Five Issues Holding Back Open Source Software


In an article at First Monday, Michelle Levesque explores five issues that are holding back open source software. The abstract:

Despite the growing success of the Open Source movement, most of the general public continues to feel that Open Source software is inaccessible to them. This paper discusses five fundamental problems with the current Open Source software development trend, explores why these issues are holding the movement back, and offers solutions that might help overcome these problems. The lack of focus on user interface design causes users to prefer proprietary software‚s more intuitive interface. Open Source software tends to lack the complete and accessible documentation that retains users. Developers focus on features in their software, rather than ensuring that they have a solid core. Open Source programmers also tend to program with themselves as an intended audience, rather than the general public. Lastly, there is a widely known stubbornness by Open Source programmers in refusing to learn from what lessons proprietary software has to offer. If Open Source software wishes to become widely used and embraced by the general public, all five of these issues will have to be overcome.
From Fundamental issues with open source software development
Referenced Tue Apr 13 2004 17:32:53 GMT-0600

I don't necessarily disagree with any of these issues, but many OSS projects are not aimed at having the general public "embrace open source software." For the most part, open source software thrives where there is still experimentation and change happening. That's not the right place for the general public. Certainly there are some projects ostensibly aimed at the general public, desktops and office tools are the best examples. Chandler is maybe the most anticipated project in this class. An analysis of Gnome, KDE, OpenOffice, and Chandler on these issues would be interesting.