Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I agree with a lot of what you wrote. It's true that there is a "keep it for the elite" mindset in the back of many programmers' mind. For years at forums I've seen that while I tried hard to explain basic concepts to newbies, others were happier with the RTFM answer.

Still I'm not so sure that UNIX (or programmers) is the source of it. I started with DOS (later Windows) and TP (later Delphi) so please don't think I'm biased here.

I have recently bought an Acer convertible for my mother with Windows 10 and so I'm getting a reality check on the sad state of computer usability in 2017. Teaching her to use an Android phone was difficult, but this is not better.

IMHO the reason of user-hostility is not some guild mindset, it's just that computer adoption is needed much faster than the time it would take to develop decent GUIs. The RTFM knee-jerk reaction comes later from people with some deep insecurities and not much imagination.

Totally agree on that UNIX is also a sort of walled garden. I'd say the same thing about GPL'd ecosystem, in this case for license issues.

I'd guess that much of this depends on who's writing the software. FOSS was (and still is to a great degree) driven by "nerds" in their spare time. If there's no Steve Jobs that smacks programmers about for neglecting the user experience for non-technical users, it won't make much progress. At other places (say Redhat) there's no big need to focus on non-technical users for business reasons when it comes to much of development. And so on and so forth.

If you can accredit Apple with one thing, it would be that they got this mainly right.

When it comes to Windows... I guess that's the result if one main player has a de facto monopoly over a certain software space. That, and "legacy reasons". It's like Adobe who couldn't even get their hotkeys merged between various of their big applications.

I've only owned a Mac and honestly I hasn't found it really better. Actually I was surprised to find there are unsolvable user hostility problems like font size. For most Windows annoyances there were usually some registry key that you can touch.

Yeah... I've found Mac/iOS to be quite frustrating actually. Especially nowadays that their UI's a designed by designers who like things to be pretty — and you just can't change something no matter how bad it is (unless you want the touchpad to move the scrollbar instead of the page. they'll let you do that, even tho it's completely useless. they're not opposed to choice or flexibility, just opposed to ones that make things understandable or powerful at the expense of pretty).

Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact