I love testers. Great testers are essential. Or you could look at them as professional users. Or something else. But without them, software projects flounder.
One of the things I said to Doc yesterday is that if you can write a good bug report you'll do better as a user, because the problems you're hitting will move to the front of the queue. If I, as a developer, get a set of reproducible steps, that show how to recreate the problem, and steps work on my machine, I can usually fix the problem straight away. And I like to fix problems in my code.
The best user/tester I've ever worked with was Terry Teague. He had a day job at Apple as a tester, but contributed his time for free to various developer projects. We were lucky to have him as part of our team on Frontier. When we were preparing a new release, he'd put the product through its paces, and his bug reports were the best, hands down. Never seen anything like it. His steps-to-reproduce were clear, easy to follow, and almost always failed on my machine (failure in this case is success).
Unfortunately Terry died in 2005. And he's never been replaced.
We should be teaching young people how to be great users. How to contribute to the projects that make them more effective at doing what they do. The best form of contribution is to communicate clearly about ways the software isn't working.
There's a common, incorrect, belief that users don't matter, they can't do anything to help open source projects. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just having one user put a bit of serious concentrated time in working on my product made a huge difference for me as a developer. If Doc hadn't been willing to come to the phone and work with me, the problem would still be in the software. Who knows how many users suffered silently with this, or worse, just stopped using the product because they thought it was sabotaging their work (in a way it was). And how many more problems are waiting to be discovered, waiting until a user cares enough to get to the bottom of what input is producing the bad output.
Bottom-line: Software needs users to care about it.