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Why We Love Things We Build Ourselves 263

Posted by samzenpus
from the labor-of-love dept.
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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Why We Love Things We Build Ourselves

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  • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fantomas (94850) on Friday September 23, 2011 @04:35AM (#37489038)

    Yes.

    • by terjeber (856226)

      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 d

  • by metalmaster (1005171) on Friday September 23, 2011 @04:36AM (#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.
    • 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.

  • Ikea Customers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mikael_j (106439) on Friday September 23, 2011 @04:44AM (#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 (Score:4, Informative)

      by necro81 (917438) on Friday September 23, 2011 @07:22AM (#37489836) Journal
      IKEA furniture uses almost no chipboard. This is one of the reasons why I have some of it: the parts that look like real wood are, well, real wood. It is birch and fir for the most part - not maple, walnut, and mahogany - but real wood nonetheless. Aside from metal components, the only non-wood portions are some panels of thin MDF, for instance forming the back wall of a dresser. People might give IKEA shit for producing what seems to be cheap crap, but it is of much higher quality in materials, durability, and design than the majority of "some assembly required" furniture pushed by big box stores.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by crashmph (910095)
        I am gonna wave a really big bull shit flag here. Have you ever taken any of IKEA's furniture/shelves apart to adjust them to fit in a different size location? I recently bought a wooden (so i thought) table from there to use as a work surface. I needed to cut the table down by a foot or so as it was to wide. Once it was cut... the table top was 2 1/2" thick with an 1/8" worth of veneer on the top and bottom with CARDBOARD honeycomb through the center of the entire table. Only the 2-3" of edges had "ac
      • Re:Ikea Customers (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pluther (647209) <pluther@u s a . net> on Friday September 23, 2011 @10:56AM (#37492652) Homepage
        Real wood? Since when?

        I have plenty of IKEA furniture. It's perfect for my lifestyle - I take 3-6 month contracts and follow them around the country. When I move more than a couple of states away, I have found it's cheaper for me to completely furnish my house from Ikea than it is to rent a truck and move all my stuff. (Not to mention also easier and more fun).

        But, for the most part, it isn't "real wood" - most of the parts are laminate with folded cardboard on the inside.

        I don't buy it for its high quality, though - it's cheap, basically disposable, and not really meant to last. And, at the end of a contract, it's easy to post to Craigslist and can be disassembled to fit into most cars so people can come haul it off for me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2011 @04:43AM (#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.

  • ...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.

    • Your post sums up my problem with this article. I am not a developer, but I am a proponent of Open Source Software. I am not religiously a proponent of OSS, I use proprietary software for many things.
  • 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? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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

  • No. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kayumi (763841)

    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? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2011 @04:55AM (#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.

  • 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 probl

    • by jpapon (1877296)

      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.

      • 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.

        • 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 pushin

    • by WillKemp (1338605)

      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 Mac

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2011 @05:04AM (#37489164)

    Training customers to accept cheap shoddy goods

    • by wvmarle (1070040)
      In the computing world I'd call that the Microsoft effect.
    • by dasunt (249686)

      Training customers to accept cheap shoddy goods

      I'm not sure what you're buying at Ikea, but the stuff I buy seems to hold up pretty well. Yes, the cost is low, but quality wise, I'm pretty happy. I usually assemble any furniture with a dab of glue on the screws though.

      It's Walmart that I stopped buying most Ikea-ish items from, after I needed a bunch of cheap bookshelves and went to Walmart. The shelves slowly deform under the weight of the books.

  • The same item ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gutnor (872759) on Friday September 23, 2011 @05:06AM (#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 )

  • by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Friday September 23, 2011 @05:12AM (#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.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      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".

      Because if we call it evangelize then it's not market, or do you claim there are no evangelists?

      Red Hat sells service, not OSS.

      "We give you a crap product, but the service is cheap"? I'm pretty sure they market their product quite well too.

      The problem OSS has is not a lack of marketing, it's that there's one bunch of people doing the evangelizing and there's one group who is all "not my problem, fix it yourself, you got what you paid for" etc. It's like you got convinced into buying a Mac and Apple's development/support team told you to

  • Karl Marx anyone? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 23, 2011 @05:18AM (#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?

    • Probably not. I don't know about you, but I was brought up with the impression that Marx's books were unmitigated evil. Shortly after finishing college, I decided to investigate the taboo and found the writing difficult, as I had not been exposed to any philosophy before. Surely these factors repel those with a shallow curiosity who might have otherwise given it a try.

      There's a free online undergrad class available online that can get you well acquainted so you don't stay lost in the wilderness too long. ht [davidharvey.org]

  • Yes and no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday September 23, 2011 @05:27AM (#37489244) Homepage

    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).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • 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.
    • 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.
  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Friday September 23, 2011 @05:51AM (#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.

    • 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.

      Although this is exactly how I feel about myself, I've mostly found the complete opposite of most people. It probably depends on the person and the situation though. My parents are super DIY'ers for home repairs/improvements but when it comes to technology they just flat out refuse to learn how to do things themselves. They'd rather rely on me to "just fix it."

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        But do you feel that way about EVERY topic?

        What if the toilet breaks? What if a pipe breaks and starts spewing water all over?

        What if the catalytic converter in your car goes bad?

        If your roof needs fixing, you don't put on a new roof yourself, do you?

        I think *everybody* is like your parents -- they like (derive pleasure from independence and self-reliance ) fixing some things, but not others. Even if you had infinite time on your hands, there are probably subjects you don't really want to learn enough abo

  • 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.

    • 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.
  • by 6Yankee (597075) on Friday September 23, 2011 @05:57AM (#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...
  • by techsoldaten (309296) on Friday September 23, 2011 @06:01AM (#37489404) Journal

    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.

    • by w_dragon (1802458)
      Wish I had a mod point for you, this is the bast comment here so far :)
    • by Hatta (162192)

      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.

      You get two different answers because one is well-informed and correct, the other is ignorant and wrong. One cares about things that matter, the other car

      • by MrMickS (568778)

        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.

        You get two different answers because one is well-informed and correct, the other is ignorant and wrong. One cares about things that matter, the other cares about things that don't.

        No. You get two different answered because their selection criteria are different.

        My mother loves her iPad 2. It does everything that she wants from a computer. It's no good for me because I want to do things that it can't do. Does this make one of us right and the other wrong? Its not a zero-sum game. We can both be right.

  • Women make children and give them birth.
    Men cannot, but they find various ways to indirectly compensate for that gap.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Women make children and give them birth.

      They seem to have trouble doing this without men.

  • 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'.
  • 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

  • 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.)

  • 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 t
    • 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).
  • Sure, probably a little bit. You build a shoddy little app and you might have an irrational affinity for it even in the face of substantially more functional stuff. Though when you 'build' something (not assemble, as I would characterize IKEA stuff I've seen), you naturally tailor it precisely to your needs, so it generally isn't quite so irrational. The presumption that the market 'resists open source' is FUD/flamebait.

    The question is how do the popular open source projects get there. The answer is tha

  • Just because you made it yourself doesn't mean it's worse than the proprietary alternative. I'm using the Volti volume control applet in my task bar. Yes, I contributed to it. I'm using it not because of the pride of having contributed to it, but because now that it's patched, it does what I need it to. I've also written HD24tools, of which I *am* proud. That has little to do with me having written it, and more with what I've actually accomplished by doing so: I've got about 3500 users in 70 countries, runn
  • For me personally, I make things myself when I cut costs by doing so.
    I couldn't care less if some other person did it for me if it was cheaper and of the same quality, however this is rarely the case.
  • The IKEA effect? Are you serious?

    I'm from a poor background where we always had cheap crappy furniture we bought at [insert department store] and put together ourselves, this also continued for a bit into my adulthood until I had my career going, and at no point have I ever taken pride in that stuff, and I certainly never valued it more than good hand made furniture.

    Is this really happening? Are people really excited that they put pegs into side B and tightened down the lock nut?
    Man I think you have to have

  • I think that love extends to ignoring its flaws. For example people raise kids, even if they have some crappy behaviors they still will spend all day bragging about how good they are at X (football, math etc). 'You're Tommy set the neighbors dog on fire', 'yeah but isn't he so cute'.

    Open source I'd say it is they ignore their flaws. It is getting better but Gnome, KDE etc used to be really flaky. The cool features they advertised on each version would be so unstable as to be unusable (at least in the sens

  • The same can be said about commercial software developers. Go ahead...find one company that doesn't say that the software they created is the best tool for the job it's designed for.

    The only difference is the general market doesn't 'resist' them. I'd say the general market doesn't 'resist' open source software either...most just don't know about it, or just don't want to put in the time/effort to use it. When any given open source software is appropriate for a particular task, is easy to setup and use, a

  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Friday September 23, 2011 @08:40AM (#37490612) Homepage

    How many out there remember Heathkits? I guess you could call it that theIKEA effect on steroids. Back in the 70's I built my own Heathkit TV. I thought it was the best performing TV set I'd ever seen, and we did look in the stores at sets before buying that one. Many people built their own stereo receivers, portable radios (me too), and television sets from kits by Heath.

    Then there was this guy on PBS with a show called the "New Yankee Workshop". Norm Abrams also wrote a few books on furniture construction and offered plans to all of the projects he built on the TV show. I bought some basic wood working power tools (table saw, drills, router, etc) and learned how to use them thanks to Norm's "instruction". I build a number of small furniture items including two chests of drawers that were based on a project from the NYWS. Those two chests are (IMHO) better constructed than anything I could buy (REAL WOOD instead of particle board or cardboard and limited use of plywood).

    If you don't want to make your own from scratch, or bolt it together from IKEA there is always "Wood You". Wood You stores sell assembled furniture that is un-finished. They provide you with the materials to fine sand, stain or paint, and finish the product. I've gotten several pieces of furniture from them, and they are quite nice. The money saved on not finishing them allows Wood You to use better materials in construction (REAL WOOD!).

  • by kent_eh (543303) on Friday September 23, 2011 @10:03AM (#37491854)
    People get a sense of accomplishment from making things. That provides a psychological boost.

    That's all there is to it.

    Of course making things isn't the only way to get a sense of accomplishment, but making things does create a physical object that re-enforces that good feeling whenever we see/use it.
  • by Ksisanth (915235) on Friday September 23, 2011 @10:36AM (#37492368)
    IKEA is more comparable to desklets or plasmoids (or whatever the KDE applets are called these days), though. The basics are done already, so its appeal is accessibility and ease. The real DIY "open source" furniture is more like this stuff [ana-white.com]. Anyone can do it with simple tools and the right materials, but it still takes some effort. When it's easier to start a project, a steady increase in required effort builds a reluctance to let the initial investment go to waste. The trouble is biting off more than one can chew from the start. I think that is often the case with FOSS.

Recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-Man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. -- C.N. Parkinson

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