This quote from Mark Sigal’s Ruminations on the legacy of Steve Jobs was interesting,
If this seems intuitive, and it should be, consider the modus operandi that preceded it. Before Apple, the hard truth was that the “inmates ran the asylum,” in that products were typically designed by engineers to satisfy their own needs, as opposed to those of the actual consumers of the products.
Moreover, products were designed and marketed according to their “speeds and feeds,” checklists of attributes over well-chiseled, highly-crafted outcomes. And it didn’t really matter if at each step along the value chain the consumer was disrespected and disregarded.
Is this why “the year of the Linux desktop” hasn’t arrived or why after several year of running Linux, I’ve gravitated towards Apple products (MacBook and iPad) for consumer use–outside of work?
To suggest that engineer led products haven’t turned out well is too broad of a generalization. This quote could also possibly be misconstrued to say that notion of Open Source folks “scratching their own itch” is misguided and cannot create something great. The Linux kernel itself refutes that notion, though it is interesting that Linux’s greatest success seems to be at the enterprise infrastructure level and not in the consumer mass-market.