The horror of open source behemoths

There are a few projects out there that give open source a bad name. I won’t call the project in question by name here, but let’s say some open source web CMS’es scratch a part of my memory which was heavily repressed – with reason.

What would you say an open source project must do for you? I’d say: make my life easier, helping me with my daily tasks, but in no way restrict my actions, or limit me. Open source has a feeling of “freedom” to it, as many open source software is called “Free software”, as in “freedom”. It should be liberating, being able to create your own world, endless possibilities, sharing each other’s expertise and not forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to. Or even better: not limiting my creativity.

Unfortunately, Free Software isn’t the same thing as Open Source Software. Some software is forced upon us developers, and in many ways it is not a problem. In some ways, it is. When a program has TONS of features, but bad documentation, and just that one feature that would give me the freedom I need, is missing (in the sense that it is nowhere to be found, not that it is not available, because I’m sure it is), the frustration can drive me to beyond the point of shoving my keyboard inside someone’s…. let’s say “throat” for the sake of credibility.

So, what is going wrong in these instances? When is software development (even closed source) going haywire in such a ballistic way that it forces horrible software upon it’s users? It’s when the (lead) developers choose features over quality. Whenever a piece of software isn’t designed to do one or a few things, and those things excellently, there really is something wrong.

Features aren’t what software is for, people, please! Don’t think your product’s quality will improve if it has more features! It will only increase the chances of bugs. Choose one thing and be GREAT at it. Evolve, don’t expand. So I can take four or five components and build only my custom layer on top of it. This way the software allows me to be great too, which is eventually what I (and sure, you too) want people to think.

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