I was very pleasantly surprised to see such abundant cluefulness in a rant by Eric Raymond (known as “ESR”) on the state of graphical user interfaces in open source software projects. He takes the CUPS project as a specific example, but he rightly says that it is only an example of the numerous projects that sin against the proverbial “Aunt Tillie”. Be sure to also read the followup article. The CUPS maintainers were actually very receptive to Raymond’s comments.
I must admit that I was floored. Raymond is one of the open source/free software advocates that frequently strikes me as being a bit too much of a zealot to be taken at face value. I appreciate that Raymond and people like him (such as Richard Stallman, known as “RMS”) must exist in order to help balance the scales toward the center, but I am frequently put off by his rhetoric. For once, however, I find myself in complete agreement with him. Now that open source has proved its technical merit, those that wish to make a significant step into the average user’s desktop must learn lessons such as the ones Raymond teaches here.