Java, Mono, or C#?

Havoc Pennington wants to tackle the question of what next-generation programming environment the open source community should embrace, and he doesn’t think it should be Mono.
Paolo Molaro replies and points out that the state ofJava’s patent encumbrance is even less well defined than .NET’s.

Nickell on usability testing

Seth Nickell had an excellent post on the utility of usability testing.

Desktop software usually presents a substantially different problem space from web pages. Compared to each other, desktop software represents more complex and varied operations where long term usability is crucial, whereas web sites represent a simple operation (very similar to 100 other websites users have used) where “walk up and use perfectly” is crucial. Design of infrequently used software, like tax software, is much more similar to web site design. One simple example… In most web pages, learnability is paramount: if on the first time visiting a web site users don’t get what they want almost instantly and without making mistakes they will just leave. Learnability is the single most important aspect of web page design, and usability tests (aka learnability tests) do a marvelous job at finding learning problems. In a file open dialog learnability is still important, but how convenient the dialog is to use after the 30th use is more important.

The Music Never Stopped

Brian Douherty in Reason:

As we listen these days to the cries of music-selling middlemen that those sweet songs of yesteryear will disappear in a world of unbridled file sharing, we need to remember that the interests of music professionals don’t necessarily coincide with the interests of music listeners. Sure, new technologies and ways of doing business have hurt many trades related to the music industry. There are many fewer people making a living as song pluggers, sheet music publishers, and the like. There are probably fewer professional live musicians than there would be if we had never enjoyed radios, jukeboxes, transistorized stereos, or computerized file sharing. Yet with every change, people’s access to better reproduced, more portable, more personalized music grows.

Will Mono Become the Preferred Platform for Linux Development?

Edd Dumbill reports on the Mono summit held last weekend in Boston.

So why implement the Microsoft APIs at all? Simple: to make migration from Windows to Linux as easy as possible. With the advent of Microsoft’s Longhorn platform, there’s only a limited life span for the current .NET Windows APIs. Just in case there remain some unconverted by then, de Icaza is hedging his bets and plans to provide implementation of Longhorn technologies such as Indigo and Avalon, the new XML web services and user interface layers.