Matthew Thomas on Why Free Software Generally Has Poor Usability
Matthew Thomas neatly summarized the reasons why free software products often have poorly designed user interfaces. He really nails the design issues that stem from the organic nature of Open Source development. He says:
I've been having a discussion with someone from IBM about whether it's ever possible for for Free Software to have a nice human interface.
In theory, I think it is possible. But in practice, the vast majority of open-source projects are also volunteer projects; and it seems that the use of volunteers to drive development inevitably leads the interface design to suck. The reasons are many and varied, and maybe one day I'll turn this into a long and heavily-referenced essay....