[Gimp-developer] it is time...

Dear GIMP team,

it is time to say farewell. This is not easy for me, but
I have come to the conclusion that our collaboration cannot
be revived anymore. For the reasons why, I will take us back
to the very beginning:

From early 2005 maintainer Sven Neumann worked really hard
to reach out in the Berlin openUsability scene and find
help for GIMP’s usability. He knew that the state of GIMP’s
UI was a life-threatening problem and that no one in the GIMP
team and community could do anything about it. 

Ellen Reitmayr organised bi-weekly meetings to bring FLOSS
and usability people together. Sven and I were there most of the,
time, if not every time. During these discussions my ideas on
(great) product making and working with a product vision were
formed. Sven was patient and waited until the time was right.

That was LGM 2006. We made the GIMP product vision there
(a first) and after a hiatus Ellen ensured that our
collaboration got rolling; the first of its kind and
with the first openUsability internship (Kamila Giedrojc).

Sven ensured that we all were working towards GIMP’s vision,
and made that everyone in the project understood that a
new way of working, of collaboration with the UI team, had
arrived. I learned a lot in those days. Sven came up with
the idea (and action) to work via a wiki, and I am still
using that today in many projects.

You can say that Sven’s conclusions about the state of GIMP
and all his actions were the necessary precondition for a
successful collaboration.

A bit later Martin Nordholts joined the GIMP team. He
understood the importance of interaction (design) for
making software that works, and we started a great
collaboration. It was based on ‘I help you, you help me’
and respect for each other’s competence and work. It was
very uplifting and again I learned a lot.

You can say that Martin’s attitude and his actions were
the necessary precondition for a successful collaboration.
(At this point I’d like to mention GSoC student Aurimas Juška,
with whom collaboration was also a pleasure.)

All of this was not perfect, there were enough infuriating
moments for me, but it got results. We moved issues big and
small from absolutely awful, to elegant and powerful.

And then… Sven and Martin left the project.

That is years ago and with 20/20 hindsight, when both of them
had left each and every precondition for a successful collaboration
had vanished from the GIMP project. We soldiered on, in an
on-and-off fashion, for years. Results became vanishingly rare.

The TiTO fiasco put a big magnifying glass on all the missing
preconditions: something is broken, for a long time, and it cannot
be patched up by some new rules of engagement.

practical stuff: I will close the GIMP UI brainstorm.

gui.gimp.org is a repository and will be waiting for a new
usability/interaction/UX maintainer. I guess it will take a while
for such a person to turn up at the GIMP project, but when the
day arrives I will have a friendly chat with them (to ensure
that GIMP will be in safe & experienced hands), and hand it over.


        founder + interaction architect
            man + machine interface works

        http://blog.mmiworks.net: on interaction architecture

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