flosofl writes "Matthew Paul Thomas has an entry on his blog called Why Free Software Has Poor Usability, And How To Improve It. While this advice is helpful and may indeed lead to improvements in many open source programs, the guidelines may be much more difficult for smaller projects. From the entry, 'Free Software has a long and healthy tradition of "show me the code." But when someone points out a usability issue, this tradition turns into "patches welcome," which is unhelpful since most designers aren't programmers. And it's not obvious how else usability specialists should help out.'" Thomas has been developing the ideas in this essay for years. The critique is comprehensive, listing 15 challenges in the way software projects, and in particular free software projects, are structured, with suggestions for improving each one.
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