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Monday, November 19th, 2007, 7:55 am

The Scary Face of Free Software?

ONE pet peeve of mine has a lot to do with stereotypes. To give an example, consider an old FUD phrase which says that open source programs are not user friendly. Well, open source is a development method (Free software has more to do with the licences and distribution as well). Buy why on earth does a development method affect user interfaces? It does not. Just because you close your code and take it away from users (who can otherwise bring valuable feedback in the form of patches) won’t necessarily (and magically) fix a broken GUI.

There is no correlation between level of openness and user experience. It is a myth.

The type of FUD mentioned above is just one among many. FUD changes perception. it scares people. Here is a message sent to me by a friend (Harvey) about the fear of leaving Microsoft Windows.

Have you ever written an article about the fear of change?

I think people like myself who have finally become adept at using the Microsoft OS, hesitate to switch. It’s analogous to birthing your second baby, especially if delivering the first was a painful experience.

Apprehension and fear are normal mind blockers. However, I would guess that the younger generation with years of computer expertise is more daring, and therefore more willing to experiment and acquiring something new and better than what they now use. That’s probably why I-pods, Blackberries, games and other devices are still selling like hot cakes.

You might want to expand, correct and add to this gibberish, and to make an article out of it.

Well, many articles have been written about the barriers to GNU/Linux adoption on the desktop. They address the issue of fear as well. It is always important to ask oneself, “am I being told the truth, or is someone trying to manipulate me using scare tactics?” In many cases, it’s the latter. Vested interest is to blame.

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