[linux-elitists] When do you bail on a new free software/open source program?

Brian brian at brianm.org
Wed Jul 29 17:38:16 PDT 2009

On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 5:30 PM, Don Marti<dmarti at zgp.org> wrote:
> There's way too much free or open source software out
> there to actually try all of it, even the packages
> that look like they might be useful.
> So where do you lose interest in, or stop working
> with, a new program?
> 0. Read a whole web page or list posting about how
>   nifty it is.
> 1. Read some documentation (and, if it's a language
>   or library, a short code example.)

Perhaps 2/3 of the time, I don't get past screenshots, feature list
and/or API overview. I hate to admit it, but for GUI apps the
screenshots are often the biggest influences. A streamlined UI usually
suggests a mature app. Tons of options, bells and whistles often mean
an unstable app if one can't figure out how the primary authors use

(Am I the only one who's observed that GUI apps get more unstable with
more options, while command line utilities aren't so affected?)

> 4. Do a small task with the new software (if it's
>   a language or library, writing a short program, or
>   adding basic support for it to an existing program)
> 5. Do something useful with it.

This is where most of the rest fall off. If I can't accomplish
something fairly quickly, I'm already looking for other options. For
GUI apps, stability is often the blocker by this point. For command
line apps, it's insufficient or wrong documentation.

> 6. Depend on it.

After half a dozen successful passes through step 5, it stays installed.

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