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Why you should complain about (open-source/free) software!

Posted by Roy Triesscheijn on Thursday 1 January, 2009

With the new (beta) release of blender 2.50 we could finally take a look at the new user interface. And frankly I was a bit disappointed (although I believe allot of work has been done, some of the in my eyes ui-flaws that really need improvement are still there. For example: resizing buttons still don’t work properly and you still have to drag panels and menu bars around to see all the options. This is against all user-interface guidelines on all common operating systems!)

However, the reason I am writing this, is not Blender. (There are people far more into Blender who can write about it, and maybe give us an idea of the changes in the code behind).

The reason that I am posting this where comments after my rant at the new Blender UI.

“I suggest you make those changes yourself then” “you should not complain about something that is free”

Blender, being open-source software, allows me to change it myself. But does this mean I can’t have critique at open-source software?

I believe that is not the case. Open-source software is like a good friend who helps with a paint job. You can do it yourself, you don’t have to pay, but if your friend does a sloppy job you can complain and tell him/her to improve his efforts.

If you can’t complain about open-source software, there wouldn’t be anything in it. Each software package would be complain free at the moment it hits the download spot. There would be no incentive to improve anything. I call that empty and soulless software, since I believe there is always room for improvement.

Of course just ranting away isn’t going to help either. If we still take the paint example, you could show your friend how to do it (for example with a mock-up, or by doing some painting for him). Critics are not going to help if they don’t come to the right people.


But please keep complaining about (open-source) software, do you think that a feature is missing, do you think that the UI sucks, that the program is unstable when doing action X. Complain!! Tell the devs, make some mock-ups write some example code or even participate and commit to the SVN/VSS etc..


3 Responses to “Why you should complain about (open-source/free) software!”

  1. The Jos said

    Complaints are utterly useless. they’re insubstantial, rude, boring and always a waste of time to even read.

    Yeah since saying; Your UI sucks! will surely 1. make people know what to fix change or alter and 2. motivate anyone to actually bother changing it.

    that complaint is a waste of space. you still don’t know what’s wrong with the UI, you don’t know why it sucks or what needs to be fixed.

    and you’re being a complete tool, who’d I rather see foaming out of anger because the ui doesn’t work like he wants then spending time in fixing a nonregistered valid annoyance.

    so Kids, remember! complaining is useless, constructive criticism is the way to go.

  2. luiz said

    there is no free lunch, you can always get software from real world commercial experienced people or you can get free (piece of crap) from amateurs, but need to complain with annoying bugs that no one is going to fix for you.

  3. @ Luiz,

    Well thats a bit harsh aswell, most of the programmers who make OS software are experienced people who work at commercial companies that are doing this in their free time.

    A good example of a community that is listened to is Linux in general and Ubuntu in specific. Bugs get fixed there.

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