Guadec Day 2: In pursuit of critical mass

Today I was reminded of this quote by Jane Goodall:

If everyone could think a little bit about small choices they make every day: What do you eat, does it result in animal cruelty? What do you wear, how was it made, does it damage the environment? When people start thinking like that they do change. They do make changes. And when more and more people think like that we get critical mass.

– Jane Goodall

In the conversation I was having we were discussing the presence of design in open-source. There have always been some great designers in open-source. It is time to push for a critical mass of people who know how to care about user experience and together with other talented developers and designers can deliver applications which offer an outstanding standard of experience which combines great design and great implementation.

I wrote a post a little while ago about why open source matters.

Open source may not be the answer to all the world’s woes but it provides a framework for a freedom to collaborate on solving problems that affect all of us.

(Is it weird to quote myself?)

Firefox raised the standard for browsing. We need more applications which empower people to do what they want and need to do and do it brilliantly.

To create a critical mass of people who will adopt our open-source platforms we need to start with a gentle revolution of our own. Only then will open-source receive the attention from the masses which it deserves.

I like GUADEC.

This entry was posted in design, observations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted 27 July, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I like how you think!

    Quote yourself as much as you want, it makes us remember that there’s an ‘archive’ button on all blogs.

  2. Chauncellor
    Posted 27 July, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    I’m not flaming here but….

    wouldn’t it be a good idea, then, to start actually designing wallpapers/fonts and whatnot with free software? I understand the want to use the best tool to get the job done but our softwares are hardly no use. Look at Fedora: They’ve always had really kick-ass designs and they have always been exclusive with their free software. Creating very nice designs with what we have can only raise awareness (and better PR).

    And (this may be going out on a limb), if something about the program is holding you back, then maybe enhancing it would be a great idea to contribute.

  3. ivanka.majic
    Posted 28 July, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    @manuel thank you.

    @Chauncellor I don’t think you’re flaming, if that is any consolation. What you are highlighting is a complex problem and it is, unfortunately, a little chicken and egg. Many, many people in the Floss community are thinking about and working on ways to solve this problem. Have you watched this presentation by Ginger Coons from the LGM? Some of the comments are also interesting. It highlights the many levels of the problem. We don’t just need to change people, we need to change an industry and that is a big ask.

    One advantage of open-source projects and applications is that it is more likely that niche use cases will get implemented. In my opinion, we need to find where those niches provide killer features that will lure people away to look at alternative tools. I have had the pleasure of talking to Dave Crossland about an idea he has to work on a way to view visual diffs in source control – now, there is a feature a whole host of people would find useful – fancy helping make it?

    In the firm belief that more bees are attracted by honey than vinegar, I am working with my team to find great, useful features of open-source design tools, using them and talking about them (I have inserted a couple of links below). I will continue to chip away endevouring to do what I can for critical mass as well as trying to start productive conversations which will lead to improved tools; in the meantime, what do you think of these two examples? Do you have any suggestions for our next post?

  4. Chauncellor
    Posted 29 July, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow. To be honest, I didn’t know that the effort was being made. I figured that the workload was big enough already so it would continue on as usual.

    I just know that when yet another story comes out about Microsoft employees using Macs to create/work on [insertprojectname], it creates a unanimous scoff from the public. I won’t lie and say I’m not a little disappointed when I hear the equivalent for Ubuntu. I actually mostly care about this happening because of PR relations and the potential hurt for Ubuntu’s image.

    I’m very grateful to the work of the design team. I’m so glad that horrid notification tray is leaving. I do still have some major beef with Ayatana concerning Notify-osd not going in the corner anymore, but that’s something I intend to ask the mailing list again at some point >:)

    The examples look fantastic!

  5. Posted 30 July, 2010 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    I personally think the two posts are extremely useful (especially the one about the group photo). Maybe something on the Pencil Project for the next post ( )?

One Trackback

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Subscribe without commenting