Zoo Station

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The role of incentives

Posted by Chance on August 7, 2008

OSNews links to a blog entry titled “Why Free Software has poor usability, and how to improve it”. Even if you are not a software developer, the article is interesting because it explores the roles of incentives in the overall quality of a product. Open Source software is developed mainly by volunteers, as opposed to Microsoft or Apple products that are developed by paid programmers and cost money.

Open source software is a noble idea, and there are many useful tools out there. However, getting paid motivates programmers to focus on aspects of software that make it more usable for the average person. Now, Microsoft is not a great example of this, simply because it does have many features of a monopoly. It is the software that everybody has and every hates. I think if distributors of Linux would focus more on the commercial market – and even keep the software open source – the computing world overall would be better off. Even if you aren’t into software development and tools, one could probably see how the overall quality of a product could improve if someone has financial incentive.

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