distrowatch comment: "Ubuntu Breezy Badger - is it too dumbed down? "

Anders Karlsson trudheim at gmail.com
Sat Dec 31 08:58:26 GMT 2005

On 12/30/05, Derek Broughton <news at pointerstop.ca> wrote:
> Anders Karlsson wrote:

> > Let's pretend you are going to write a spreadsheet application Scott..
> > Just for arguments sake yeah? Let's for arguments sake say that you
> > include a ROUND() function in your application, because it makes sense
> > and it is a rather handy function after all. You are at that moment
> > making assumptions about your users (if you intend for anyone else
> > ever to use that spreadsheet application that is).
> If you did it that way, you'd be making a serious mistake.

Okay, a hobbyist writing things for fun may do it that way around.
Arguably a spreadsheet application is a somewhat large app for a
hobbyist to write though.

Trust me, I know the proper process (albeit getting corporations to
stick to requirement doc/system doc/functional spec yada yada is hard)
and if you intend others to use it, finding out what they want and how
they expect it to work is a good idea.
Free software often start as an itch being scratched though, and that
means "proper process" is not likely to be followed. YMMV and all
that. :)

> > You are at that
> > very moment saying "I know what is good for my users" - whether you
> > like it or not.
> No, you would have checked with your users and found that it _was_ a useful
> function before you bothered to add it.  If you were any good...

As I said, itch/scratch vs proper process.. :)

> > Now imagine a couple of users giving you grief over your decission to
> > include that ROUND() function because it isn't the right type of
> > ROUND() function. You decided to do it the mathematical way, and these
> > users expected it to work the way Excel does it.
> >
> > You included functionality because you found it useful, perhaps other
> > users requested it, but a small select few didn't like it.
> See, you've already turned it around.  You are now saying that the software
> was written the way it was because users (other than the select few) needed
> it.

Okay, I should have included a timeline showing a 6 month gap between
ROUND() being included and first public release...

> > Out of interest, how would you go about writing software if you did
> > not make assumptions about how potential users would use the software?
> It's called "analysis".  Software written based on assumptions goes the way
> of anything else that's designed based on assumptions.

It was a rethorical question based upon his earlier position in the argument. :)


Anders Karlsson <trudheim at gmail.com>

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