> On the issue of design, Dirk made the claim that we have few real designers in our communities. Indeed, the processes in many communities seem to have the explicit goal of encouraging people interested in design to go elsewhere.
Indeed we do not.
"Designer" is what I've put on my business cards for most of the last 20 years. It's come up through three tracks; I do software design, graphics design, and the odd TV program here and there; design, like most other discplines, is the application (and thoughtful breaking) of rules.
The reason, I've learned, why designers are chased off in the FOSS environment is largely that design is *not* generally an implementation skill, and designers are not always skilled implementors: to take software as an example, I've worked over the years with half a dozen really excellent coders (which I am not) on various projects.
They were excellent coders, but if you left them to do the design themselves, you wouldn't get anything usable. Systems analysis and software design (two closely related, but slightly different fields) are both critical to a good end-product in the software business... but the only way you get them, generally, in FOSS, is if you *do* find that rare coder who can do both -- it tends to be a "Code or GTFO" sort of environment, except in very rare instances.
And that, I think, is the problem Dirk's alluding to.
He says we need "competence" to implement visions. But that's two pieces: turning the "vision" into a deliverable, and *then* delivering it.
FOSS tends to be weak on the first half -- because that's the half that says "it needs to be usable and workmanlike looking (if not pretty), *in addition* to working properly". And the people who are good at that part are *often* not superstar programmers. Which is all the meritocracy seems to select for, in many cases.
"Programming systems product", Fred Brooks called it. All four quadrants, to paraphrase the movie industry.
That's the part we're missing, and as long as lead coders on projects think that all the smart people *already* "work" for them, the problem will continue.
When you're big enough (or smart enough) to already have a bugzilla or trac, and accept (and triage) RFE tickets, you're either on your way to digging out of this hole, or you've done it. Lots of projects either don't accept RFEs at all, or ignore them.
Figuring out how to make sure that vision isn't tunnel- seems the important bit.