Monday, January 22, 2007

A Thing of Astonishing Beauty and Grace

After all the Office 2007 talk going around, I decided it was time to have a look at OpenOffice, the open source alternative to Microsoft. And during the installation, I gasped when this dialog box appeared:

It was a gasp of happy surprise. Look at that! Instead of making changes to how my PC works, it asked first.

It even suggested not making itself the default program.

And when the installation was done, there were no new icons on my desktop, now QuickLaunch icons eating up valuable space on the taskbar, and nothing new sitting in the system tray sucking up resources. I had a computer that was the same as before, except with new software available for me to use, when and if I wanted to.

This is how software installation should work, but almost never does.

I would love to print that dialog box out and mail a copy to every product manager for desktop software in the world.

(Shortly after writing this, I installed a route update to Adobe Acrobat, which resulted in a new Acrobat shortcut on my desktop. Because obviously, if I didn't want it there before, installing a routine update that has no perceptible effect on the program would just change everything! Sad that a major software company does a crappy job when compared to a bunch of people working on an open source project, isn't it?)

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