind my writing (and the white writing invisible). I googled it, wasting an hour or so. Finally decided to find the forum and be treated like an idiot... but wait! They had a simple "contact", no need for a forum? Cool - so wrote, asked politely, and the very next day
, got a polite reply, telling me to go to preferences and change the theme.
Nice guy, great software, would buy him a beer - but take a guess where "preferences" was hiding? I looked everywhere, before finally spotting it under "Edit".
As a Windows user I'd never expect to find preferences
for the software under edit
, because that should be for the document! It was also at the very top of the edit
menu, while preferences or options are usually at the bottom.
Even after I found the preferences, I couldn't find "themes"?
Because I knew it was there, because the guy who wrote it said so, I kept digging - there it was, under "Tree". So I changed the theme of the tree, done!
Except that only changed the right hand menu tree, not the main text of my documents?
Only the fact I had the Windows version with a white background kept me at it, as I knew it was possible to change this... So I kept digging around.
If by now you're thinking "Jeez Alan! This is turning into a really long post. Get to the point!" - that IS my point.
It's not free. My time, effort and attention is not
worthless, not to me, not to my wife, not to my clients etc.
I did eventually find it. See, you can select between 'rich text' or 'plain text and code' - because this, of course, is coded by a coder.
you select Rich Text then
you can see a menu to change the 'theme' for the text!!
That would never, ever
, get past any form of user-testing of any Windows product. On the bright side, this was a pleasant enough FOSS experience, with good software that hasn't crashed yet, is actually a bit better than Treepad, from a nice enough guy who is helpful and lets you contact him directly. I wish I could say the same for other FOSS experiences but I cannot.
"Why didn't you look in the docs?" Yeah, why didn't you?
From the same Cherrytree example... I find even with a nice white background and black text, wherever my cursor is, the entire line is dark blue or gray. But again, not in the Windows version?
Where in the docs should I look, for something I don't even know the name of? That's some kind of codey feature for coders who get lost in the code, and presumably something I can turn off - but I don't even know what it's called
. How am I supposed to search for it?
I hope he's still patient, because I wrote to him again. Sorry but I want a tool I can use; I just don't have time to figure this out.
If a commercial product then yes, rude and annoying people would be asking "How do you turn off this crappy blue thing? It's stupid!" etc. But then again they can use that feedback to create a better, easier to use product, get more sales, more resources, make it even better and so on.
So I absolutely agree:
If I want better software I could
write it myself, implausible as that may be, I could
read the manual and Google and forums and stuff, I could
take time out to patiently explain how I, as a normal person, expect certain things to be in certain places and how confusing I find the FOSS thing etc etc.
That's part of the frustration of FOSS (FoFOSS). Nobody can argue with those points - but they suck anyway!
But imagine if you could write an open source version of Windows, and avoid all of the above confusion etc?
That's why this excites me. This is way better than Linux. This is, potentially, Windows without Microsoft (tm)