Wednesday, July 09, 2008

[Misc] (Open Source) Developers and Marketing

In the recent IT-Conversations Steve Yegge from Google talks about developers and their attitude towards marketing. I would say, that many stories he tells are more or less well known, however, I think he raises an issue: the relation between development and marketing (in the "business world") or even more problematic: in Open Source projects.

This starts with project-naming and includes license issues (which customer or manager understands 60 different OSI licenses...) and selling of the product. And in one thing he is definitly right: even when we are working in an Open Source environment and we are (mostly) technicians, we want our project to be used (why else would we put it out there), plus a healthy project needs a proper community. Maybe we should once in a while put code, tests, architecture-discussions and the like aside and try to put on the shoes of our (potential) users. And I am afraid in many Open Source projects we will realise, that these shoes are not fitting all too good ;-)

This brings me btw. to another thought: maybe the way the OS process is structured and organised leads in many cases to excellent code, but not necessary to excellent products (in the sense, that the user understands what the software could do for him and how he could use it efficiently). I think OS projects and their tools actually encourage mostly coders to participate in a project. I think, there are hardly OS projects where some contributors are focusing only on interaction design, documentation, marketing...

Might be worth a second thought?!