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Too many options

From: Greg Stein <gstein_at_gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 10:53:37 +0100

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


Received on 2009-01-16 10:53:58 CET

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