Wiley Programmers Work for Peer Respect
Please don't take this as being overly critical. I think that Mr. Starks viewpoint is shared by many other people and I don't see anything wrong with it. However, I'd like to try and explain why things work the way they do. Hopefully the following will sheds some light in that respect.
In Ken Starks open letter he brings up quite a few salient points. Any OS needs a clean interface that serves it's users well. Linux needs to have an accounting package similar to QuickBooks so that users of QuickBooks will use Linux.
I've read this last one in quite a few places from quite a few random people. Sometimes the program is QuickBooks, sometimes PhotoShop, or sometimes a more esoteric special purpose application.
That didn't really draw my attention. In some ways, exhorting free software hackers to program you a clone of application Y has attained a sort of ritualistic quality to it. Dance around monolith, sprinkle water, rinse, repeat. It's easy to do with little practical effect.
One of the reasons it's not effective is pointed out in the next paragraph. After querying why developers don't work on their spare time to create an interface that's not what they want to use, it's pointed out that two developers do their work for peer acknowledgment. I suppose when I phrase it that way it becomes somewhat more apparent.
What I do find odd is that people expect the developer "community" that works on packages running on Linux to care about them. They expect their wants addressed (by random developers) or they'll stop using Linux. Who this should be addressed to is commercial vendors, not random application developers. Distribution vendors actually do care if you use Linux.
People that develop software in their spare time generally do so to scratch an itch. Maybe they need something to benchmark hardware (like I did). Maybe they just want some recognition of their talent by their peer group (like our two examples).
I think the disconnect may be that people forget the reason behind open source applications being created. It tends to be to satisfy the programmer's (or institution's) need.