My problem with open-source in a nutshell

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some OSS. However, I find that there are often times where a project is 90%-95% complete, but is missing one or two key features that would really make it a commercial software killer.

Case in point: The OpenOffice Writer ruler.


This beast right here looks almost identical to what we’re used to in MS Word, but there is one key difference. In Word, your tabs and margins will snap-to-grid, allowing you to align various sections of your document nicely. In OOo, all items move “fluidly”, meaning you have to line up stops in different parts of your document to the pixel. I can only imagine how mind-numbingly frustrating this must be on a Retina display.

From what I gather, this issue was first entered into the OOo bug tracker back in early 2004. Yes, that’s over 10 years ago as of the writing of this post.

To save you the time of reading this entire bugtracker log, the general response from the dev team has been “This is not a priority”, and one going as far as saying “I never use the mouse”. Great, so you never use your mouse. That means that every other person who uses your application doesn’t either, right? Who cares about the “average” user, they’re not as smart therefore they don’t matter, right? Doing a quick Google search shows the same types sentiments in forums and duplicate issue tracks all over the place.

Community-driven open source projects have been lifesavers in my experience. They have also proven that they have the power to shape the technology market. But, this elitist attitude has GOT to go.