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Re: Too many options

From: C. Michael Pilato <cmpilato_at_collab.net>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 08:25:29 -0500

Greg Stein wrote:
> I've railed against too many options in the past. Was reading some
> blogs today, and ran across a pointer to a blog post about sucky
> usability in volunteer (free) software. And point #10 puts good words
> into my feelings about options:
>
> 10. Placating people with options. In any software project with
> multiple contributors, sometimes they will disagree on a design issue.
> Where the contributors are employees, usually they'll continue work
> even if they disagree with the design. But with volunteers, it's much
> more likely that the project maintainer will agree to placate a
> contributor by adding a configuration setting for the behavior in
> question. The number, obscurity, and triviality of such preferences
> ends up confusing ordinary users, while everyone is penalized by the
> resulting bloat and reduced thoroughness of testing.
>
> Solution: Strong project maintainers and a culture of simplicity.
> Distributed version control may help relieve the pressure, too, by
> making it easier for someone to maintain their own variant of the
> software with the behavior they want.
>
>
> ref: http://mpt.net.nz/archive/2008/08/01/free-software-usability

This is a really good policy for most projects to adopt, but sometimes you
really do just need to give a little ground. I'd suggest a --placate option.

-- 
C. Michael Pilato <cmpilato_at_collab.net>
CollabNet   <>   www.collab.net   <>   Distributed Development On Demand
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Received on 2009-01-16 14:25:56 CET

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