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Why We Love Things We Build Ourselves

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the labor-of-love dept.

Science 263

RichDiesal writes "The IKEA Effect refers to the tendency for people to value things they have created/built themselves more than if made by someone else – in fact, nearly as much as if an expert with much greater skill had created the same item. Is this the reason that open source software proponents are so 'enthusiastic' about their products while the general market resists them – because those proponents had a hand in developing them?"

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263 comments

to and extent.. (1)

slydder (549704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489026)

this is most assuredly true. I have noticed this tendency in myself over the years and have, at times, been hard pressed to see the other side of the coin.

Re:to and extent.. (2, Insightful)

justforgetme (1814588) | about 2 years ago | (#37489260)

I do agree that the IKEA effect is real but I don't think that FOSS is a pile of crap like the OP hints
from the summary: " ... while the general market resists them ... "

I'm no expert here but I think the general market embraces FOSS software. I mean look at firefox, openoffice, vlc, mpc-hc... and when you get to smaller utilities it is even more open source stuff: ffmpeg (and many other codecs), hundreds of browser plugins, you name it they have it in open source.

If the OP meant FOSS OSs then I partially agree, the genpop is not interested and mainly avoids FOSS OSs but the reason behind it is not the IKEA effect but the "I am afraid to learn new things" effect which has plagued humankind for that best part of last century and the full ongoing one..
just my 2c

Re:to and extent.. (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#37489318)

Indeed. Ikea is a pile of incompatible crap. And frankly, I don't subscribe to that mindset at all. I have enough Ikea crap here to know I don't like Ikea crap. And when it comes to software I write myself vs someone else's who did a better job? I'm going to go with what's better.

My Linux is in primary use by me because it is good. It is used in countless reliable devices because it is good.

The main thing the mainstream has against "alternatives to Windows" is that they can't just get any software to run and most software is for Windows. Apple/Mac users understand this much. And when Windows users try Mac, that's the first thing they realize. It's a huge problem to let go of an entire software ecosystem in favor of a smaller, less known one.

The Ikea effect is a nice idea and might have been more true a decade or more ago, but not so much now.

Re:to and extent.. (1)

slydder (549704) | about 2 years ago | (#37489660)

I'm not so sure about that. I get the feeling that it is more true today than before.

Just look at some of the competing Projects out there. Some are obviously dying a slow death and the devs just won't let it go. But hey, you never know. They could just make a comeback in a few months/years time.

Re:to and extent.. (0)

node 3 (115640) | about 2 years ago | (#37489466)

I'm no expert here but I think the general market embraces FOSS software.

No, the general market embraces software which works for them. That's rarely, but sometimes, open source software. Even the most successful open source software (Firefox) is used by a minority of users.

I mean look at firefox, openoffice, vlc, mpc-hc...

Firefox is the only real success there, where regular people actually chose it on its merits in large numbers. OpenOffice is only used by "normal" people to the very small extent it is because it's free. If MS Office were also free (but not open source), OpenOffice usage would be even lower still.

VLC is kind of an in-between. Most people have never heard of it (like OO.o, but unlike Firefox), but is highly popular among geeks and middle-ground users. Not because it's all that great, but because it plays pretty much anything.

Re:to and extent.. (1)

slydder (549704) | about 2 years ago | (#37489566)

I should have clarified my answer a bit better. I basically agree with the IKEA effect only.

Whether it's OS or commercial software doesn't matter. The effect is the same and is purely a matter of context.

I have coded in both areas and have noticed this effect, not only in myself but others as well. And depending on how involved one is in the Project determines also how emphatic one is regarding the Project and thus determining the degree of the IKEA effect in play.

Yes (4, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489038)

Yes.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489208)

No?

I am OSS enthusiast, I promote code, even though I have no skills of writing it?

Re:Yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489312)

Creators are proud of their creations != People proud of things created them

Re:Yes (2)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#37489654)

That seems to be what the trollish summary is trying to get at though. Most software designers are excited about their software, whether it's open source or proprietary. The summary reads as if it's trying to say that open source is only popular among its creators, which is clearly not true.

Re:Yes (1)

terjeber (856226) | about 2 years ago | (#37489362)

It doesn't explain why it doesn't have a higher uptake in the world at large.

Thankfully that can also be explained by the IKEA effect. Open source software, to a huge degree, looks like it was put together by someone with only the vaguest idea of how it will actually be used. As with IKEA furniture, the "parents" have strong ideas on how to actually do it, and what the end result should look like and each discussion about this ends in a divorce and two parents hacking together semi-functional furniture in different houses. Mostly the parents gets religion at this point centered around how IKEA furniture should look and be used. While the parents are arguing the children are languishing in limbo an never really get any usable desk on which to do their homework.

There are exceptions to this, the Linux core for example, has a single parent mostly and is being managed dictatorially according to good IKEA furniture building practice. I wish I could say the same for any Linux GUI for example, or OO for that matter, and don't get me going on that bloated memory-leaking horror that is Firefox.

Its kind of in our nature, no? (3, Insightful)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489042)

Sure, the world has it's share of deadbeats but there are plenty of parents out there who would do anything to watch their kids succeed. Isn't that what an application is to its developer?

Maybe its something else though. I know that when i was going through my programming lessons I really wanted to get things done perfectly. Sure, the lessons from the texts were cookiecutter, but i went on to play with the concepts learned from the text. I played with my own small applications and wrote features I thought would be interesting or necessary. It wasn't anything big. It would never be a huge success, but it was mine.

This is my program (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489234)

There are many like it.
But this one is mine.

Re:This is my program (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489710)

...and belongs to me and I own it, and what it is too.

Re:Its kind of in our nature, no? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#37489262)

I agree but I wouldn't equate programmer to program relationship the same as parent to child.
If that were the case I would be a lousy parent, favoring a few, and abandoning a slew of them because I got board with them and the concept.

When we create, we feel useful as a human, and have tangible proof of this usefulness.

Re:Its kind of in our nature, no? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489546)

i hate the things i make. i even more hate the things i cook. and if you were to try them, you'd hate them too

music (0)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489056)

This is the reason why I think musicians should release their music in a multitrack format. Imagine the possibilities for remixing. Such an attitude would fit perfectly in the do-it-yourself youtube culture that we are living in now.

Re:music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37489108)

Multi-tracked music doesn't fit in with the commercial, popular YouTube-culture you are living a part of now.

Re:music (0)

HornyBastard (666805) | about 2 years ago | (#37489154)

Musicians love the music that they created the way they created it.
They want the world to hear what they created. Not a remix put together by some tone-deaf moron.

Re:music (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489248)

Fine, but if the release played the way the musicians wanted for all the 'normal' people but had multitrack on special higher priced equipment, it might be a win-win, and there might be money in the multitrack equipment.

Wish I had mod points (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about 2 years ago | (#37489376)

Quite right. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard a damn good song reduced to crap by some muppet "DJ" who should have stuck to spinning the disks rather than trying to make them.

Re:music (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#37489492)

Unfortunately many musicians these days don't love music at all, they simply love money and music is nothing more than a means to an end.

Re:music (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489192)

If the culture is so "do-it-yourself" why does someone else need to release tracks for others to mix?

Re:music (1)

unapersson (38207) | about 2 years ago | (#37489646)

It's like the source coming with the software. You can enjoy the original work as it is, but you also have the freedom to adapt it, chop it up and change it into something else.

Re:music (1)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#37489718)

Different people are good at different things, even if they're working in the same industry. In the music industry, a sound engineer might not be able to actually play any instruments, but that doesn't mean he can't be great at recording, mixing down volume levels etc.

In the software industry, people build on others' work all the time. If the culture were completely do it yourself, everyone would have to write their own operating system and drivers just to run their application on top of.

Ikea Customers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37489064)

are also more likely to appreciate worthless chipboard so it makes sense that after they put together a worthless disgrace of a table that to gloss over their pathetic nature they react as if they built the empire state building all by their very own selves.

Re:Ikea Customers (4, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489084)

Maybe more people would appreciate furniture built from good materials if those manufacturing furniture didn't think a rectangular TV stand made from wood and with proportions a first-year design student knows by heart was somehow worth $500+ just because it wasn't ugly as hell (I've become increasingly convinced that furniture manufacturers deliberately make their cheaper pieces of furniture ugly in various ways to ensure sales of their more expensive furniture remain high).

Of course, even IKEA seems to be doing this. Their cheaper furniture often looks like they took a decent design and "tweaked" it to have weird proportions and added some random design elements that would ugly it up a bit...

Re:Ikea Customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489412)

my God, your thoughts about design consisting of "proportions" and the possibility of "uglying it up a bit" are bewildering. Do you have a design newslettter? I don't wish to subscribe, but you could consider reveiwing McDonald's packaging elements for evidence of uglying up the cheapest offerings.

Re:Ikea Customers (1)

mikael_j (106439) | about 2 years ago | (#37489510)

Proportions are very important when it comes to design. Ever hear of the golden ratio [wikipedia.org]?

A great way to make something you've designed look ugly is to tweak the proportions, or if you have something that looks a bit too formal or strict you can "fix" it by breaking symmetry (since humans tend to associate symmetry with order, this is why most "boring" corporate logos are symmetrical while those that try to project a "fun" or "edgy" image of the company go for less symmetry).

And as I stated, any first-year design student (industrial, web, whatever) would know this very well. That major furniture manufacturers would be oblivious to it is highly unlikely.

True (1)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489076)

I recently created this piece of css myself:

section#a2footer.grid_24 {
    display: none;
}

And I love it! Bye bye slashdot tweet/fb/+1 buttons

Re:True (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about 2 years ago | (#37489138)

I created this: its my ~/.bashrc

alias firefox="/usr/bin/links2"

-------------

And I love it! Bye bye any kind of graphical respresentation of non-charaset entities applied via a digital media interface.

Re:True (1)

jbov (2202938) | about 2 years ago | (#37489194)

Exactly the same reason why I use Mutt for e-mail. Bye bye font families, colors, variants, and sizes. Bye bye embedded images, iframes, etc..

Now, if I can only get people to copy and paste text from application error messages. My customers prefer to take a screen shot, paste it into a Word document, save it, then attach the word doc within an e-mail. Then I have to save the attachment and open with libreoffice, just so I can finally read a one line error message like, "rsync connection reset by peer".

Re:True (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489276)

just have a script that converts the screenshot to ascii art

Re:True (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 2 years ago | (#37489748)

You would have to ensure the script maintains the "golden ratio" for the displayed art or you lose the visual impact of rightness provided by the screenshot. The script would need a lookup table for variable fonts to ensure proper ratios to keep that golden ratio. Oh, now this is no longer a script but now a small app with a database; sounds like an open source project. Need to setup some space on github to keep track of the project.....what were we doing in the first place?

Re:True (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 2 years ago | (#37489326)

I don't know about Linux, but on Windows it is usually impossible to select and copy the text inside an error message. And I guess your users are too lazy to type it to the email.

Around since the dawn of time - NOT IKEA! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37489080)

A person who has fashioned an item from the start will implicity trust it in operation until proved otherwise, because they saw it's construction. This is true of any tool in any era. That trust is extended to "experts" generally because those are individuals whom other people you trust (that have tools provided by said expert) have recommended for that same "the tool works for me" reason.

Quite why we need to ascribe a brand name to this offends my sensibilities. Not everything requires a brand.

Re:Around since the dawn of time - NOT IKEA! (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | about 2 years ago | (#37489360)

It's also a cognitive distortion -- the more time a person has invested in something, the less likely he/she is to see flaws in it. It's an evolutionary "stay-the-course" mechanism that operates until sufficiently disruptive information is presented.

This is probably the same mechanism on overdrive that we often see in partisan politics.

So let me get this straight... (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489090)

...the most outspoken OSS proponents are in fact the developers of OSS, to the extent that other users are just background noise? If regular users are so silent, then this must mean that the exponential spread of OSS must be due in fact to the developers. Ergo, developers are in fact brilliant marketers. A prime example of this would be the GNU Image Manipulation Program, which succeeds because of its sexy acronym.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37489118)

I feel like i made linux from scratch every time i have a working installation that is 100% working with harddisks, dvd, colors, high res, 3d, sounds, and working keyboard + mouse!

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

jpapon (1877296) | about 2 years ago | (#37489180)

Even more so if it was a laptop!

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 2 years ago | (#37489428)

Even more so if it was a laptop!

You must be installing it on some pretty weird laptops then!

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

jpapon (1877296) | about 2 years ago | (#37489540)

Indeed, getting the NVIDIA card, CUDA, the trackpad, the usb ports, sound, wireless, ethernet, the screen, and the onboard graphics working on my new Dell XPS 15Z was a fricking nightmare. Each one of those required a custom solution.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 2 years ago | (#37489186)

I feel like i made linux from scratch every time i have a working installation that is 100% working with harddisks, dvd, colors, high res, 3d, sounds, and working keyboard + mouse!

I'm afraid that's what you get when you install Linux from here [linuxfromscratch.org]. Try getting it from here [fedoraproject.org] or here [ubuntu.com] instead!

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489254)

i usually just insert the cd/usb and press yes a few times and usually everything will work (this depends on the distro), unlike windows where i have to spend hours chasing drivers for various crap and maybe not find any if i god forbid where to upgrade windows without buying a new pc

bsd is a bit more tricky to get working as a desktop machine

only os that actually works 100% after installation is os x (on mac hardware ;) ) but its no fun so i avoid using it

Re:So let me get this straight... (2, Informative)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | about 2 years ago | (#37489488)

unlike windows where i have to spend hours chasing drivers

You must remember windows 95 and windows ME and take it as a reference...

I have had the EXACT same sentiments about Linux with this process:

  • List all your hardware
  • Partition your drives
  • Start installation, guess on some hardware settings (guess wrong, you don't know where to change it later and spend hours online and in manuals)
  • Be happy, you have an XFree desktop.
  • Tweak the config file to recognize your 3D card so you can have a higher resolution
  • XFree doesn't boot up anymore

Ubuntu etc has been a step up

  • Insert CD
  • Install
  • See desktop, be happy. Have high resolutions
  • Install program...
  • sudo... compile failed, library not found
  • Hunt down references and libraries
  • Obscure fora, no support
  • Have library, library version not supported
  • Try to watch video..
  • 2 hours trying to get codecs installed.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489354)

I feel like i made linux from scratch every time i have a working installation that is 100% working with harddisks, dvd, colors, high res, 3d, sounds, and working keyboard + mouse!

Ewe must make Canonical feel very proud - the way you hit that Enter key is just magic.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Inconexo (1401585) | about 2 years ago | (#37489228)

Well, IKEA customers aren't carpenters either. They don't make the library. They assemble it following the precise steps they are told to.

Installing a Debian distro and selecting which packages you want to install is even more close to "build yourself".

what's your question again? (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489092)

Is this the reason that open source software developers are so 'enthusiastic' about their products while the general market resists them – because those proponents had a hand in developing them?

And note the general market is coming around, yo.

Over simplified? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37489116)

For me at least the economic element of building something myself is the driver in the first place. I put in place my kitchen because I was capable and I'd rather have spent the money a fitter would have cost on something else. If I'd been offered the same kitchen same price, fully professionally fitted I'd have taken it.

I could build certain electronic items, however the cost of the components vs the premade version makes it uneconomic. Even at the higher level of this, I used to be able to put together a PC from parts, these days I wouldn't bother.

I'm not sure the open source stuff works, the vast majority of open source users don't have an involvement in writing the software, and the software is largely written by experts anyway. Perhaps there is something in the idea of user customisation, tweaking it to make it just so, but I suspect a large amount of users go for an out of the box configuration of and just add additional software they are interested in. That's no real different to a windows user.

No. (3, Interesting)

kayumi (763841) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489122)

The main reasons for me and people I know are
1) cost effectiveness
2) the option to modify software as needed
3) no fear of lock-in
Also many 'enthusiastic' open source software proponents have never even looked at the code. In academic environments people write/use open source programs without giving much thought to who wrote something. The main points are usability and time requirements. If something is usable and can be used quickly then we use it no matter who wrote it.

Say what? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489130)

I usually like Open Source software but the reason has very little to do with the source being available.
What I really like is projects that are made on hobby basis without an economic driving force behind them.
This is because those things are usually made to solve a problem and do it well.
Once a project goes commercial marketing enters the picture and suddenly the application gets a splash-screen for no apparant reason. Then the buttons grow and become bulky. The interfac will be reworked to be "userfriendly" which is marketing speak for "easy to demonstrate a simple function but if you actually are going to use it you will no longer be able to find the functions you are looking for" or possibly "friendly for beginner but not for users"

I am probably not representative for open source proponents since I don't mind closed source on an ideological basis.

Yes and not quite... (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about 2 years ago | (#37489134)

If you build an open source project, you make sure it works for you....

Its all about egos, I've discussed this many times with devs who can't "see" what I'm trying to point out - but who'd build something which they couldn't use / understand / like?

They think its brilliant because it does exactly what THEY expect - however their expections are wildly different to what the outside world expects.

For example I was discussing how to eject a CD on OSX the other day with someone - he couldn't understand the problem with the idea that dragging the CD to the recycle bin isn't something I (A realitively pro computer user) would concider for trying to eject the disk. For him it seemed so simple, so "normal". In open source you find the same, developers make decisions which work for them, but when a user can't understand why, because they haven't gone through the whole process the developer went with the attitude is "well it doesn't work for me".

Re:Yes and not quite... (1)

jpapon (1877296) | about 2 years ago | (#37489204)

dragging the CD to the recycle bin isn't something I (A realitively pro computer user) would concider for trying to eject the disk

I've had a Macbook for like 3 years now, and even though it is the best laptop I've ever owned, this still still bothers me.

How is it "natural" to drag storage you don't want to delete to the "trash"?? It actually took me a while (ie until I googled it) to figure out that's how you were supposed to eject things... fortunately there's also an eject button on the keyboard.

Re:Yes and not quite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489438)

I've got a 3 year old iMac, and I've always ejected CDs by right-clicking and choosing "eject" when not using the keyboard button.

Never have I needed to drag the CD icon to the trash.

Re:Yes and not quite... (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 2 years ago | (#37489450)

I've had a Macbook for like 3 years now, and even though it is the best laptop I've ever owned, this still still bothers me.

What version of MacOS X are you running? When I start dragging a volume, the "Trash" icon changes to an "Eject" icon.

And this is better how? (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#37489572)

Exactly what are you smoking that makes you think only showing an action once the user has already started it is intuitive?

To help you to understand: If I instruct you to hit the red button and there is only a green button but the green button turns red when you hit it, you are going to complain about that button and me a lot.

UI design mistakes are pretty common, as a designer you try to be original but forget that other people might not have the same mindset as you. It is very sad but either you are pushing things and upsetting people, or keeping people comfortable but always staying the same.

Re:Yes and not quite... (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 2 years ago | (#37489304)

Its all about egos [......]

Sort of, maybe. But i don't think it's really ego in the most commonly understood sense of the word.

[......] I've discussed this many times with devs who can't "see" what I'm trying to point out - but who'd build something which they couldn't use / understand / like?

That goes for everything in life. Everybody only ever does anything for themselves. For example, if you help someone, you do it because it helps build the sort of society you want to live in and because it makes you feel good about yourself. On a fundamental level, nobody ever does anything for any reason other than that it benefits themself in some way.

For example I was discussing how to eject a CD on OSX the other day with someone - he couldn't understand the problem with the idea that dragging the CD to the recycle bin isn't something I (A realitively pro computer user) would concider for trying to eject the disk. For him it seemed so simple, so "normal".

It is normal if you're a Mac user. It's been part of MacOS forever. But, i agree, it's totally fucking stupid!

Re:Yes and not quite... (1)

node 3 (115640) | about 2 years ago | (#37489528)

That goes for everything in life. Everybody only ever does anything for themselves. For example, if you help someone, you do it because it helps build the sort of society you want to live in and because it makes you feel good about yourself. On a fundamental level, nobody ever does anything for any reason other than that it benefits themself in some way.

That is absolutely false. I (and I'm pretty sure, just about everyone who ever existed) have helped people for no reason other than that they needed help. There was no overarching intention to create a better society or anything like that.

A combination of several human psychies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489140)

Curiosity, egotism/arrogance, self righteousness, self-importance, some form of altruism, hope, boredom come quickly to my mind.

I would never socialize with a slashot user! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489150)

I would never socialize with a slashdot user.
No. Just no. lol. I would be mortified if someone saw me with a bunch of neckbeards waddling around with their cell phones strapped to their waists. Half of you have been in junior college for almost a decade. Blech.
My time is precious, and I can afford to be choosy when it comes to people I associate with. I wouldn't even look at you if you tried to get my attention.

The real IKEA effect (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489164)

Training customers to accept cheap shoddy goods

The same item ... (3, Interesting)

gutnor (872759) | about 2 years ago | (#37489176)

If you can't tell the difference between something built by somebody that has more skill than you do, so there is no reason not to be proud of yourself. For entry to moderate level DIY or craft, the main difference between an amateur and a professional is the productivity: i.e. how much time it takes the professional and his consistency in result.

For high level stuff, that is another matter. I can only talk personally, but since I have started metal smithing as a hobby, I value a lot less the average piece you can buy all assembled (not even talking about the mass produced shit). However, I began to be amazed by what master craftman can do. ( and as collateral damage, I have paid price for piece that I would not have considered reasonable before )

The general market? (2)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | about 2 years ago | (#37489188)

Of course we love what we make even if it sucks, but interesting choice of words. "Market" refers to people buying stuff, but OSS isn't necessarily for sale. Nor do people advertise or "sell" as do those who cater towards "markets". Red Hat sells service, not OSS.

So, "resist" is not the reason why OSS isn't selling. The problem is more about the lack of sales and marketing. People need to be told what to buy as with Apple with great ads, or get cornered into it as with Windows pre-installed in everything.

The ecosystem of OSS is what is resisting OSS becoming a market.

Re:The general market? (1)

node 3 (115640) | about 2 years ago | (#37489550)

So, "resist" is not the reason why OSS isn't selling. The problem is more about the lack of sales and marketing.

The lack of success of Open Source software has nothing to do with marketing. It has to do with the software not meeting people's needs and preferences.

OSS does often meet the needs and preferences of nerds, which is why it's so popular with the Slashdot crowd, but most people have different preferences. For the market that OSS is a good match for, it does rather well. But that market is not the general consumer market, and that has nothing to do with lack of getting the "message" out there, or branding, or anything like that whatsoever. It's entirely down to the fact that the general consumer market has different preferences.

Karl Marx anyone? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489212)

So I suppose the twit who dubbed this "the Ikea effect" never heard of this neckbeard from the 19th century and his theory of alienation?

Didn't they call that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489240)

Why We Love Things We Build Ourselves

Didn't they call that the Oppenheimer syndrome [wikipedia.org]?

nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489242)

I don't place much value on my IKEA type furniture that I assembled myself. Also, I don't think I could call that "creating" something. However, I do highly value all the open source software I use, which to be honest, I didn't lift a finger to help create, maintain, or improve.

Yes and no (4, Interesting)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#37489244)

Of course I'm enthusiastic about using software I've contributed to, but remember that the reason I spend time contributing to them is because I was using them in the first place. There's other free software I have nothing to do with, which I'm still very fond of, mostly because they're constantly improving for free (with a few arguable exceptions in Ubuntu's case).

Compare pre-built alterable to non-alterable? (1)

jbov (2202938) | about 2 years ago | (#37489256)

They touched a bit on whether or not the creations could be customized. The article stated that the build value was higher regardless of whether or not customization was possible. This is why they used Ikea products, non-alterable, and lego structures, alterable.

For an comparison to open source software projects, it would be interesting to see the perceived values of the two pre-built items, one which as configurable, and one which is not. For example, a pre-built piece of furniture made from pieces which could be reconfigured to produce a modified structure, versus a pre-built structure with pieces that were permanently joined together.

This is something that is considered by people choosing to rent or buy something. Like an apartment in which you are not allowed to paint the walls. Even if an end user of a software product does not contribute to the build, there is value in knowing the end user may hire someone to make alterations on his or her behalf.

That being said, this study is spot on. Putting your own blood, sweat, and tears into any project increases its value, at least to you.

Two important caveats (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489288)

1) Most OSS enthusiasts cannot code. It's unfortunate, but true.
2) The study cited is not publicly available. Psychology studies are often very flawed in various ways and until it becomes freely available and we can be sure that many more eyes, also (or should I say especially) outside the field, have had a look at it.
There is also something asinine about citing a closed paper in an OSS-related article.

Easier to move (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#37489300)

I hate assembling IKEA stuff but it's is still much easier than trying to move a prebuilt furniture to the room. First you have to pay extra for delivery as it doesn't fit into a car. Then you need to rearrange your home to make way for it. After that you need two people, who, in perfect unison, try to move it through the house without hitting any lamps or mirrors, painfully forcing it through every door. And if one of your doors is too small, when then you are out of luck.

Re:Easier to move (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489400)

and moving cross country is even easier. You just give everything away on Freecycle or Kijiji and get new furniture at your destination, since that is cheaper than the transport cost.

Re:Easier to move (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 2 years ago | (#37489684)

and if you are really unlucky, the soda gets stuck on a curved flight of stairs in a seemingly impossible way with no apparent way of getting it out.

Independence (2)

Angst Badger (8636) | about 2 years ago | (#37489352)

As far as I can tell, we're hard-wired to derive pleasure from independence and self-reliance, probably because it's an advantageous trait in evolutionary terms.

Many years ago, I was into vintage Volkswagens for a while. As anyone who has owned one of these beasts can tell you, they're extremely unreliable and require more or less constant maintenance to keep running, and unless you're prepared to do it yourself, you'd better have a lot of money to hand to the dwindling number of mechanics who know how to work on the damn things. I had never worked on cars before or been particular interested in doing so, but I adapted to necessity, and after a while, I got good enough at it to keep my ancient VW running most of the time.

On one hand, it was annoying to have the thing break down by the side of the road, but on the other, there was a really quite profound sense of satisfaction in being able to open the engine compartment, figure out what was wrong, fix it, and pull back into traffic. In practical terms, this was pointless, of course -- my time and money would have been better spent on buying something more reliable, which I eventually did -- but the emotional payoff surprised me with its intensity. I've heard similar sentiments come from hobbyists of all kinds, farmers, craftsmen, etc.

All that said, I'm not sure it's the main factor in OSS evangelism. The type of person who programs for fun is generally attracted to exploring complexity and mastering it, and the parallel seems to be more like what puzzle fans of all kinds get out of their hobby. When someone tries to convince someone else to use a complex (if powerful) tool over the droolproof commercial product they're currently satisfied with, it has a lot more in common with trying to turn them on to a favorite hobby than with an expression of self-reliance.

OSS != DIY for most people (1)

melonman (608440) | about 2 years ago | (#37489368)

The overwhelming proportion of OSS users, and even OSS enthusiasts, never contribute to OSS, so the whole premise of the claim seems flawed to me.

Re:OSS != DIY for most people (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | about 2 years ago | (#37489694)

Exactly, a more apt analogy is something like a Caterham car.

Supplied in parts, so you can build it yourself, or you can buy it from a company that assembles them for you.

I made this! (2)

6Yankee (597075) | about 2 years ago | (#37489380)

I hand-crafted this comment all by myself and it's worth more than any other on the page. Of course, all the other commenters will disagree...

Re:I made this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489744)

I would like to purchase your comment. Unlike the people in the made-up article, I prefer my stuff to be made by others with better tools and training than myself.

A better way to look at it (4, Insightful)

techsoldaten (309296) | about 2 years ago | (#37489404)

I agree with the IKEA affect, at some level, but believe people are wrong about what it means. Just because someone has worked on an open source project does not mean they have rose colored glasses and expect it will solve every problem more efficiently than another alternative. In my view, it means that they have a more sophisticated view of what the project actually can do, in part because it is open, and are ready to share that information.

I own an open source company that deals with Drupal and CiviCRM. It is not uncommon to be in a conversation where someone is telling me of course I think Drupal is the greatest thing out there, and assumes I am not well versed in anything else. I can go on about the virtues of Drupal all day long, but that is besides the point. I have an in-depth understanding of Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla (and it's predecessor Mambo), Plone, Xoops, and a number of other open source tools.

I have contributed to each of these platforms at one time or another and understand the way they work in great detail. Compared to Sharepoint, where I don't understand the internals, I am not going to have a lot to say. If you come to me asking what you should be using, I am going to talk about Drupal, but am also going to ask what you currently use.

There are parallels with the automotive industry that can help explain what is going on there.

My mechanic actually makes cars. He purchases transmissions, chassis, all the component parts you need to assemble them. He has a large lot, looks almost like a junkyard on the outside, and he keeps a fleet of jumkers around to restore them and sell them off. On the inside, his shop is a paradise of tools, diagnostic machines and the like.

His obsession with cars extends to his personal life. His house is filled with cardboard boxes that contain custom parts he picked up because he knows what he can do with them. He can explain them in terms of torque, output and a lot of other factors that go beyond my ability to appreciate a car and what it does.

My neighbor is also someone I would call a car guy and drives a german supercar. It was top of the line when he bought it. I mention the car to the mechanic, and he can tell me about every part in it and why it is good or bad. He has strong opinions about the car and why it is poorly designed, with several prognostications about parts that will die prematurely due to flaws.

When I speak to my neighbor about it, all he knows is he has an expensive car. that impresses people. He can talk about all the luxury lines and his knowledge of the component parts extends to the makeup of the interior, the warmth of the seats, the placement of cup holders, and the like. What he really cares about is not under the hood, it's how the car looks to other people.

If you put the question to both of these kind of people about what kind of car to drive, you are going to get very different answers because one understands how cars are built, the other understands what the car means to other people who see it. There is a qualitiative difference there people don't always appreciate between different types of afficinados.

That said, there are ideological zealots out there who will always tell you to use a platform for it's own sake. I don't always get the sense these people always know what they are talking about, and generally get the feeling they cling to one platform due to their ignorance of the benefits of others. They have a tendency to become very defensive when confronted and make very bold assertions in the absence of facts.

This later class of people generally don't have much to do with how the platform is built. They tend to be the ones who are proponents of the platform and have strong opinions based on their participation in the community. While they can be fun to spend time with, there are situations where you get sick of being around them. To be candid, there are a lot of people in open source communities who are like this, and I think that's where the confusion comes from.

But don't mistake them for the people who actually love open source and understand it's benefits and drawbacks in comparion to other platforms.

Man is not a woman (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 2 years ago | (#37489422)

Women make children and give them birth.
Men cannot, but they find various ways to indirectly compensate for that gap.

Endemic (1)

biodata (1981610) | about 2 years ago | (#37489426)

Computers only do a very few things that are really different from each other. During the past 30 years I've seen the same things developed over and over and over again. The IKEA effect is strong in every organisation I've ever worked in, at least as much in commercial software as in FOSS, and is the reason for 80% of software development in my estimation. Everyone thinks they can build things better than anyone else and everyone insists that their own solution is better than anything else 'out there'.

I do it because quality is shit nowadays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489430)

In my experience few blue-collar workers take any pride in their work anymore so if I at least have a clue how to do something, the result will be much better if I (after extensive googling) do it myself instead of let somebody else do it - albeit it takes me so much longer that it's certainly not cost-efficient. One trick I try to use, though, when I take my bike for maintenance is that since I used to be a real cycling enthusiast is to exchange a few words about maintenance and especially say that whilst the guy is the professional that knows a lot more than I do, I have done enough maintenance myself to know a good job when I see it. So far, it has in my experience yielded better results. Ideally I'd know a lot more about all sorts of work so I could do the same every time I need something done.

like others have said.. not ikea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489432)

This has been around forever. And yes, I value things I built myself more than stuff other built. I'm sure that also golds true to most people here.
Why? Well you know example how much work went into it, blood, sweat, and tears... how many cuts, splinters smashed fingers etc.
its one reason a lot of people do their own work on their cars.. yeah its a pain sometimes (timing belt in a pt cruiser = want to kill the engineers) but knowing you did it gives a sense of pride. Just like the deck I build, and later the wrap around deck extension. Putting in all that time and work under the summer sun wasn't easy but I did it and it turned out great. Had I hired a company or someone else to do it, the work of giving them a check or cash just isn't the same and in ways reduces it to a throw-away object (doesn't always hold true with the throw away part.. such as the larger, more expensive deck and extension, but for furniture and such that mostly use MDF or other "non-real" wood)

Plus building it yourself gives it character.

Riight keep telling yourself that (1)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | about 2 years ago | (#37489478)

It is funny how some people keep repeating that "the market resists open source" while open source software is taking over bigger and bigger chunks of the market. Currently open source absolutely dominates web server operating systems, and web server software. It mostly dominates web application databases and is invading in the territory of other databases. It is on the way of dominating embedded operating systems including cell phones. It dominates new programming languages.

So yeah, we do not have desktop domination yet, but open source is doing quite well and it is constantly encroaching on new sectors.

Duh (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 years ago | (#37489534)

People value what they spend time doing more than what they don't? Social scientists have been saying that for a long time before IKEA existed. It's why organizations ask you to do something small for them - such as tell your friends about a fundraiser - because you will value the org more because you did something yourself (and probably do more in the future.)

IKEA not really geeky (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 2 years ago | (#37489564)

I love building my own stuff, more than most /.ers. Anything electronic in the house is done my yours truly. As is most cooking. Bicycles I build myself. I even build by own car [caterham.co.uk] and I even persuade the dealer to allow me do so.

Building your own stuff is great when your labour results in having stuff finished as it's supposed to be. And here's where IKEA just isn't worth the effort. After huge amounts of labour you almost always wind up with particle board stuff. Ugly, without any personality whatsoever to it and heavy as lead. Ever tried rearranging average IKEA furniture? Ever moved house with IKEA furniture?

A couple of years ago I wanted a sideboard and went through all the alternatives. I decided for Italian design furniture that was double the price of similar IKEA stuff. But altogether I got a much better deal. The sideboard looks stunning, it is made of real wood, it was delivered to my home and was installed by competent people.

An acquaintance of mine with a very comfortable job -he earns shit loads of money- thinks he's a bit of a geek because he buys his furniture at IKEA's. His wife absolutely loathes the protestant furniture, which one way or another is never finished perfectly -unaligned panels and doors, the works. How are you going to die happily when your bank account is full to the brim and you own IKEA furniture?

To me IKEA furniture does not make any sense and certainly does not make you a geek. It shows you generally have no taste and that you are quickly beguiled into buying apparently cheep stuff without considering the bigger picture.

Re:IKEA not really geeky (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 2 years ago | (#37489714)

IKEA is fine for a piece of furniture that you know is going to be beat to crap anyway. They also offer high end/commercial stuff too (with a long warranty to back it).

Less TV, more books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37489628)

Read about the philosophy behind the free software movement, you'll see that the motivation is not IKEA effect: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/

More of a Training Barrier (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#37489672)

I think a major barrier to the uptake of OSS in general is training. Most high schools teach MS Office, Flash, and Visual Studio instead of their open counterparts. People like to use what they're familiar with. They may not even know that an OSS alternative is available, let alone that OSS even exists.
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