Usability is hard, redux

Finally finished reading the usability piece I linked to on Friday, and its links, on usability, and I was surprised and disappointed at how it turned out. While I agreed with John Gruber’s early assertions that silly interfaces like the CUPS disaster aren’t a problem for “Aunt Tilly” but rather a problem for each and every one of us, he stretched and stretched this point until he came to the conclusion that Open Source software was never going to be as usable as Windows or Mac. Nonsense. I think FOSS is coming out of the back room and off of the servers onto the desktop, and developing desktop UI is non-trivial, but that progress is being made. RedHat made huge leaps in versions 7, 8, and 9, Ximian is vastly better than what came before it, and even Walmart computers are likely to drive Sun to improve usability. It’s a matter of time and effort.

Slashdot picks it up with Still More on Open Source Usability

Dan Gillmor’s eJournal, on the other hand, must not have gotten the memo, as he reports Linux on Desktop Making Big Strides. “It looks like I’m going to have to reconsider something I’d been taking for granted — that Linux on the desktop, and especially the laptop, was a non-starter in the operating systems race. While I wasn’t paying sufficient attention, the proverbial tortoise has been playing some serious catch-up.”

Glad everyone’s talking…

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.