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Thread: Why is open source software development so conservative?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Banville :(

    Re: Why is open source software development so conservative?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rofko View Post
    "Linux itself, a rag-tag team of hobbyists, enthusiasts, and paid coders all around the world collaborating to make a unique operating system, completely free, completely open, available to anyone and everyone? That's pretty revolutionary stuff as far as I'm concerned."

    Oh I absolutely agree. I am proudly part of it. The more I become convinced at how awesome the potentialities of the community are, the more I am puzzled at its relative developmental conservatism however.

    Another exceptional and revolutionary programme from this community is Blender btw.

    People shouldn't be so defensive. Surely debates like this are part of the process of making better software.

    "However, have you seen the new demos of Gnome 3 shell?"

    It was actually while looking at the new gnome shell that I decided to do this post.
    Linux development has mostly been reactionary, traditionally. I don't think that is the case any more, at least not so much. It stems from the fact that if you want Linux to be a viable alternative to other OSes, you first have to make sure it can do everything that those other OSes offer. If that means making some reactionary software, the Gimp, OpenOffice, stuff to get peripherals to work properly, and others, then so be it. There isn't a real need to re-invent the wheel a lot of the time: if the standard Windows 95 desktop GUI is the template that seems to work the best, then who are we to argue? rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, we should instead try to hone and improve on these things. A lot of the time, real, far-out megainnovation just isn't really necessary.

    All that said, I believe we're entering the long-tail phase. Linux has stable, use-able desktop distributions, dozens of them. We've got that down-pat. As far as I'm concerned, there are few areas that really need a lot of work. What comes next is honing and refining what we've already achieved to finally fulfil the needs of those users who are holding out. Often you see around here people claiming to dual-boot for the benefit of just one or two applications or peripherals. That's the last thing Linux has left to conquer.

    But on the sidelines of the main push to make Linux as good as it can be, you do see some pretty out-there innovations. The Metisse Window system is one of my favourites, particularly, I think the facade system could really revolutionise the way we think about the user interface. Have a look at the sort of thing it can do (the animated gif stops after the first play, so hit ctrl-f5 to see it again if you miss it):

    And then of course there is the Google Wave stuff, which I hope really does shake things up. It's something I can see completely changing everything, so long as the developers get it right. I hope they do.

    All in all, I think innovation is happening, just that it's mostly happening on the fringes of the major projects. This isn't a bad thing, as eventually the things that are really cool will find themselves filtering down to the main show. And then every now and then, you get something incredible like Wave or Wikipedia coming down on everybody like a tonne of bricks. I don't think they'd be quite as awesome if we had that sort of insane innovation every day.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Re: Why is open source software development so conservative?

    I have no idea what this is on about, Linux is innovating faster then any OS out there from what I have seen
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  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Re: Why is open source software development so conservative?

    I think the sentiment comes from there being a lot of copycat apps out there.

    But there are a lot of things that really are innovative that just might not be recognized all the time. Enlightenment17 and Compiz are examples. Along with all the different package systems out there.

    I would like to see more exciting things too, though. I feel like open-source software doesn't have a lot of the constraints of commercial software, so it can be more creative. Maybe we just pick boring apps, I don't know.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Re: Why is open source software development so conservative?

    Quote Originally Posted by FuturePilot View Post
    I don't think it's conservative at all. For example, look at what Ubuntu did with notify-osd. That was a pretty bold move and it caused a lot of controversy.
    So far I think it's been a pretty good success too

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Re: Why is open source software development so conservative?

    There is a lot of very fragile, very fast development happening. You just don't see it cause the nature of free software means that things get properly tested before they are deemed "stable". So development does occurs but distros are usually a lot better at waiting for projects to mature enough, mainly because you don't have the usual non-free software monetary concerns like deadlines or marketing people preasuring for a release.
    Socialismo, Patria o Muerte

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Re: Why is open source software development so conservative?

    When you have something that's tried and tested, why would you deliberately want to screw it up?
    Have you ever found something in the second-to-last place you looked?
    If it seems like I am ignoring you, perhaps I am.
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