How Open Wins

Yesterday this image made it to Digg & co:

Ubuntu Theme Proposal

It was presented as the next Ubuntu theme, but it’s not – the linked page was quick to post an explanation: “I’m sorry to say that this is not planned to be the next Ubuntu theme. It has been passed it up to the art team, and there’s a lot of work ahead”

However, he adds – this is the cool part – “If you are visiting and you do have ideas or suggestions, please post them here! There’s an entire sub-wiki just for your input!”

Compare this to Apple sending a legal “please don’t send unsolicited ideas” letter to an 8 year old girl who wrote them. Not because Apple is mean, simply because that’s how it works in that type of business. Who do you think will eventually build the better product?

5 thoughts on “How Open Wins

  1. I’m not sure I agree with that. I agree that such processes should produce a better product, in theory, but in reality Apple has consistently produced an easier-to-use and more visually-beautiful product than Linux over the last 10 years. Maybe in the future this will change, but I don’t see a reason why the future should be different from the past.

  2. Adrian – I see your point but I think the change is coming. Apple has been focused on ease of use at least since the early 80s while Linux was first released 10 years later and hadn’t really been a contender on the desktop until a few years ago. If you look at rate of improvement, Linux is pretty impressive – the current Ubuntu installation is light years ahead of the Red Hat I installed back in 2000. Meanwhile, Leopard is actually less reliable than Tiger, at least in my personal experience…

    Ed – I also used to think a good UI requires a small team. But I think the success of Firefox has proven a good UI is feasible on an open source project.

    All that said, I have to admit I’m still using a Mac for now ;)

  3. I agree that Linux is more usable all the time. But I used Linux on a desktop computer in 1999 and it worked (sort of) and I was also reading on Slashdot all the time about how Linux was going to take over the desktop at that stage. So I’ll believe it when I see it.

    But on the other hand a few years earlier it would have seemed impossible that Apple could release a new operating system, after having tried for a decade or more with their various failures. So who knows, change can happen.

  4. “Believe it when I see it” is always the best approach :) One of the more encouraging things for me about Linux desktop is the relative lack of hype. OSS grows slowly, when its hyped too early (like the Linux desktop in ’99, Mozilla in ’01 and Ruby on Rails more recently) it only inflates user expectations and dev egos ;)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s