December 31st, 2011 1:30 PM
It's 2011! Almost 2012 I guess, maybe I can slap one entry in before the year rolls over. I'm always getting angry at stupid interfaces, so here we go again, pretend I actually update this site!
A decade ago, I did a lot with various Linux type junk, most of my work at college was on some BSD thing, and I have always liked the idea behind free software, apart from the price aspect of it. My major gripe with it, though, was its almost willful disregard for being even slightly user friendly. I don't mean user friendly in the talking paperclip or rearranging shortcuts list kind of anti-user disguised as ooh-shiny-grandma-will-buy-it-now behavior, I just mean putting 12 seconds of thought into what a person will do with something after they have downloaded it. Or even how they would download it. Things like providing a list of latest releases, not sorted chronologically (!!!). Things like having an install bundle that dumps two different executables out, with no indication which you're supposed to run (one gives a missing DLL error and another is a command line program that you aren't provided the documentation for, great!).
I figured that by now, some of these things would've gotten their act together. Look, when you foil the efforts of a computer programmer just trying to see what your app is like, then perhaps you are doing something wrong. I don't want to commit to going through your source files just to see if your app has the right features for what I'm trying to do.
When I put out friggin' Duke Nukem Doom, I included a super-helpful batch file that actually installed things, with options. I didn't just hope the user knew how to apply DeHackEd patches and wished them the best in a README. I even set up a special batch script for switching out some dumb multiplayer mods like soccer doom, and holy hell the install script even could be set to censor out duke's curses. When did I do this, 1997 or something?
I just don't know who the audience is supposed to be for some of this open source software. I have a million things I want to do, and learning every little bit of software along the way sounds so exhausting and tedious that I just don't want to bother. You're asking me to learn the syntax of your special config file to sync some files? No thanks!