Small tools with big impact

Take a look at egyan. This is an online record of the development and enhancements being carried out on Moodle bye FiveSpirits. Some weeks back I sat through a presentation by them on why they chose Open Source as a way to complete their term projects. While they are in the infancy stages of doing stuff with Open Source tools, their enthusiasm was infectious in terms of sharing their experience and rush of working with Free/Libre Open Source Software. Their project can be summarised (without giving much away) as making Moodle fit in more with the Indian university pattern of education and course content. Involving the re-doing of the grading system and making the loading of content easy, it also involves localisation. You might want to register at the site as a Beta Tester.

Some posts back I had ranted about customer delight, today the Brand Equity section carried something that fits in nicely what customer angst is like. Based on premises drawn from Paco Underhill’s studies, it talks about the customer care or lack thereof at our urban malls. This can be seen in the way FLOSS business currently works in our country. The developers who dare to cross the chasm and make a business case out of their ideas end up cultivating a take-it-or-leave approach. There is no sincere model towards understanding the requirements of the customer. The mental model of the customer is never really taken into consideration. This is the reason why I feel that software like Gobby would find it hard to be appreciated. I just tried it out – and boy does it deliver ! Until and unless one understands at least to some completion why people use desktop it is not much use fiddling around to provide a working desktop. A desktop should perform and function flawlessly providing the easiest possible means towards accomplishing a task. It should rise beyond mere working.

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