BloatWars

I am an avid PC user for the last 18 years or so. My first computer was a HCL Busy Bee 486DX (33 MHz, 16 MB RAM, 120 MB HDD) with DOS 6.0. Since then lot of things have changed. Even my current cell phone has a processor that is 20 times faster than my first PC. Even the software applications have changed a lot.

Software vendors and developers alike take too many things for granted these days (and I am one of those developers.. :-)). Developers’ don’t even think about storage requirements, computing power etc as these can be procured in bulk for a fraction of the cost that we used to pay 10 years back.

Now, the point I am trying to make; Are current generation software applications offer enough features (usable) that justifies their hardware requirements? Today’s application has grown too ridiculous to justify. I realized this when I wanted to upgrade my existing CD/DVD burning application (Nero 7.0 Standard) to the latest version (Nero 9). Nero 7 with all features requires roughly 400 MB space (which is quite high for a CD/DVD burning tool). But Nero 9 the latest avatar requires a staggering 1.5 GB!! I saw the feature listing and was really shocked. Many of the features are just a mockery of human intelligence.

For example take this feature:

Record, manage, playback, and enjoy your favorite TV shows – even for HDTV. Watch High-Definition TV and use the P-i-P (“picture-in-picture”) mode for watching 2 channels at the same time.

I have to say these guys are amazing. I am yet to see the “the” dumbest guy who will use this feature in a CD/DVD burning tool.

I am not targeting Nero there are worse examples. I am quoting this as I had an opportunity to check this yesterday. The number of “useful” features that have increased from Version 7 to 9 is fewer than 10. This does not justify the increase in space requirements (400 MB to 1.5 GB!!).

Operating systems are no angles here. Microsoft is leading the race as they are far by any means making the most out of the “monopoly” (noose) they have over the operating systems market.

Here is information on the different operating systems releases Microsoft has done over the years. With this we can easily conclude Vista is the Blotwars winner!! And Nero 9 a close 2nd.

 

Windows version

Processor

Memory

Hard disk

Windows 95

25 MHz

4 MB

~50 MB

Windows 98

66 MHz

16 MB

140–255 MB

Windows Me

150 MHz

32 MB

320 MB

Windows 2000 Server

133 MHz

64 MB

1 GB

Windows XP

300 MHz

128 MB

1.5 GB

Windows Vista

800 MHz

512 MB

15 GB

 

Zawinski’s Law of Software Envelopment (also known as Zawinski’s Law) relates the pressure of popularity to the phenomenon ofsoftware bloat:

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

We as intelligent consumers have to consider here is this; (I felt like I have a painted “Jack ASS” banner on my forehead when I was staring at Nero 9 system requirements)

Does every program should read/send mail? Just because computing resources are cheap you should not be spending it so freely for no logical reason what so ever.

Use applications that functionally work for you. Don’t fall for the “latest version” crap. Most times they are just bloated features which are as useful as a socket wrench to a heart surgeon.

In this world of bloated software applications Adobe is a real hero at least when it comes to Flash Player. Initial version was around 400 KB and now it is a mere 1.6 MB. Most of the features at least are very valid. But adobe had done real blunder as well in case of Adobe acrobat reader. From a humble 2 MB program (Acrobat 1.0) now it is 80 MB monster. There are other zillions of examples which I can quote, which don’t change a thing.

Finally, I ended up uninstalling iTunes, Acrobat Reader and many other applications which are so bloated, I just felt ashamed that I was using all these applications without noticing the amount of resources they were hogging.

Away you go bloatware. Here are some alternatives;

Bloat

Bloat Free

Nero 9

ImageBurn

ITunes (Manage iPod)

Floola

Adobe Acrobat Reader

FoxIt Reader

Adobe Photoshop

GiMP

WinZip

7-Zip

Cyberlink Power DVD

VLC Player

Yahoo Messenger + GTalk + AIM + IRC + ICQ + MSN

Pidgin

   

 

I will update the list whenever I stumble upon a bloat free application.

Welcome to the bloat free world!!


 

Advertisements

~ by phaneesh on April 29, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: