Open Source

Vote for Open Source in NZ

Are you heading out to vote this morning? Have you thought about how each of the parties support open source? The Greens's IT policy explicitly states a number of policies about encouraging Open Source in Business, Government and Education.

It's hard to beat that! Further; The Greens use Drupal and CiviCRM heavily in both their public-facing and internal systems -- their actions match their words. Go Greens!

Learning & Teaching Code Style & Appreciation

Yesterday in an informal COSC208 (C and C++ programming) lecture at the University of Canterbury, discussion broke out on how to teach and learn coding Style. Here are my 2 cents;

I believe it's not possible to effectively teach & learn Style with single-developer programs that have a clearly limited life span -- such as all code written for COSC208 and most undergraduate university papers. Once the paper has finished and the grade has been determined, who is going to maintain the student's code? Who is going to read your code? No one. So why would the author/programmer/student bother to make it easy to read or maintain, or care for Style? They would not -- except if the prof mandates it. But as pointed out yesterday, that is very resource-consuming and fails to teach an appreciation for Style.

Do General Public GET Open Source?

This article about SilverStripe "giving away their product" completely misses the point of open source. I think that like most of the general public here in NZ (perhaps worldwide?), the author understands that "open source is free" (like free beer), but misses the point that SilverStripe's software, and open source in general, is not free because it costs nothing, but because the code that is written to create the software, is open for anyone to use, look at, modify, enhance, learn from, redistribute, sell, print out and use as toilet paper, or glorify in a nice picture frame above their mantlepiece. Because the code has been freed from the restrictions typical of commercial software licensing.

To Core Developers; I Need You, Please. :)

Logo of Season of UsabilityI still haven't been able to establish a technical mentor for my SoU project. I need a Drupal developer with a fair amount of Drupal karma and a small interest in usability, for this project to be successful. I'll be plain; I'm directly asking Dries, core developers, and other similarly-respected folk in the Drupal community, for someone who can commit about 3 hours per week for three months. This is a sizable contribution to Drupal and will result in considerable usability improvements., online accounting, done right

Xero is another accounting application that competes with the likes of Quicken and MYOB. It isn't the first application-as-a-service in this market, but it is, IMO the best.

User errors; stupid user or ignorant developer?

This one come's from a great article from humanized about usability in floss:

User errors are a sign that the interface is inhumane, not that the users are dumb. To dismiss these errors as signs of user stupidity is to ignore the very information that should be telling you how to improve the design. “The status quo is good enough” is not an attitude that has ever lead to progress.

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