User friendliness and open source

In the past, one of the problems of open-source software was it's lack of user friendly interfaces. Often it had combersome dialogs, with too many options to understand, or technical terms that common people don't understand, or a command line interface alone, and other such problems. Furtunaly, this is changing. Today Firefox, Ubuntu linux and OpenOffice are praised for their easy to use designs. But this is not always the case.

I recently started a new job at a software company. I was surprised that they didn't use any software configuration management system, or a bug tracker. After some investigation, I suggested using Subversion (AKA SVN) and Bugzilla. Bugzilla requires MySQL and Apache, which were installed quite easily as a Windows service automatically.

SVN, on the other hand, gave my more trouble. Even today, SVN's official distribution is in C source code, with compiled binaries provided by third party volunteers. Their download page has a few links to Windows installers, prepared by different people, which is a problem by itself – how would I know which to use? I decided to install the latest Apache, version 2.2.4. So I downloaded and installed it as a service, which was pretty easy. Then I came about to install SVN. I clicked the first link to download the 2.2 compatible version, and was faced with a list of options, with very short and difficult to understand explanations as to what they are for. Eventually I decided to download the svn-python-1.4.5.win32-py2.5.exe. The link was broken (yesterday, and still is today). The same was with the -py2.4.exe link. So I went back, read some more, and clicked the second download option, where I found svn-1.4.5-setup.exe. The only problem, is that this version supports Apache 2.0 and not 2.2, so I couldn't use the mod_dav_svn even if I wanted to (unless I downgrade Apache).

The installation itself was quite easy, but there was no option to configure some basic parameters like I could in MySQL or Apache, or install as a service. Apache comes with an option to set it as a service even after you install it, but with SVN, you would have to use Windows' sc.exe utility, a multy-parameters command line program that refused to accept svn for some reason. I also didn't have an option to set the repository's location, and had to set it as a parameter to the svnserve executable. In short, SVN still has a lot to learn in the field of making your program usable.

הפוסט הזה פורסם בקטגוריה general, מחשבים,‏ עם התגים .‏ קישור ישיר לפוסט.

כתיבת תגובה

האימייל לא יוצג באתר. (*) שדות חובה מסומנים

תגי HTML מותרים: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing