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Thread: Why noone cares about FE X

  1. #1
    licensed to kill - FKA kev000
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    Why noone cares about FE X

    So... With the fair amount of sofware frontends popping up and dying every month, any observer must ask, why has no frontend replaced CF or RR as the dominant frontend? Here's my take on what a software product has to overcome in order to break into the hearts and minds of the mp3car forum members:

    1 - Most forum members aren't developers, they are integrators.

    Integrators take part A and part Y and combine them in innovative ways that turn out to be really cool. Most forum members start out with the idea that they want a carpc. They read, they build, rebuild and adapt to the different technologies.

    New and innovative frontend software likely has only a handful (or less) users, and so information about how they members get that particular peice of software to work with X device is limited.

    2a - Most members who are developers will have more fun doing their own software

    If you are a software guy, then you've probably been developing your own one-off frontend that does what you need. Working with other people that you don't know and don't neccessarily agree with their coding style isn't very fun. That's, after all, what you do in your real job. Time to do something your way!

    New frontends have 1 developer. They may pick up another dedicated soul or two, but it's rare. This leads to slower development and eventually to #4.

    2b - Many developers start as integrators

    it seems like many developers start out this hobby as integrators. They build the ultimate system, and they soon reach the limitations of the current software (which is likely CF or RR). They then choose to simply add a plugin or two instead of reinvent the wheel that they are currently running very well and have come to love.

    3 - Most forum members are *gasp* windows users.

    While there are obvious benefits to running windows in the car (ie,make specific tuner software), forum members are comfortable with the OS that they grew up with. Furthermore, products like LinuxICE while faster and more integrated than a windows based system, has a scary penguin as a mascot. Who knows anything about penguins? Probably noone. They are creatures of mystery. Most people haven't even seen a real penguin and the penguins you see in movies (ie, in Madagascar) are meddlesome and conspiring creatures just waiting to highjack your jeep and leave you alone on the African grasslands to be eaten by lions or the occasional zebra (heaven forbid a liger attack you).

    To make barriers more persistent, Linux users, while few, are very particular about their distro. Some prefer ubuntu, some prefer fedora, some like compiling their lives away using gentoo (OCD people usually fall into the gentoo pit-of-despair as well).

    4 - CF/RR has the-kitchen-sink plugin.

    Sure, LinuxICE may have the manipulate-time-and-space plugin, and nGhost may be able to solve world hunger, it's still missing the-kitchen-sink. Yep, because of the plethera of plugins available to-do-just-about-anything, up and coming frontends have a hard time convincing anyone to use your interesting-but-lacking frontend.

    Conclusion:

    If you are thinking about writing a frontend to replace CF/RR, think again. Those pieces of software came in early and grabbed hearts and minds and you can do nothing about it.

    So now on to the Q/A section:

    Q: So kev/tripzero/whoever-the-crap-you-are, what doest this mean for LinuxICE?

    A: It means that LinuxICE will probably stay a super niche within a niche. In time, we may see OEMs ship with LinuxICE or LinuxICE-based preloads which may help get people used to thinking of their carpc sytem as less of a computer and more of a tool to make driving awesome.

    Q: But the frontend I'm going to write can do X way better than CF/RR. You mean to tell me that nobody will care about that?

    A: Correct. While people may see it as interesting, and many people will try, most likely they will find that feature X isn't as important as the-kitchen-sink and will go back to CF/RR.

    Q: So what's your point? I'm still going to write this software and you can't stop me!

    A: Good. I'm not saying that you will have 0 users and no fun. It's lots of fun learning and innovating, just don't expect anyone to care. Who knows, in a few years, your frontend will also have the-kitchen-sink and look and run faster/better than CF/RR. Then you may persuade the masses that your FE is the bestest!

    Q: I hear LinuxICE3 will blow away CF3 and RR. You still think it won't get a bazillion forum members to start using and developing for it?

    A: : LinuxICE3 will be a prettier, faster, stabler a more integrated system than LinuxICE2 ever dreamed of being. But you must remember, the penguin is a dangerous creature. If you aren't afraid of it, you obviously haven't been chased down by one running in excess of 60mph and if you have, you probably aren't alive to tell about it.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  2. #2
    SuperMod - OBDII GPS Logger forum
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    Wait... are you validating the fact that you're dropping your work on nghost and moving to writing RR plugins?

    Technically the reason that I don't care about FE X is that in my native mothertongue [a rare dialect of klingon], fex is an explicit act that one does with one's fathersister and is generally considered the only crime for which the death penalty is appropriate.

    Remember Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson?
    Fex is like that, but more

    Gary (-;
    OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
    OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
    mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

  3. #3
    SuperMod - OBDII GPS Logger forum
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    OK, a serious response. I was talking in IRC about this, but I'll cement some ideas here:

    If you want people to *actually try* LinuxICE where they had previously been using RR, how about a completely non-invasive boot CD that can mount their windows partitions that RR uses. Read their configs, music, etc, from that disk

    For example, a music player that "just works". Presents the same music, playlists, etc, when you boot the disk that RR already did, but in some way better. Implement a poor man's itunes genius using pandora and their current music. *something*.

    Use winelib or something to be able to load some specific RR plugins. Which ones? I dunno. Perhaps find out which plugins people out there actually use [poll on the RR forum!]. Either implement new ones of those yourself, or load the ones they already have from disk.

    Present the same set of buttons on the front UI as their config/theme/whatever does. For that matter, load their themes if you can. Despite the fact that Win7/Vista/XP/95 all behaved nothing at all like that which had come before, there was just enough familiarity to make people stick with it.

    [c.f. the "ribbon" in new versions of office, which has actually caused friends of mine to switch to OOo, because OOo was more familiar than the ribbon].

    Obviously I'm biased, but put better OBDII metrics up on screen than they previously did. If their car has teh internets, bust out obdgpslogger and automatically rebuild the kml files every five seconds and reload it in google earth.


    Of course, all this is from someone who's an armchair economist at best, and someone who gives all his work away for free at worst.

    Gary (-;
    OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
    OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
    mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

  4. #4
    Confusion Master
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    Why do we want to know about what this guy likes and doesn't like?





    And Kev, why do you keep starting these threads?
    Are you that desperate to get people to take an interst in LinuxICE, it's getting old now.

  5. #5
    And then I was mod. Tidder's Avatar
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    Tidder

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  6. #6
    SuperMod - OBDII GPS Logger forum
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    Seems like a valid thing to wonder about, to me. And if it drums up support for his own project, then that also seems pretty reasonable.

    Maybe some RR/CF users will step forward and say "I use RR, not because I like it, but because it's less bad than FEX because FEX doesn't have XYZ features".

    Gary (-;
    OBDGPSLogger, for logging OBDII and/or GPS data
    OBDSim, an OBDII/ELM327 software simulator
    mp3car forums: obdgpslogger, obdsim

  7. #7
    licensed to kill - FKA kev000
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enforcer View Post
    And Kev, why do you keep starting these threads?
    Are you that desperate to get people to take an interst in LinuxICE, it's getting old now.
    Hmm... I thought my analysis on the forum member dynamic and the barriers to innovation applied to not only my experience, but to any current and future software developers. This was in no way a cry to get people to notice or try LinuxICE. I only use LinuxICE as an example of some barriers that I have personally encountered. I tried to make the post informative and even threw in some comical elements to make it fun to read.

    Furthermore, I'm in no hurry to gain more users for LinuxICE. I have way too many bugs to fix already and far more new code to write. LinuxICE2 has been downloaded more than 700 times during the development process alone. that's hundreds if not thousands gigabytes of data pushed between the torrent, the LinuxICE server (consisting of 3 separate repositories), and the mirrors.

    I guess I'm not busy enough if I'm responding to posts like yours which are obvious ploys to arouse a response.

    Enforcer, you are more than welcome to try LinuxICE 2 when it's released if you so chose. Otherwise, don't mistake a informative analysis as a "desperate" advertisement to get people to use LinuxICE. Aside from me slipping in the word "LinuxICE" a few times, this has nothing to do with it and everything to do with software and software development.
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  8. #8
    Low Bitrate pulsarsimon's Avatar
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    Is there a PPC/Mac binary for LinuxICE?
    I could go and load XXX megs of developer tools, and try compiling it, and then try 10 more times to make it compile.

    If I successfully have it running, will it be better than the FE that I use now?

    or just another different FE that doesn't have the-kitchen-sink ?
    MacMini in an Alfa? - Why not!

  9. #9
    Raw Wave treetop777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev000 View Post
    informative analysis as a "desperate" advertisement to get people to use LinuxICE. Aside from me slipping in the word "LinuxICE" a few times, this has nothing to do with it and everything to do with software and software development.
    <man is in denial>

    BUT..let me go see what this "LinuxICE is about. (guess it worked)
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  10. #10
    Confusion Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev000 View Post

    I guess I'm not busy enough if I'm responding to posts like yours which are obvious ploys to arouse a response.

    Enforcer, you are more than welcome to try LinuxICE 2 when it's released if you so chose. Otherwise, don't mistake a informative analysis as a "desperate" advertisement to get people to use LinuxICE. Aside from me slipping in the word "LinuxICE" a few times, this has nothing to do with it and everything to do with software and software development.
    And you starting this thread was not to get a response?

    When I have a free machine I will try LinuxICE (x), thanks.

    It's just that you have now started a number of 'Front End discussion' threads, all coming at it from a slightly different angle, it just seems a cry for attention to me for some reason.


    Let me say something on the Front End situation.

    To say Road Runner and Centrafuse 'came in early and grabbed hearts and minds' is a little misleading. When I first came to the forum neither of these two were available (and I wasn't even here at the beginning).

    What I saw was Media Engine as being the DeFacto FE and rumours of another which escapes me for the moment which had almost died out.

    Oh and there was a large button skin for winamp.

    Then came along Coyote who started MediaCar, a breath of fresh air with a new Front End which seemed to offer more than Media Engine (Never really got along with that, sorry Phat B and <name to be inserted>)

    At this time we had a few more front ends all which started got the basics but never really moved on, until CentarFuse. Then Coyote disappeared (rumoured to have gone comercial but I have not seen the comercial product??)

    Then Guino came along and wrote a MediaCar clone, but it was more than a clone, yes it used the same skins, but it became so much more and was the first (IMO) to really have a viable plugin structure.

    Then came attempts at both RoadRunner and Centrafuse clones (never eally understood that part).

    And just recently we have had a rush of about two or three new FE's

    Also of course there have been Linux and apple based FE's but being a 'MS fanboy' I have kind of missed on them.

    What I am trying to say there is always room for a new frontend, but it has to not only offer something that the current leaders don't, but they really have offer what these do.

    And one thing that is really important is a good plugin structure (maybe I am biased) with good plugin examples to work from.


    Although personally, if I was to do a Front End I wouldn't do a front end per se. I would just do a skinning engine with a very good plugin setup. That way it should be fast, light and users would only have install the bits they wanted.

    Anyway enough of my ramble.

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