Developers vs Grandmas

Clint Savage herlo1 at
Thu Oct 23 14:56:26 UTC 2008

On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 8:50 AM, David Nalley <david at> wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 11:56 PM, Doug Berry <slasherzee at> wrote:
>>>>Jonas wrote:
>>>historically speaking developers are good at creating new development
>>>models, cool features, new and innovative stuff and be the cowboys on
>>>the frontline. One thing that developers has been better and better at
>>>over the years is human interaction, this is still an area that it is
>>>good to have outsiders for (the grandma example) To not only drive the
>>>technical frontline but also the usability.
>>>They are the ones to write and merge the code, to decide which idéas go >where. So my question about statistics is about that, to know if there >are many people not writing code that actually have any influence about >what goes where.
>> Hi, I'm new here, but a long-time Fedora user. I think Jonas raised a very valid point about the needs of the end-user (grandma's) and are they being adequately voiced within the Fedora community.
>> I'm an author and book designer, and I could not write a line of code, if it led to a nightly date with Keira Knightley. (Sorry)
>> Not that I am disparaging developers, far from it. They are the backbone of the Linux world, and FOSS! But it is the end-user that actually uses our software: or not. Input about their needs and habits is vital.
>> Let me give an example: Fedora 8-KDE, the GIMP spin-off Krita. Great little version except that it was almost un-usable for a real artist. Why, because the pop-up menu boxes, you needed to do the work, obstructed the image area. Sometimes, they got so big you couldn't even see the right scroll-bar. You were forever moving them around; the only other choice was to turn them all off. They would not slide behind the image window.
>> That one flaw, in an otherwise great piece of software, ruined my experience and led me to yum in the Gimp. I imagined, at the time, the developers simply did not realize how such a thing might effect the whole thing in totality. Probably because they were not artists and too busy writing code and not doing art. That particular problem was fixed in newer versions, but the point is still valid. If that one detail happened to a new Fedora user who was an artist, we might just have drove her back to Daddy Bill.
>> Please do not think that I am disparaging KDE. KDE rocks my world. Take Ktorrent for example. What can I say about that beauty, except eternal hugs and kisses to whoever created it.
>> Anyway. I realize the code-writers cannot be to theoretical; they are limited by what they can do and not always by what they would like to do. But marketing is not just about providing products to a fickle user-audience that knows it has choices and wants to be pampered. It is vital to create cutting-edge software that people can depend on and work with. And to do that the code-writers need input from their grandma.
> While I don't know that this is the proper list for discussion - I'd
> agree that the 'grandmas' and other end-users can offer valuable
> input. Part of the problem is most of the time they don't communicate
> the problems they are having which could probably be fixed. So that
> poses the question how do they have influence and power to get
> involved? The answer is pretty simple - they file bugs, they become
> involved in the process. The perception of developers alone wielding
> the power to direct a project is probably an accurate reflection of
> reality - but only because others aren't getting involved. For
> instance, the problem you cite above with Krita - did you file a bug
> against it? If you did, that's great. If you didn't - how do you
> expect your perspective and the problems you have to be known?
> David Nalley

And I will make quite the opposite argument.  If you are a grandma,
how are you to know that logging bugs will help your situation?  I
think this is an opportunity for us as ambassadors to make inroads
with our families and get them involved in the process.  Without
average users providing perspective, how do we plan to make an
operating system to accommodate their needs as well?



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