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Expression taken from Anthony Masure’s recent article:

In libre software culture, it is hazardous to think in terms of mere “tools” and “solutions”: by not being governed by companies with market objectives, free-of-rights (libre) work environments require understanding values of sharing and contribution, and involvement in the design of protocols. Free software are often rough and unintuitive, and contest the status of being a mere “user.”

Anthony Masure, Ouvrir le livre. HEAD – Publishing, une cellule éditoriale engagée dans la dissémination des savoirs, 2021

This “roughness” may echo the notion of “user-unfriendliness” (counterpart of the pervasive user-friendliness) from critical designers Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby.

The friction in free software releases them from a congenital flaw of clean-cut interfaces: by avoiding the passivity of the “user”, they go beyond the simplistic binarity of “tools-solutions.” They integrate within a fluid and dynamic processes which could not be frozen in predefined ways of doing things, decided by programmers-computer-scientists-engineers-designers, whose work is (often) dictated by market or capital (rather than being centred on the true community needs, respecting of users’ rights, inciting critical thinking).