Re: GnomeMeeting: It's not just for video conferencing

I avidly use open source software and have done so for over 20 years. If you're attentive you'll realize this was well before the term, "Open Source", had been invented, for in the old-time Internet we all just shared stuff with each other. Today the computing world is a bit different, and Richard Stallman was very prescient to start this movement.

At the same time there's an issue that's always displeased me about open source software, and that's the user-interface quality. It's not an accident that I'm typing this from a Mac OS X system rather than a Linux system. I really appreciate Apple for making systems that just work.

GnomeMeeting: It's not just for video conferencing (Tuesday February 22, 2005 (06:00 PM GMT) By: Joe Barr; NEWSFORGE.NET)

This article is a review of the GnomeMeeting application, the Gnome folk's equivalent to Microsoft's NetMeeting product. I'm somewhat interested in the video conferencing applications, since at my job the coworkers are spread between Santa Clara (California), Beijing (China) and Bangalore (India). This spread-out-ness makes it difficult to schedule meetings, and especially to have face-face meetings. Video conferencing is nice, and at the office we use an expensive Polycom unit that runs over ISDN (I don't want to know the expense of the ISDN phone call to India).

The thing is, this review just underscores the problems with user interface quality. Take a look at the review please, and you'll see that the reviewer spent well over half of the long review just going over configuration stumbles, foibles, quirks, etc. If this had been a review of iChat the installation would have been over in 1 sentence, but to configure GnomeMeeting you are required to configure several other packages (video4linux, openh323, openldap, pwlib, etc) plus find a webcam that's compatible with your linux OS and hardware.

er... So, open source people, in order to use this wonderful package (when the reviewer finally did get to using it, he said it was nice) you're asking the end-user to jump through a dozen or more hoops. WHY??? Speaking for myself, I have a lot more important things to do with my time than make configuration tweak after tweak just so I can use one package or another. Oh, and what happens if the configuration tweaks required for GnomeMeeting are incompatible with configuration tweaks for some application that wants to use the same modules?? Bleagh!!!