Friday, August 26, 2005

Vitriol

http://lwn.net/Articles/148007/#Comments presents an interesting picture into the users and developers of a free software project. I don't want to overstate anything, or suggest that KDE is all roses and sweets. But what I read sounded alarms in my head. Here is a group of potential contributors displaying deep frustration, which at least will prevent contribution.

The structure and economics of free software are based on participation as opposed to consumption. The continued progress of the software depends on a growing body of contributors. The goal of producing a useful desktop requires immense resources. Where will these resources come from? Individuals and commercial interests who see a benefit from participating. Hence, anyone who wants to build a community around a project needs to cater to those who will participate and contribute.

This is so basic I wonder why I wrote it. But what if your business plan is providing product for consumers? Won't that color your approach to fostering contribution?

And before someone suggests that we need to write for our grandmothers, just remember that it is the rare grandmother who can write a desktop application, let alone environment. Powerful flexible and simple tools are the result of engineering. Removing the power and flexibility isn't the answer. The answer is design through many iterations which requires manpower.

Speaking of contribution and community, we hope to produce the KDE Commit-Digest this weekend. Watch for the announcement on the Dot.


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Another good example of NLP involves Anchors. Have you ever smelt a certain perfume or aftershave and had it remind you of a certain person or situation? Gone to a certain place that brings feelings long forgotten flooding back? Or been in any situation that creates emotional responses that would not normally be associated with it? Well if you can answer yes to any of these then you have experienced anchors. Some anchors are associated with positive feelings and some with negative emotions. However, you should be aware that anchors can be consciously installed or already existing ones altered. Here is an example:

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