I’m a bit new to the open source development process, so it was quite exciting to receive a patch submitted by Vadi to improve the Functy user interface. One of the big advantages of open source development is supposed to be that anyone is in a position to improve the software: bugs get fixed, features get added and improvements get committed at a faster pace.
To my mind this is a great example. Although Ubuntu/Gnome is an environment I use a fair bit, I’m not as familiar with its UI conventions as many other people are. Nonetheless, user interface consistency is the sort of thing that can make or break a program (or platform) and has a real impact on a user’s experience. So it’s great to get a patch that improves Functy in just this way.
Compare and contrast the old version of the Functy function list window with the new version shown below. For a start, it has nice icons that improve the appearance. More importantly, as Vadi points out in the forums, it also fits with the standard style better, as you can see by taking a look at the interface for the Gnome Network Manager applet shown below right.
The Functy interface is still a bit non-standard (maybe because I dislike menus?), but for me this is a nice improvement to the program in an area where it takes experience that I don’t have. So while I’m sure there are problems for me ahead as I get to grips with open source development, so far the experience is proving positive!