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When open source projects close the process, something's wrong

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on November 04, 2007 01:18 PM
Nathan's right about the icon set. About the Gimp redesign, not sure.

When you make your work available for public use under an open source license, it's no use crying when someone actually goes ahead and uses it under the terms of the license. Berating people for doing that would be going against the whole spirit of open source. Laying down terms and conditions in the license, and then laying out more terms and conditions (`show respect', `don't release before we do') once people actually start using the work, is simply not feasible. How do you expect millions of people from all over the world, with different cultural backgrounds, to know what you would or wouldn't like them to do, if you don't explicitly tell them at the outset, in the license?

About the Gimp redesign, I've got mixed feelings. On the one hand, I really want a small team of people to create a coherent and eminently functional user interface for Gimp. I want it to feel like it anticipates my workflow and makes it easier for me. Microsoft got it right with Office 2007, no matter what anybody says. On the other hand, the UI team can come up with the new look, but there's no reason a mass of coders can't implement it. Unless they've already allocated a fixed team of people to do the coding. But even then, someone from outside can come in with a wonderful patch that speeds up the program ten-fold, or removes the pesky bug that causes a crash once every blue moon.

Maybe Peter Sikking really doesn't need anyone new in his team to do the work of creating the redesigned UI. But what if someone outside the team comes up with a stupendous idea? It looks like then can easily send it in, and get credit for it. So ultimately, I think it's probably best to let the UI team go about it in their own way. The new Gimp deserves to be an elegant, beautiful program, not a design by committee.


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