Developer

When simplifying becomes patronising

Assumption is the mother of many things, and it allows well-intended simplification to go a step too far

A new version of gimp came out today, and I gleefully headed over to the gimp downloads page this morning to see what support there was for OS X.

None, nothing, not a crumb, jack all.

All I can see is various options for installing it on various Linux distros. That's no good for me, it's compiling on Gentoo already, I want to know if I can finally have a proper gimp.app 2.4 version.

Perhaps its just me and my morning sloth that is failing to see the an "Other operating systems"-like link somewhere on the page. But no it fails to exist, so I assume it must have something to do with their not being a Windows or OS X version ready yet (despite the huge beta time).

Assumption is the mother of many things, so imagine my surprise when I look at the same page at work on the Mac and it tells about gimp.app, fink and macports.

The site is using my browser's user-agent string to decide what to serve to me, and there is no way I can see anything else. That's just great. The developers have made the assumption that if you are on a particular platform, everyone has homogenous computing environments, why would you want to see anything else?

It is nice to be given a shortcut to the platform that one is currently using, but do not remove all the options. Non-standard use cases to exist and the user should not be removed from an option altogether based on some javascript browser detection.

The coup de grace is when javascript is turned off. Of course my tin-foil hat removal of javascript means I am crazy enough to want to compile gimp by hand and/or another assumption by the developer has turned foul, namely that javascript would be turned on.

Stop telling what you think I want to hear and let me decide what I want.

The Evidence
Exhibit A: OS X auto-detection in full effect


Exhibit B: No javascript simplifies to no choice

About Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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