Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

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benwiggy
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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by benwiggy »

The roadmap for MuseScore 4 has been released, with Martin Keary's (aka Tantacrul) design firmly on it. He's brought in some nice innovative touches.

https://musescore.org/en/MuseScore4

"Home, Notate, Sequence, Publish."

Image

There's a nice Blue highlight on a black background, which works well.
He's moved the transport controls to the top right, and a Score Parts drop-down in the middle top.
There are Zoom and View controls at the bottom right, with an indicator for Concert Pitch.
He's introduced a really eye-catching Mixer icon.

And an intuitive DAW-style interface for the 'Sequence' tab.

I don't know where he gets his inspiration, but I think there's a lot Dorico could learn from here.... :lol:
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by dankreider »

"Imitation"? That's a generous description.
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by Rob Tuley »

Why would anybody expect better from him? The only thing the guy seems to know about is the size of his own ego.

Steinberg should fire a "cease and desist" order at Musescore to put a stop to this sort of nonsense.

Of course there is a difference between the two apps. One has pretty icons. The other has pretty icons that actually do something when you click them.

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by steveparker »

A rising tide...

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by FredGUnn »

I guess after all the mouse input discussion, he just didn't have time to mention all the design elements he was planning to steal.
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by David Tee »

Boy am I am ever out of step. The one page he nicks wholesale is the one page I'm really hoping Dorico is going to redesign. :lol:

Given the extent of his involvement - I've found MuseScore / Keary videos going back 6 months before he reviewed Dorico - in hindsight I think he shouldn't have made the Dorico video and certainly shouldn't go ahead with a Finale one. I can't imagine any of his competitors ever doing that to him.

That said, it's a free program, they appear to have done a lot of work with users - I'm interested to see how that turns out - and I'm all for a notation software market where competition is driving things forward. Given the richness of Dorico's functionality I can't imagine I'll be joining in, but I will keep a quiet watch.
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by benwiggy »

If you imagine the Dorico colour scheme on the other pages, you'll see it's not just Play mode he's 'taken 'influence' from.

It's good that there is a free open source notation and playback app, so that anyone who wants to write music can do so. The democratization of opportunity that technology brings is welcome.

Commercial apps need to deliver cutting-edge new features that commercial users will pay for, like Condensing; and excellent support: these are areas where Dorico shines. There's certainly room for open source apps and commercial ones. But how many commercial apps, in a niche field like notation?
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by David Tee »

benwiggy wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:29 am
If you imagine the Dorico colour scheme on the other pages, you'll see it's not just Play mode he's 'taken 'influence' from.
Oh definitely. I just mentioned that one because it was so blatant.

His designs look clean, I'm all for that. The danger is that it's all a little bit superficial. WIll a new UI improve productivity? Speed? Understanding?
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by Nikola Kołodziejczyk »

Making that video on his private channel without any mention of the underlying process of deep inspiration was grossly inappropriate in the wake of this announcement
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by LSalgueiro »

I actually thought getting into Qt would be a fun summer project, so I haven't dived in. For now, I'm imagining that some of it is due to just using some stuff Qt makes available from the get go.

Because if that's not the case — bloody hell, the stones on that one

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by Daniel at Steinberg »

To clarify: Dorico doesn't use the standard Qt appearance for any widget. Every single widget you see in the program has been styled as part of the overall visual design. Dorico doesn't look or feel the way it does by accident.

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by MarcLarcher »

Daniel at Steinberg wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:11 pm
Dorico doesn't look or feel the way it does by accident.
Nor does the new MuseScore 4. That Tantacrul should be ashamed. Not only was his last video kind of unfair, but now we discover how really fond he is of Dorico. I unsubscribe his diatribes immediately.
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by Romanos401 »

MarcLarcher wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:26 pm
Not only was his last video kind of unfair, but now we discover how really fond he is of Dorico.
Bingo. He alluded in his roast video that he might switch to Dorico full-stop in the future. I wonder how awkward that must be: being the new "face" of Musescore but relying on competing products for your daily work. ("Musescore has a janky face!" :lol: )

But in all fairness, this really is a wholesale imitation of the Dorico design language which is quite distinct from F & S & Ms.
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by LSalgueiro »

Daniel at Steinberg wrote:
Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:11 pm
To clarify: Dorico doesn't use the standard Qt appearance for any widget. Every single widget you see in the program has been styled as part of the overall visual design. Dorico doesn't look or feel the way it does by accident.
Slam and dunk. I didn't mean default, or that any aspect of it was left to the framwork; I meant some more or less standard way to style primitives — but I'm sure not even that was the case.

I fully opened the door to being wrong here because, well, that would still be orders of magnitude less embarrassingly compared the corner Tantacrul painted himself into. The optics are just horrendous. There had to be a logical explanation, besides, y'know, that one…

Since he's probably still wireframing, there's a non-zero chance that this is actually a painted over screenshot of the competition. :lol:

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by alindsay55661 »

I have to say, this post made me go watch the video review by Tantacrul mentioned here:

viewtopic.php?f=246&t=186897

Let me first state that I am a designer by profession and musician by hobby, so I do have formal training, experience and position to comment on Tantacrul's design assessment. Until this time I had never heard of Tantacrul. After watching the review I can say that his report is highly favorable of Dorico, and while he jests at some of Dorico's behaviors the takeaway is very positive in Dorico's favor. Much of his findings are based on user research rather than personal preference, a requirement for good design review. The video is also very well put together and it's clear that Martin is earnestly reviewing despite now having a competing interest in MuseScore. Any good designer knows they have bias, and it's clear he acknowledges his and mitigates it with research.

Having read the strong "defense" of Dorico against this review, and now against the MuseScore design, I had to see who this Tantacrul person was. I was pleasantly surprised to find a straightforward, generally unbiased review addressing legitimate and meaningful issues on both the "needs more work" and "nailed it" categories. It is an incredibly helpful bit of feedback coming to the Dorico team for free! (Unless Yamaha did send that check...?) Meaningful research is expensive so this comes as a wonderful addition to these forums and other user testing done by the Dorico team. It's extremely important to conduct formal user testing, so again, a free one here that everyone should be grateful for.

With regard to the design of MuseScore 4, it is not surprising to me in the slightest. I'm not sure why people are upset that Martin is borrowing elements and patterns from a program he has praised. You can be sure he is doing the same with Sibelious. As a designer, he must rely on his experience to put forth new material for testing. The title of the post is absolutely correct but, I have the sense that it was meant as a "we've discovered you now, you do like Dorico!" as if Tantacrul somehow suggested he didn't like it. For those that aren't practicing designers, design reviews are far more "brutal" than what he was dishing out and, in fact, this is the purpose of reviews, to break the design as much as possible so it can be improved. This is how good design works, it seeks the battlefield and wants to discover weakness, it never praises itself as having the answers without first validating as much through testing.

I am very excited to see how MuseScore will develop, not because I am interested in "switching" as some might fear, but because it will provide the only other actively designed competition for Dorico and consequently move the needle forward in music writing tools. This is probably the best news Dorico could ask for as beating out Sibelious and Finale is well on its way. A race where you get too far ahead is not that interesting, now with a new runner joining the ranks everyone will be more motivated and have a better time.

Where Dorico has leveraged all the learnings from Sibelious and Finale, now it will have an opportunity to leverage new learnings from MuseScore. More free research! There could hardly be better news and Dorico is going to be better than it would have without this competition.

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by AaronGiles »

Well said, alindsay.

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by tbabcock123 »

I guess what I wonder, is MuseScore infringing on Dorico's 'Trade Dress"?

wouldn't that constitute a lawsuit?

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by alindsay55661 »

rock wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:58 am
I guess what I wonder, is MuseScore infringing on Dorico's 'Trade Dress"?

wouldn't that constitute a lawsuit?
This area of the law is not as strict as you might think. Consider the ribbon used in Sibelous (and many other programs), which clearly originated in Microsoft office. This pattern and visual style is a direct copy but not really worth arguing about, and likely difficult to prove specific damages against Microsoft even it they wanted to pursue it legally.

The big question is whether a program's copying causes actual damages, this is where lawsuits come into play, when money is on the line. MuseScore's interface borrowing elements from Dorico will be difficult to prove damages against Dorcio. The fact is, MuseScore is borrowing from many programs, and Dorcio is borrowing from many as well. Most products and works of art borrow heavily from existing products and works of art and the laws to distinguish direct copying are fairly specific and usually only matter when money is on the line (it can be proven that copying caused the original product to lose money).

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

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alindsay55661 wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 4:48 pm

This area of the law is not as strict as you might think. Consider the ribbon used in Sibelous (and many other programs), which clearly originated in Microsoft office. This pattern and visual style is a direct copy but not really worth arguing about, and likely difficult to prove specific damages against Microsoft even it they wanted to pursue it legally.
Sibelius licensed the use of the ribbon concept/design.
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by David Tee »

Romanos401 wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:39 pm
Sibelius licensed the use of the ribbon concept/design.
And had to agree to a set of very specific set of guidelines and rules as to how the ribbon would be implemented.
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by alindsay55661 »

Romanos401 wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 5:39 pm
Sibelius licensed the use of the ribbon concept/design.
I didn't realize this but...
David Tee wrote:
Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:46 pm
And had to agree to a set of very specific set of guidelines and rules as to how the ribbon would be implemented.
David's quote gets to the crux of things. For it to be considered a "copy" they had to stay within strict guidelines. The farther away you deviate, or the more generic you are, the harder it is to argue it's a copy falling within license terms. The ribbon is a good illustration of the grayness of perception of the law on inspiration/infringement. Consider how different and similar it is to many other navigation schemes. Nearly every creative application in the world makes use of docked windows, icon palettes, toolbars, status bars, menu navigation and many other common design patterns. While Microsoft pushed to license their design (which makes sense I guess since they are in the business of licensing), it is hard to tell what would actually hold up in court. It's possible Avid licensed because licensing was advertised and they wanted to avoid conflict, but the (il)legality behind copying that design is not as stringent as you think.

For example, at some point in the last few decades (well within copyright restrictions) a designer came up with the idea to turn labels into tooltips behind icons and the icon palette was born. Do you think Dorico is licensing this pattern? Do you think they would be had the designer worked for a company in the licensing business? What about the dialog pattern? Or the "wizard" style navigation pattern used inside Dorico dialogs? Or the search pattern that filters settings as you type? There are tons of other patterns that our favorite notation program implements which fall into the same bucket as the "ribbon" pattern except these patterns were not developed by an organization like Microsoft.

My point here is that a concern for copying or looking similar to something else is not as strict as you'd think. It is quite difficult for a judge to legally distinguish a ribbon from tabbed navigation or from tabbed palettes (seen in tons of creative apps) so to make a case of infringement you have to design strictly to what Microsoft licensed. And even then, it's possible Microsoft wouldn't win the case.

The MuseScore design is clearly not a replica of Dorico, while clearly inspired by it. This is totally legal, but if the Dorico team sees a loss of revenue directly attributed to MuseScore's design similarities (very unlikely) they might try to build a case. Again, there is no guaranteed win here, this is not like plagiarism where exact replicas are attributed to different authors. Dorico, like MuseScore, like all software, comes from a long line of borrowing elements from previous creations. This should be embraced except in conditions of true unfairness and loss.

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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by benwiggy »

"Look and Feel" lawsuits usually lose: most famously Apple against Microsoft for Windows.
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by Nikola Kołodziejczyk »

I must say that alindsay post made me see the video in a new light, and the behaviour makes much more sense to me now, thank you!
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Re: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Post by alindsay55661 »

Nikola Kołodziejczyk wrote:
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:20 am
I must say that alindsay post made me see the video in a new light, and the behaviour makes much more sense to me now, thank you!
You bet!

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