Some of us had some mail discussions recently about the issue of highlighting the quality of open products. I entered in closer discussions with Michel recently and challenged him with the idea, the perspective and the possible project of the foundation to act as catalyzer to bootstrap wholistic and sustainable solutions.
The case for such an endavour was beautifully expressed by the developers of one of the finest open hardware pieces (including the best web documentation for reproduction that I have come accross so far). I am talking about the Twibright Labs people in Prague with their Ronja, an optoelectronic device that allows high speed data links. Ronja is one of my favorite projects - especially when it comes to good web-based documentation. This documentation enables any small enterprise or private person to build the device, although it seems more feasible to leave this to firms that have a lot of proficiency. But what I want to quote here is a much more general remark that contains a lot of truth - from people who walk the talk:
“I can't get no, I can't get no,
I can't get no satisfaction,
no satisfaction, no satisfaction, no satisfaction.”
— Rolling Stones, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
"In today's world, there is a large number of free software applications. The free software development model has a potential of producing high quality software with high quality documentation that would make the user able to fully exploit in a straightforward manner it's all promised features. Such a software would be a very powerful tool for the user that would bring him a great level of satisfaction."
"However, sadly, the real situation is far from the theoretical potential."
"Everyone wants to be satisfied by the things he is using. Who wouldn't. But only some projects have a goal of satisfying it's user. Other projects just pretend it. It's natural that the user wants to select those products that will satisfy him, but if he goes only according to what these projects say, it will not work, because all projects say they are the good ones. If he goes by what his friends say, this will not work either, because what works properly in one situation, may completely fail in another."
continue reading here:
Of course this applies to any type of open hardware or open service, too.
I am sure these thoughts can be complemented with social issues, like which product enables a business cycle that creates the most use value but also answers the question of subsistence. Maybe we need 10 or more criteria to cover all aspects of a free product!
I would love the P2P foundation to take up these issues.
your comments are very welcome!