Why oh why does this have to go on?
In F/OSS projects, we have seen the results of projects upsetting the
users and developers in XFree86 and more recently in GNOME. The result
is that the project becomes irrelevant.
While the new behavior in GiMP is certainly more correct and more
appropriate (I agree with the motion, but not the action) one has to
take into account the human side of the issue. Let's look on this from
an angle from which many of us can certainly identify.
The name "Jesus" is correctly pronounced [hey-soos']. Yet, when
speaking of the religious figure with the name spelled "J-e-s-u-s" it is
pronounced as [jee'-zuhs]. It is most certainly 'incorrect' by
technical standards to pronounce the latter in any way other than
[hey-soos'] and yet it will upset people tremendously if/when you do.
Now let's look at what we're experiencing here with GiMP. Kind of the
same thing right? We're challenging the status quo of GUI behavior
based on millions of man-years of user experience where "Save" saves a
file in the same name and format it was opened and "Save as..." gives
the user a chance to change the name and/or format. This has been a
defacto standard behavior in GUIs for decades. This move was bound to
upset people and it has. The whole point of the GUI is to be consistent
Now I'll insert my own pet peeve here. Lotus Notes. The client found
in 6.5 which is STILL in use in some large companies, has decided that
the F5 key means "lock the client requiring a password to open it."
Secondly, when does an APPLICATION need to be locked? It's the screen
which needs to be locked, not the app! Firstly, F5 has always been
"Refresh" as far as I'm concerned and most users agree with this
expectation. And after three years of using Lotus Notes, I am STILL not
quite used to it and have to consciously think each time I want to do a
refresh and this is now thinking which I normally wouldn't need to do...
thinking which interrupts other flows and thinking which interrupts the
way I work even outside of Lotus Notes. And when I use other programs
and OSes and press F5, I am reminded of how much Lotus Notes upsets me.
And this is not even an extreme example from my own personal
experience... just a more recent and common one which which other Lotus
Notes users will agree.
And I would also like to point out that a GUI is a HUMAN interface. It's
how humans interact with software in this case. Since when is a GUI to
be used as a means of correcting human thought and behavior?
I have already demonstrated how software behavior can upset people and
have indicated how upset users can affect projects. So what can or
should we expect from developers? Nothing. As they have rightly
pointed out, this is their project. They decide where it goes and why.
Users don't [usually] pay for or contribute to the project monetarily.
(Though that makes a good argument when they do and that the developers
who accept contributions or payment are obligated to listen and respond
to the users.) And developers don't [usually] get paid for their work.
So what should we expect from all of this controversy and discussion?
I think it's pretty clear what users and developers want and they aren't
the same. And there is the very human issue of pride now at stake as
well. "It's *my project* and I don't have to change it for anyone!"
"Why do I need to apologize for being correct or doing the right
thing?!" But I would like to say to developers the following:
1. You will NEVER be able to teach the Christian people of the U.S. to
say [hey-soos'] instead of [jee'-zuhs]. Never.
2. You will NEVER be able to change the existing GUI users expectations
over "Save/Save as..." and to do so causes an abrasive user experience
which will never go away causing a seething hate which persists and even
grows with every click not only within the GiMP but within every program
which uses the accepted standard behavior of "Save/Save as..."
The goal, purpose or intent may be to be more correct or even to help
save the user and his projects from his own human mistakes. I certainly
identify with those ideas and often which I could address those issues
myself. But as a systems administrator and support engineer, I have
learned you simply cannot expect to change a person's whole world or
mind through a single project or endeavor and trying to do so will
result in nothing good.
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