I agree that the devs are pretty fair minded and try to listen to other viewpoints. But what concerns
me about the current arrangement is the pretty strong tendency towards mono-culture when all the
decisions about what goes in/ what’s kept out/ what the direction forward is… all are made by a
small clique of programmers.
What we have is a group of bright, technically oriented guys who are
implementing a system that ultimately appeals to their own sensibilities… i.e. to other bright,
technically oriented guys. The views of Joe Sixpack just don’t enter into it.
Now, I don’t worry much about R1 in this regard, as that design is already done and is pretty
universally (well, almost) loved by the community. But there seems little to stop the OS from slowly,
surely, and progessively over time, tilting more and more to the geeky side and away from that wonderfully
user friendly experience the original BeOS was.
This is one area where a closed source, corporate designed OS actually has (or at least, could have)
an advantage. There, the programmers don’t rule the roost but merely implement what they’re told.
And the decisions about design are split between the upper levels of management, as well as various
other groups like quality assurance, human interface guidelines teams, creative/graphics types, etc.
When the boss sees work coming out that looks too technical (in his opinion) he can lay down the law
and tell the developers “try again, and make it simpler”. Kind of like Jobs was notorious for doing
to his development teams.
I remember in the early days of OpenBeOS there was a similar feeling about having a creative
"meeting of the minds" in mapping out the future of the OS, past R1. There were groups of creative
(musical and graphics) types, long time users and commenters, as well as the project management guys
and all the individual programmers that were to have an input in what direction the system would take. I liked that
approach because it seemed richer and wiser and more conducive to a fulfilling outcome.
But that seems to have melted away over the years. Now it seems more like, “hey if you want to contribute, submit
some code. Oh wait, you can’t code? Then shut up!” Ok, that’s way too harsh, It’s nowhere near that
bad – I’m just exaggerating to make a point.
I’m not trying to dig at the current core group of guys developing Haiku because they’re doing a great job.
I mean, damn – it’s here! Haiku actually exists! It got written. And it works. And it pretty damn sweet even in its
unfinished state. And it’s still being continuously tweaked, and fixed on, and amended. Awesome job.
But that’s my worry about the future. That the current arrangement almost inevitably leads to a echo chamber
of group think among the devs. There’s no counter-balancing force, that I can see.