[Fedora-marketing-list] Fedora usability : a new project?

Nicolas Mailhot nicolas.mailhot at laposte.net
Tue Aug 8 12:53:36 UTC 2006

Le Mar 8 août 2006 13:14, Paul W. Frields a écrit :

>> We have a great product. That needs promoting and user feed back.
> The first is what Marketing is for.  The second is what Bugzilla is for.

I strongly disagree.

1. The weight of a Fedora bugzilla report is pretty low,

2. A lot of Fedora packagers consider it's not their job to push user
reports upstream.

3. Using upstream bugzilla is asking to be ignored - any feature evolution
(and usability fixes are always considered feature evolutions) will be
discussed in mailing lists/irc channels by developpers between themselves.
Not in the bugzilla where the reporter can follow the discussion. Then
when the user complains after a few months he'll be informed the decision
was taken somewhere else without leaving him any opportunity to make his
case or asking seriously fo his input. (and you and I know old bugzilla
bugs will be ignored forever, since if they were important, someone would
have acted on them before)

Which means any problematic interaction between app A, B and C (typical
usability problem) requires users:

1. to be able to locate the A, B, C forums where usability is discussed

2. to join them, learn the mood and discussion conventions

3. to convince A, B, C to work together (with zero credentials "just basic
user report"), probably at an inconvenient date for upstream

ie requires a *lot* of time, communication skills, mastery of technical
english, etc

Practically that means that without any group support a user report will
go nowhere. Even if he found a perfectly valid problem.

Distributions which create usability SIGs are able to influence upstream
evolution the way their users need. They help formalise user reports in
clean technical english. They are able to gather data and numbers that can
not be waved away like an individual user-level report often is if
upstream deems it inconvenient.

Distributions which don't are only represented by their developpers, who
are supposed to represent distro users but in practice only push their
personal agenda (which may be good or bad but has often little in common
with the wishes of users)

No usability group gave us most of the UI gems of early GNOME 2, and an
awful lot of the bad reputation GNOME and Fedora still suffer from (GNOME
is not Fedora but Fedora/Red Hat people were certainly major players in
the decision making process then).

Till Fedora developpers/maintainers consider usability problems bugs (to
be fixed) and not "enhancements" (to be ignored at will), someone else
needs to mediate between Fedora users and all the upstreams Fedora

Lastly this kind of group is a major generator of user goodwill - "let the
users engage upstream alone" leads to the kind of Fedora-bashing articles
we've seen lately.


Nicolas Mailhot

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