Talk:Software bloat

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Needs to be rewritten from scratch[edit]

This article is essentially moronic and should be rewritten from scratch by accomplished and acknowledged system engineers.

the great wintel conspiracy scenario[edit]

could it be the (MS) windows and intel conspiracy (oligopoli) to drive the consumers into a crazy wheels latest bloated os and software >> need faster cpu/ram >> need latest bloated software optimized for new cpu >> need more cpu/ram upgrade >> so on... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:44, 26 August 2008 (UTC)

Critics of bloatware frequently lay the blame for the rapid expansion of program size on the existence of the Microsoft Visual programming packages, especially Visual Basic and Visual C++.

I've removed this from the article; there's no corresponding reason why so its presence in the article is rather unsubstantiated

That's ridiculous. YOU are ridiculous. There is not only ample evidence, it's also been written about extensively at news sites around the world. Do the research and stop acting the two-bit snark.

I didn't like it either, but felt I had to leave something of the rant that I found at first (I wrote most of the rest) Williamv1138 06:07, Oct 29, 2003 (UTC)

Heh, that's all right :) Dysprosia

The reference to ACDSee was removed for two reasons: 1. ACDSee 7 is faster than ACDSee 3. 2. There was a huge difference between ACDSee 6 and 3, most notably the addition of a more industrial grade database.

Software bloat doesn't mean the software in question never slims down, does it? It only needs to have a history of becoming "bloated". A-giau 20:21, 25 March 2006 (UTC)


In Why bloatware?, there is a statement in the 5th paragraph:

"... it is now the case that the lost revenue due to delaying time-to-market far exceeds the increase in revenue that almost any optimization can produce."

Sounds like an absolute to me. I mean, the gain depends widely on how bad the problem is and what kind of program it is. If you take a productivity application, optimizing it won't get you much revenue. On the flip side, if you ship a first person shooter without optimization, it could kill you; optimizing could make it the game of the year. --Astronouth7303 15:59, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Yes, it's because of these rare exceptions that the weasel word "almost" is in that sentence.
(By "rare", I mean that less than 10% of software developers build shrink-wrap software[1]; shrink-wrap software where more or less optimization is enough to make or break a sale is an even smaller fraction). -- (talk) 17:20, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Huge Revamp?[edit]

Am I the only one who thinks the article needs a huge revamp? Much of it seems pointless, and other parts a plain POV rant. I already edited the introduction paragraphs, but dared not touch the rest of it yet. -- 02:13, 26 July 2005 (UTC)

Not quite true[edit]

The phrase "This is not strictly true. Most distros, including those named above, offer a preset selection of packages that the developer perceives that the average user might need or want. While it is true that most Linux users will only use a small part of this selection, it is possible, even for a beginner, to modify this selection to better suit his or her needs. This software can also be removed or more added later during use." regarding Linux distributions was removed as it looked like a Usenet reply. This paragraph is replaced, however it reflects my very own view :) -- 14:27, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

To clarify, I'd mostly remove and/or heavily edit the middle part of the article which seems to just present a debatable hypothesis through rather twisted paths of logic, and present it as an absolute. I think this article could explore not only the historical background of the term as it does, but also the various angles of what makes up the image of a program being "bloated", and just what, if anything, makes "justification" or "unjustification". "Bloat" is only a descriptive term, after all, and a vague one at that. -- 05:59, 3 August 2005 (UTC)

"bloat" is present in other places too[edit]

I was thinking about this article and have thought that the issue of "bloat" is not unique to computer software vendors. It is characteristic of any large "one size fits all" vendor.

Consider a large electronic component supplier "Component Express/ComEx" (i.e. a company like DigiKey). ComEx stocks 500000 different products. Let's say (this is from the article) 80% of the customers only buy 20% of the products (for ComEx this would be more like 99% and 1% or more extreme than that, given the numbre of products stocked). But, just like Microsoft, or your favourite "bloatware" vendor, ComEx can't reduce their range because everybody might only want a very small selection of products but everybody wants different things. What good is it to you if they don't have the product you want? Nothing at all! And no amount of cost analysis or other accounting talk will reassure you.

A software example would be with Microsoft Word (not criticising Microsoft directly, it's the software I use). I have never used the "Double Underline" feature for text myself. So I could say it is a waste of resources to have a feature there I never use. But once again, Microsoft are not writing the software for just me, they're writing it for millions of others too.

Creeping featurism is a fact of life in software that is intended for wide scale sale to the public ("one size fits all"). This is due to various software issues that I will only go into on request. The real issue is how well "bloat" it is managed and implemented.

I'm sure you can think of many more examples of services you never use but still pay for, in your company, in the Government, etc. It's the same situation.

Thanks for Listening, El Barto

Code bloat merge suggestion[edit]

I'm not sure it is a good idea. Software bloat seems to be about at the application/system level, but code bloat at the intra-application and below level. --maru (talk) contribs 23:21, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Agree: Merge While the two articles are not completely identical, I don't think they are disparate enough to justify two separate articles. I believe that both code bloat and software bloat are two different manifestations of the same phenomenon. Nigelquinine 19:21, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree: Merge as well. Code bloat could result in Software Bloat but remember that it's not always the case. A smart compiler can optimize and cut a lot of the code bloat. / Kent (not a member)
  • Jump up and down in frustration: I really don't care what happens Don't merge I find that software bloat is the programme having an excess of features, whilst code bloat is the bad use of subroutines, resulting in high code redundancy (i think this page may be useful). Merge if you like, but there is quite a difference, so they may end up forking in the future. Actually, i seem to remember finding a problem on meta, where "free content" and "open content" were used interchangably, despite there being a huge difference. (i've forgotten how that's relevant though). See you all around . MichaelBillington 11:45, 10 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Disagree: Don't Merge: I agree with MichaelBillington. There's a small but fundamental difference between the two concepts. The article on Code bloat certainly needs some work but I don't think there'd be much improvement in merging the two articles together. In fact, I think it would be to the detriment of both as, like the example Michael raised, while the difference is small, it's quite significant. A program that suffers from "software bloat" may not have any "code bloat" and vice versa (I'm sure I can bloat "hello world" out to a few thousand lines if I really wanted to, without adding any features what-so-ever). Merging the two articles could potentially convey the wrong impression and further compound the problem (the problem of people not seeing the difference between the two). Until a formal decision is made though, I've added links to each article under "See also". Yay unto the Chicken 05:55, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Disagree: Don't Merge: While the concept is similar, I disagree with Nigelquinine's characterisation: software bloat is driven by an excess of 'features' and functionalities (user pull), while code bloat is driven by limitations in the language, by programmer (in)competence (whether skill- or time-limited), or by needing to deal with extensive possibilities (coding push). Yay unto the Chicken's point about hello world is one side of the coin; it's also possible (though admittedly less likely) to have vast and overcomplicated functionality that is nevertheless written tersely and efficiently. Software bloat is most usually UI bloat, while code bloat is under-the-hood bloat; they're only different manifestations of the same phenomenon by virtue of the word bloat, and are entirely different things. They're linked; but while software bloat can be directly caused by code bloat, it can also be entirely its own. Software bloat when linked directly to resource hogging rather than features is driven by code bloat; where it's faster and easier not to write terse code but rather to get it out there fast, the algorithms will be ones that could be written fastest, with workarounds if necessary, rather than those that work best. But that's still code bloat. Perhaps we need to better clarify the difference between the two - the current first line of the page states that "Software bloat is a derogatory term used to describe the tendency of newer computer programs to use larger amounts of system resources (eg) than older programs". That's not all of software bloat though, unless followed up with the reasons those resources are used - such as more features or functionality, as mentioned earlier. As it stands, that definition leans fairly hard towards code bloat or even simply sloppy coding. Better wording there would clarify the difference between the two. --Firien § 11:23, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Disagree: Don't Merge: As always with emerging language, there is a bit of confusion and overlap, but it could be better handled with a small paragraph in each article which clarifies the difference between the two terms. To my mind, Code Bloat is a term in the field of Computer Science, whereas Software Bloat is more of a socioeconomic phenomenon. Code Bloat has always existed where poor coding, feature creep, and poor design have let it exist. Software Bloat has become more (and perversely, less) of an issue where the exponential growth of processor power, hard disk capacity and low memory prices in the mid-nineties made software optimisation less economic for productivity software (the already cited example of entertainment software follows a different set of economic drivers). It is also incorrect to equate software bloat with inefficiency - one common optimisation is "loop unrolling", which usually bloats the resultant software package to gain a speed increase, and this is done quite deliberately and for good reasons. To summarise, software bloat will tend to increase over time until user expectations of timeliness create a negative market pressure. Code bloat will tend to decrease over time as programmer skill improves, until the optimal balance of code size/performance is met. To take a specific example, your word processor will underline spelling mistakes as you type when the programmer thinks that he or she can make that code fast enough on the target platform. If they can't make it fast enough, the program won't sell. If they can make it fast enough, but at the cost of requiring an unreasonable amount of memory or storage space, the program won't sell. IRSWalker 17:03, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Disagree: Don't Merge: The code bloat is a more technical-related article, many readers unfamiliar with programming can understand the Software bloat article better (it has examples related to software and their use in general), and we could insert more code- and programming-related content in 'Code bloat'. --V. Szabolcs 15:59, 28 September 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree: Merge: (The discussion seems to have died out by now, but...) I believe that code bloat is a form of software bloat. Another form of software bloat is feature bloat, sometimes known as creeping featuritis. Currently there is not enough content in code bloat to justify its own article. If someone were to add more material and references to the code bloat article, perhaps it could be left there and some of it summarized here as well. In any event bloat is a huge problem with software. Bloated software consumes an inordinate amount (often many orders of magnitude more than is necessary) of all available computational resources such as time, storage space, and network bandwidth. This is not just wasteful in a theoretical sense, but it is wasteful in a true economic sense when the costs of electricity, air conditioning, rack space etc. are considered. Programmers (when trying to justify bloat) often say "memory's cheap" and "processing power is cheap", but that their time as a programmer is somehow especially valuable and expensive. -- 07:24, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Wirth's Law[edit]

The unknown citation is perfectly known on Wikipedia : it is Wirth's law !
—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 10 September 2006

Quite true. Thanks. I've edited the article accordingly, moving the aphorism to the end of the "Background" section. CWC(talk) 06:50, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Microsoft Windows[edit]

Isn't Windows, especially the later versions, an excellent example of bloatware? Shouldn't that somehow be mentioned in the article? Subversive element 12:51, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure I can agree, but if you have reputable references for what otherwise appears to be POV bashing, then feel free to get it written up and added. -- Mikeblas 00:13, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
And what source would you like? Why not look at windows itself. It is bloatware, by this wiki definition. But to state why (not being a source myself, just to give info) is as follows: Windows is an operating system designed to fill all available memory (your entire hard drive). It places archiving and system files through out the disk. It uses far more RAM then it should. I'm sure you could find a book about this, that would be less POV, though I'm not against windows, its what I use, its just the system itself has a lot of quirks. Zanduar 21:32, 18 July 2007 (UTC)
Either way, you can't include it until you can find a reliable third party source that provides it as fact. -Weston.pace 04:14, 21 July 2007 (UTC)
If that is the sole problem, then I believe it's fixed: Criticism_of_Windows_Vista#Software_Bloat.--portugal (talk) 17:45, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Don't forget that each version of windows has a lot more features than the last and also needs to accomodate new hardware and communications standards. Vista is way too big mind Lovefist233 (talk) 12:04, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
I tried to point to «Microsoft distinguished engineer Eric Traut said the operating system had become bloated.» That said: Yes, it does need more hardware and communication standards. (POV)It requires 15G of space though - that's creepy.(/POV)--portugal (talk) 12:09, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I've just rewritten the Microsoft paragraph in an attempt to give it maybe a little more than just the merest passing aquantance with WP:V. It was the worst paragraph, but frankly the whole page is really rather dodgy. -- simxp (talk) 19:38, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Every version of Windows at least from Win 95 onwards was considered as bloated, mostly because of memory requirements. i.E. Win 95 needs 4MB RAM, but to run smoothly, you should have at least 8MB RAM and also Microsoft recommends a 486 CPU, althought until 1992 there where still a lot of 386-systems sold. Similar the 16MB needed for Win 98 was more then a lot computers sold only about 2.5 years before had installed and 24Mb is recommended, which is below the standad configuration until somtimes in 1997. Win 2000 needs 32MB and 64MB are recommended, even in 1999 many computers with only 32MB were sold. Win XP needs 64Mb and 128MB are recommended, in 2000 a lot of PCs with only 64MB were sold. Vista needs 512MB, which is more then many computers, which were sold only a few months before the release of Vista, have and even 1Gb is recommended. 7 needs 1GB, which is still more then many computers sold in the first half of 2006, but because memory prices were falling rapidly from about 2006 to 2008, not a lot computers with less then 2GB were sold after 2007. --MrBurns (talk) 18:07, 25 May 2010 (UTC)


Software bloat is a derogatory term used to describe the tendency of newer computer programs to use larger amounts of system resources (mass storage space, processing power and/or RAM) than older programs. It is also used in a more general context to describe programs which appear to be using more system resources than necessary , or implementing extraneous features. Software exhibiting these tendencies is referred to as bloatware or, less commonly, fatware

Can somebody explain me the phrase necessary in the above definition.

Inefficient algorithms? Inefficient implementation? Bad design in general? There are many ways to make a program worse than necessary. --Gwern (contribs) 17:58 22 November 2006 (GMT)

A cry for help[edit]

User (talk · contribs) left this plea on this page a couple of hours ago. I've refactored it for readability.

I find that dreamweaver is one example of "bloatware".
Sometime it manages to use up 100% CPU power from my AMD Athlon 64 3800 Processor
And all the unused RAM (Whats left over from 1gb when you minus all the normal programs)
Could someone offer some help at:
Thanks — Punksta — Tuesday, 20 February , 2007 at 9:37PM AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

I've never used dreamweaver. Perhaps someone else can help Punksta? Cheers, CWC(talk) 12:48, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia isn't a tech help forum. Send him to Dreamweaver-specific fora. --Gwern (contribs) 21:16 20 February 2007 (GMT)

resource hog?[edit]

Why does "resource hog" redirect here? A resource hog is a program that uses a lot of resources -- perhaps even by design, in order to complete an intensive task -- which is a different concept than software bloat. -- Mikeblas 00:12, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Disagree. Resource hog has connotations of greed and waste (from the 'hog' big; compare 'porkbarrel'). If a problem simply demands resources by its very nature, it's just a difficult problem. --Gwern (contribs) 01:14 25 February 2007 (GMT)
Even if I stipulate you're right, a "resource hog" in the context of software ends up being different than software bloat. A resource hog consumes any of several resources at runtime -- CPU time, memory, disk space, network bandwidth -- but software bloat only takes up code because it's the software itself, not anything else, that's bloated. The leading sentence of this article implies a resource hog and software bloat are the same thing, when they're really not. -- Mikeblas 01:30, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I've removed references to "resource hog", then, as it's simply not the same as "software bloat". I think the terms are confused in this article at least partially because it is so poorly referenced; the piece at a point seems self-contradictory. I've liberally added {{fact}} tags to the article to mark the claims that I think need the most attention. -- Mikeblas 14:50, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Bloated Microsoft Office data files?[edit]

Does the term "Bloatware" apply to Office suite (e.g. Powerpoint & Word) & other applications (graphics editors, etc) documents containing excessively large images that have not been compressed using the "Compress Images" functionalties? Rcd2951 15:14, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Someone edit this paragraph[edit]

I'd do it, but I'm not exactly sure what its trying to say (Unix is not my field). But I can tell its confused:

"The X Window System, which is the most commonly-used windowing system for flavors of Unix, is a classic example of bloatware, partly due to its age and its receptiveness as a Free software project to extensions and additions. Until recently, the implementations was completely monolithic, and the user was forced to e.g install all drivers, when they would obviously need only a handful of them. Things were not better on the developer side, as a minor change required recompilation of the whole. Situation improved recently, as its main implementation by the X.Org Foundation went modular starting with X11R7.0. The X protocol itself remains criticized though."

-Gohst 00:38, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

This paragraph is really messy... its like a crazy fiddler. Okay it should be fixed now.Getonyourfeet 07:17, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Makes a fair point mind, xorg is pretty bloated —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lovefist233 (talkcontribs) 12:07, 18 February 2008 (UTC)


A good indication of software being bloatware is seeing the installation filesize increase dramatically from one version to the next:

Idea 4.5 (53 Mb) Idea 6.0 (66.2 Mb)

ICQ 98a (1.7 MB) ICQ 2000a (6.2 MB)

Nero Burning ROM (1.8 MB) Nero Ultra Edition (33.0 MB)

Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0 (10.7 MB) Macromedia Dreamweaver MX (49.4 MB)

ZoneAlarm 3.7 (3.7 MB) ZoneAlarm 6.5 (13.0 MB)

Windows Vista is bloatware. That's why I'm still using XP. 10:55, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately it isn't as simple as measuring and comparing installation file size. "Bloat" is features that aren't necessary. When we compare installation sizes, we don't know if the added size is due to necessary features, or unnecessary features. We aslo don't know if the size is comprised of the software itself, or documentation; if the online help documentation trippled in size, certainly that would be beneficial, but it would also drive up the size of the installer image. I think your assertions are fundamentally flawed. -- Mikeblas 14:30, 4 April 2007 (UTC)


On 2007-04-05, Wall Street Journal, in Walter S. Mossberg's Personal Technology column, he talks about buying a new Windows computer. When he turns it on for the first time, he's bombarded by trial versions of software, icon-based ads, teaser programs, etc. He referred to these as craplets. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 13:36, 5 April 2007 (UTC).

Citation NOT needed[edit]

It's unnecessary and disruptive to tag all those paragraphs with the "citation needed" tag. Those facts are pretty obvious and/or widely known.

Agree - the citation needed marks seem to be there in the name of a dissenting POV. (talk) 13:10, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. Half of the "citations needed" are just common sense observations or basic knowledge. For example, I removed the one where PCs of the 1970s had limited disk space and memory. Why would a citation be needed for that? Is the fact that some PCs back then had only 1K of RAM not good enough? It's like saying "cars of old couldn't drive at more than 30 km/h" and then requiring a citation for it. Jeez, get a clue. SJ2571 03:06, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
Every single fact needs to be cited. If a fact really is obvious, then it should be easy to find a few citations. Shinobu (talk) 17:40, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. Also... «Additionally, the spread of computers through all levels of business and home life has produced a software industry many times larger than it was in the 1970s. [citation needed]» : it strikes me as an unnecessary burden to find reliable citations for such trivial facts. Will we next search for such sources as, let's find an example, those stating that nano-technology has advanced since the early 90s? (POV) Not wishing to be disruptive, excess request for citations is like excess bureaucracy: it hurts more than it heals. (/POV) Thanks for reading.--portugal (talk) 18:15, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, all facts need to be cited. In this case, though, a weasel-inline template might be more appropriate. After all, no computer has unlimited memory or disk space. On the other hand, PCs "back then" (whatever that actually means) had far more than 1K of RAM. -- Mikeblas (talk) 15:08, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I think you mean to say I am partially right, but that I am not being careful to not confuse one good cell with the whole body. If so, I agree — but I feel overwhelmed at times (/excuse). About the snippet I pasted: it is undisputed that computers have spread both in numbers and capacity: today's computers are much more common and much mightier than they were in the 70's... that strikes me as pure common sense. Should we, either way, include some sort of reference, a link to a place where they have a graphic of the number of computers in the world or something like that? I'm not sure that's what you meant to say, or if you were referring to other things. --portugal (talk) 12:16, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree the inline [citation needed] tagging is completely OTT. Gerbrant a lot of stuff is either logically obvious, or links to other articles in reference. Something like "(see Moore's Law).[citation needed]" is completely ridiculous! I'm going to remove that one right now, citations for Moore's Law should be kept with that article! - MattOates (Ulti) (talk) 13:16, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Section: Reasons for existence[edit]

That the section "Reasons for existence" primarily cites a Mozilla dev is a bit rich. Also, there are browsers that to everything, or almost everything, that Netscape or Firefox do, and sometimes better, while still being much leaner. Shinobu (talk) 17:46, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

It was also written almost ten years before your comment, but whatever. Who am I to talk, you wrote this seven years ago. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:14, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Section: List[edit]

Shouldwe make list of bloated software? it citation can be based on forums or news. 17:59, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't think we should. Defining bloat is very difficult, particularly if the approach this article uses is continued. "Unnecessary" is in the eye of the beholder, so finding features which are universally not "required" is difficult. Further, estimating their size and quantitative contribution to the "bloat" is very difficult. Finally, WP:RS specifically forbids using forum posts as references. -- Mikeblas (talk) 15:04, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

fact tag replaced[edit]

I've replaced a removed {{fact}} tag, which was removed with the comment that " removed "citation needed"/FACT tag - the next sentence shows an example.".

The example's reference doesn't establish the facts asserted by the tagged sentence. The sentence says the size of the library causes the problem, and that the library has unnecessary features. The provided link doesn't meet the requirements of WP:RS, as it's a link to a bug database for FireFox and essentially unpublished. This bug database is essentially a self-published blog, as it accepts unedited and unverified submissions from users. Further, it doesn't identify the named library as the problem conclusively; some people say that disabling the library cures the problem, while others say that disabling the library causes no difference. It doesn't support the assertion that a build not using Pango "renders pages significantly faster", either.

Finally, this single example doesn't adequately support the broad claim made, or explain that "unnecessary" is a situational and subjective term. -- Mikeblas (talk) 14:57, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

synthesis tag[edit]

I've added a {{synthesis}} tag to the "examples" section. While the section uses references to show that the recommended available space for installing Windows has become larger in subsequent versions, it doesn't explain if that increase in size is because of the addition of actual "bloat", the addition of required features, or the addition of things that aren't even core parts of the OS, such as artwork, localization files, fonts, or ride-along applications. -- Mikeblas (talk) 15:02, 27 February 2008 (UTC)


I've been searching the Web in vain for an acceptable antonym to bloatware. I'm sure that I used to know one, but I can't remember it. Some examples of what I mean are like TextEdit and Bean on the Mac (medium functionality word processing software), and Preview (Mac) and, if it still exists, Foxit for Windows (faster, less full-featured, PDF readers).

Low resource software? Not "liteware", since that seems to mean the slimmed down free version of software for purchase.Bostoner (talk) 23:09, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Adobe CS[edit]

How come there is no mention of Adobe's programs on this page? There is obviously software bloating going on with CS3/4. Even something as simple as uninstalling can take 30 minutes plus. Photoshop CS3 - 20 minutes to install, Photoshop 7 - 5 minutes, plus the Program file sizes have increased 10 fold. It's either deliberate bloating or shoddy programming. (talk) 13:51, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Windows hardware requirements[edit]

Source? Where do these numbers come from? And tested on which system? Windows XP may take more or less than 200-300 MHz on a single/dual-core system. By themselves they mean nothing in a formal context.--Spectatorbot13 (talk) 12:49, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

I added Adobe products to the Example[edit]

I added Adobes line of products to the examples section, but reading it again it seems a little biased, can someone rewrite it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Normankev (talkcontribs) 21:25, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Contradictory statement on Adobe products[edit]

"After Adobe bought out Macromedia the packages grew to around 3 Gb, yet the new feature list is negligible". Adobe's CS line of products are also accused of being "very slow to install and uninstall". An average install of Photoshop for example takes around 7 minutes to install." The first sentance calls Adobe products bloatware, the second re-enforces that, but the third states quite the opposite. It doesn't seem quite realistic to me, either - I'd suggest removing it, or finding a source on this. (talk) 19:44, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

The section doesn't come close to capturing how horrendously bloated Adobe products are. Easily the most morbidly obese software I've ever had the displeasure of encountering. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:42, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Citation for Adobe Reader size[edit]

A good example is Adobe's Acrobat Reader[citation needed]; long the standard in PDF readers, it has grown with each version, with the current installation package at 37 MB

Need a cite; is Adobe Reader really guilty of THIS?

Yes, it is. But that page will change over time and depending on your operating system, so I'm not sure how to cite it. --Scgtrp (talk) 20:42, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Where does it state: "time constraints may result in remnants of old code being included when new versions of a program are built"? --DanielPharos (talk) 20:47, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Was XP good enough?[edit]

As someone who has recently opted out of the MicroSloth world I write for information and clarification. Was there ever any real functionality lacking in XP? If I could have bought a new PC without Vista or Windows7 but just had simple XP (which I had already purchased and would not expect to buy again) I might have stuck with MS. So tell please was/is there any real improved functionality in Vista/Windows7? Or was it just MS forever trying to maximise profits and sell us all products that we don't really need? If so I would nominate Vista/Windows 7 as prime examples of bloatware.

 SmokeyTheCat  •TALK• 15:58, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows[edit]

Starting with Windows 7, the minimum hardware requirements for 64-bit Windows is now greater than the 32-bit version.

From the Software bloat page, I added this information:

The minimum hardware requirements for 64-bit versions of Windows 7 are 2GB RAM and 20GB hard disk space, compared to 1GB RAM and 16GB hard disk space required for 32-bit versions of Windows 7.

The table in the "Examples" section only shows 32-bit versions. Why does the 64-bit version of Windows 7 require double the amount of RAM and 4GB extra hard disk space just for being 64-bit? Should this really be added to the table in the "Examples" section, making it clear it's the 64-bit version of Windows 7? TurboForce (talk) 18:21, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

One of the reasons the 64-bit version is larger in diskspace, is because it also has to carry around the 32-bit libraries for backwards compatibility. The RAM requirements: well, the pointer datatype has doubled in size, so you need more memory to store it. Although this is probably not the (main) reason, since integers didn't double in size... Maybe because they 'reserved' room to load the 32-bit libraries as well? So this difference between 32- and 64-bit is probably not due to software bloat. --DanielPharos (talk) 22:28, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't understand why Windows Vista 32-bit AND 64-bit have the SAME minimum hardware requirements source page, but Windows 7 64-bit requires double the amount of RAM and 4GB extra disk space compared to the 32-bit version source page. The source pages are the same ones used in the main page.
Ubuntu Linux 32-bit and 64-bit have the same minimum hardware requirements; the source page does NOT say that you need extra hardware resources for the 64-bit version. TurboForce (talk) 01:38, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Maybe they are all "rounding up", or the difference was small enough that they neglected it? All I was saying was that IF there's a difference, it's obvious that 64-bit will have the higher reqs. --DanielPharos (talk) 11:27, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Come on, requiring DOUBLE the amount of RAM and 4GB extra disk space is an enormous increase, compared to Windows Vista which required no extra hardware resources for the 64-bit version! What on Earth has Microsoft done with the 64-bit code in Windows 7 to justify this huge increase in resources? TurboForce (talk) 14:48, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Ah, the source you give is wrong, see: [2], so this was also true for Windows Vista. So my explanation is still possible. --DanielPharos (talk) 16:22, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
This ref link for Vista comes from Microsoft's own website, are they wrong? All but the "Home Basic" versions of 32-bit AND 64-bit Vista do require the same minimum hardware requirements; the "Home Basic" version requires a minimum of 512MB RAM and "800-megahertz (MHz) 32-bit (x86) processor or 800-MHz 64-bit (x64)". If you look carefully in your ref link, in the first table on there, it does say "1-gigahertz (GHz) 32-bit (x86) processor or 64-bit (x64) processor, 512 MB of RAM".
I'm totally bamboozled as to why 64-bit Windows 7 requires so much more hardware power???? TurboForce (talk) 21:29, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
You're misreading my source. Please look in the 64-bit column instead. (What you're pointing out is that 32-bit Vista can run on a 64-bit CPU, which is true, but not relevant.) So 64-bit Vista needs 1 GB RAM, and that's more than the 512 MB needed for the 32-bit version. So this difference already existed for Vista. QED --DanielPharos (talk) 21:42, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
In fact, I think this difference even existed for Windows XP: compare Windows XP#System requirements with [3] ! --DanielPharos (talk) 21:46, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
The "Home Basic" version of Vista is the ONLY version of Vista which requires at least 512MB RAM and 800MHz CPU; all the other versions of Vista have even higher minimum requirements. I've checked and checked again and both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Home Basic have the SAME minimum hardware requirements another ref link. I disagree with you DanielPharos.
Thankfully, today's Ubuntu doesn't have such stupidly high minimum hardware requirements ref. TurboForce (talk) 23:39, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
You can disagree whatever you want, but my ref is directly from Microsoft explicitly mentioning the differences in system requirements between Vista 32 and 64 bit. As I said, QED. Also, would you please STOP plugging Ubuntu; it's off-topic and distracting. --DanielPharos (talk) 09:25, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
My original ref link was directly from Microsoft as well! My original point here is that Windows 7 has huge extra hardware requirements for the 64-bit version compared to the 32-bit version and I find that a mystery. Why on Earth does it need such a huge increase in hardware resources? What does "QED" mean? STOP USING ABBREVIATIONS - I HATE THEM! Finally, the point about Ubuntu is that 32-bit and 64-bit versions DON'T have ridiculously high minimum hardware requirements, whether you like it or not. Whenever I edit anything on Wikipedia that's in some way related to Microsoft, you are quick to defend Microsoft and try to remove my edits. Be prepared for retaliation!! TurboForce (talk) 02:01, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
"My original ref link was directly from Microsoft as well!" But your second wasn't. Also, your first ref doesn't explicitly mentions the difference between 32 and 64-bit; mine does, so my ref should be used.
"Why on Earth does it need such a huge increase in hardware resources?" I gave a very good reason, which you've seem to ignored.
"you are quick to defend Microsoft" In this case, no. I've only corrected you on a factual mistake (admittely, it was an easy one to make), and gave a possible explanation for the observed difference. I might have gone over the top in some other instances, but usually, I'm only providing Microsoft's viewpoint to the discussion. It appears (as I've said before) you're unable to see things from Microsoft's side. I'm only trying to find the reasons behind things, instead of your "Microsoft is EVIL!".
By the way, I probably should have written it as Q.E.D., which means "what was to be demonstrated".
"Be prepared for retaliation!!" Lastly, please be aware of Wikipedia policy regarding personal attacks. --DanielPharos (talk) 09:45, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Back to the original point, as of Windows 7, I think the "Software bloat" page needs a separate table for 64-bit Windows 7 and most likely future versions of Microsoft Windows. I've never seen "Q.E.D." in common use. As for Microsoft, check out this Wikipedia page as an example of why I dislike Microsoft's behaviour. I'm so glad I wiped off Windows Vista and used Ubuntu ever since. :) TurboForce (talk) 21:22, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
(Skipping off-topic ranting) I'm not sure if adding another table would make the page any clearer... But be bold! If you add Vista 64-bit as well, please remember my link and put in the right system requirements. --DanielPharos (talk) 21:50, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Intellectual Property and Software Bloat[edit]

Proprietary software requires a few features of software development that contributes to software bloat, because the particular features an individual user wants cannot be chosen from an open library:

1. backward compatibility - newer versions of a program or development environment must often support older documents or program instances, e.g. Microsoft Word documents or Java applications

2. broader utility - a newer version of a program is often given features that are not well-implemented by the program / language / development tool in question, but is requested by the users and developers who are already comfortable with it. "No free lunch" says that the further such a product reaches from its original design purpose, the more awkward and bloated the code for implementation will be -- and often in many directions at once.

3. the horrifying legacy -- think COBOL and Y2K, or MS-DOS and 32K RAM optimization. (It's still optimized for 32K, isn't it? Scary, huh?)

Those are just the first (two) off the top of my head, and I may add more later, but the point I'm trying to make here is that it is the closed nature of the source code which makes for the lack of independent compiling, or even the ability to write separate plug-in apps (assuming that even plug-in development requires a certain amount of knowledge of the source code in one form or another).

Is there a way to make this point well in the article? (It seems to me I've made a hash of it even in terms of a talk page discussion.) :( -- TheLastWordSword (talk) 15:15, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't see the connection between "proprietary software" and "software bloat". How does the first lead to the latter? (1) also goes for open source software. (2) as well. I don't understand the point of (3). Also, what's that 32K RAM optimization you're talking about? --DanielPharos (talk) 18:14, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Find examples with comparison![edit]

Dear folks,

I agree that many of the examples here are subjective. How do we know that a software is bloated if there's no counter-example? I'd suggest collecting examples of comparisons, where the same functionality is done by two programmes that are very different in size/speed/memory usage etc. That would be a clear show of bloatware. Of course it's almost impossible to find to software programs doing exactly the same functions, but we'd have to resort to those that have high enough similarity, especially with functions that are used most frequently. (Whatever some guys wrote on the Firefox example, if a function is used by say <1% of users, it's not so important to have everyone download and run it.) The comparisons would have to include some numerical data (even if no two installations are the same), such as installer size, installed program size, memory consumption, loading time etc.

Hoemaco (talk) 12:38, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

To start, I'll list Adobe Reader versus Foxit Reader. Both basically do the same: read and print PDF files. (Ok, I'm not aware of true differences, but I'd consider that any differences are used by the minority of users, considering myself an average user of pdf's). Adobe Reader installed size for me was at least 80..100MB (now I defy myself not giving exact data, but having been fed up by adobe I deleted it so long time ago - maybe a current user can give exact numbers). Also, it had a noticeable loading time (at least 2 seconds) and pdf files were often "lagging" when scrolled.
In comparison, Foxit reader installed is 8.2MB for me now. It loads faster (ok, subjective, hard to measure) and no lags in scrolling. (Oh and btw you can download a free -though watermarking- pdf converter for it). I'd consider this a perfect example of bloatware. Someone told me that this has to do with a certain programming style, something like they always "patch" the old software and stuff just "accumulates" instead of re-writing the whole from scratch. Sorry, though I did study programming, have not heard of such techniques - though understandably, as our teacher would rather advise us against this. But I can quite imagine this - hardware IS cheaper than man-hours for a *real* programmer. Hoemaco (talk) 12:45, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

Please, be VERY careful when doing comparisons like this. As the article itself states: "while 80% of the users only use 20% of the features, each one uses different features."
Related to that, in your example, can Foxit do 3D PDFs with JavaScript? Or can it play PDFs with embedded Flash? I don't actually know, but I can imagine it misses these (or similar) features. So does that make them bloat in Adobe? If so, does Notepad (or Wordpad) beat the bloated crap out of MS Office? Where do you draw the line?
Notice that the article only calls out mentions of bloatware, and doesn't actually call any product bloated. Without a (semi-)objective measure, it's impossible to claim bloatware here, since it would be WP:POV or even WP:OR.
The programming technique you're searching for is called "maintaining backwards compatibility". For businesses like Adobe and Microsoft, it's vital.
All in all, it's not so easy. I like your comparison idea, but I don't see how it would work out... --DanielPharos (talk) 18:29, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the tips. I was hoping some ppl with more expertise would come and enlighten me :) I still think it's a good idea, but maybe not feasible in the short term, in lack of identical-feature software. Though I'd say if a feature is used by veery few users, it's not needed and it's rightly in the bloat category (I've never heard of 3d pdfs or flash in pdfs. who needs it anyway??). And, if all I want is to view and print pdfs, then it's especially bloated (and Adobe doesn't give me the chance to download and use a basic-function version of their program). (And I still can't understand, even if it knows java and flash, why it's a hundred megs. I simply think it's bad programming practice. ) Hoemaco (talk) 21:22, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
"Though I'd say if a feature is used by veery few users, it's not needed and it's rightly in the bloat category" The ability to format a floppy disk. Barely anybody does that, so that's bloat? Almost no Windows user runs "tracert". Bloat? VERY weak argument.
The fact you've never heard of 3D pdfs, or pdfs with actual maps in them (just browse through Adobe reader#Product history) doesn't mean it's bloat, it means that any other program that doesn't support them is incomplete! That's why comparing Adobe Reader to Foxit is unfair: it's very likely Foxit is simply incomplete, missing these very heavy features of the PDF format. You might argue that therefore the PDF format is bloated; sure! But how are you going to measure THAT? (And that's not the title of this article.) --DanielPharos (talk) 22:30, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
You are right. I'm just trying to grasp things somehow. I still can't accept it takes soo large (and slow) programs to accomplish these feats, even with 3d and whatever. Unfortunately my programming exercises were simple programs, so I don't know much about these things, but my engineering instincts still tell me something's bad here. I'm really curious to find out... Hoemaco (talk) 10:05, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Another example, though not a real comparison. I bought a Fuji digital camera and installed its software (my card reader didn't know sdhc and the camera doesn't work in usb storage mode). The software for downloading the pics is huge (sorry, I'll have to log in another computer to find it, don't remember the exact number, will update the post later), and it's very slow, it took at least half an hour to download photos which would have taken a few minutes at most with a normal usb operation - which it does since I bought a new card reader. So the comparison here is not with another software, but with simply reading the card with a card reader. But the functionality is pretty much the same. (Well, not exactly, as with the card reader it's waay easier and everything goes where I want and only what I want happens. Also the software might include some basic editing programme but that could also be made in a few MB instead of hundreds.) I'll try to find out the software name and size. Hoemaco (talk) 12:51, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

This means Microsoft laughs at us.[edit]

This is really incredible and shows what we understand for Software bloat.

Windows Embedded Stanrdard 7 is globally Windows 7 without a few (really FEW) components like speech, games...

Result? RAM requisites for Windows 7 Home Premium: 1GB RAM requisites for Windows Embedded 7: less than 512MB.

And it has Aero, libraries, same kernel, media center, wmp12, ie9... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Marcsances (talkcontribs) 21:30, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

That's not the complete story. Windows Embedded Enterprise DriveWindows7 requires "1GB RAM (32Bit) 2GB RAM (64Bit)" (see [4] ), which exactly matches Windows 7's minimum system requirements. So I think the edition you got your specs from, is more stripped than the most complete edition of Windows 7 Embedded... Even so, what's your point? How does removing features prove bloatware? And why would Microsoft be laughing...? --DanielPharos (talk) 06:55, 6 April 2011 (UTC)

Bloatware (again)[edit]

I have imported and rewritten some content recently added to the Bit rot article (where it was even more out of context than here). I note that, in the long and tortuous evolution of this article, various editors have purged content relating to bloatware in the sense of unwanted software, yet this is a common use of the term. Since Bloatware currently redirects to this article, I've separated out a new section to try to clarify the different uses of the term. Maybe Bloatware deserves a separate article but given the ambiguous usage I think its probably better here than on its own. --KenBailey (talk) 10:22, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Number of features is not bloat[edit]

I don't think the number of practical functions in software, such as support for many file formats, nor limited backwards compatibility necessarily have to result in bloat. It is the inefficiency in each of the modules implementing those features that causes it, as their resource requirements add up.

Inefficiency often arises when a heavy graphical interface is added to software in attempt to convince the customer than the new version is a radical improvement over the previous one, worthy of paying for it again. A few new functions or a marginal improvement in speed would not give as good of an impression. Expensive software also adds increasingly draconian copy-protection layers, to most of the code, whereas before the license was only checked during installation or startup.

For example, a configuration utility for a peripheral device, such as a printer or a trackpad, today may include a full-color photograph of the device, where a diagram or even a compact set text input fields would perfectly suffice. This is especially true if the purpose of the utility is highly technical, intended for experts only, such as related to overclocking, and any program included with a system driver. As a result, most drivers are bloated, especially printer drivers developed by Hewlett-Packard.

Because a graphical interface is relatively difficult to create within a short deadline, developers are pushed to use abstraction frameworks such as an HTML engine or .NET for it. Some HP drivers install a web server on the system to create a user interface. A modern multimedia web-client (browser) to access such an interface is extremely bloated. C# might be "modern", but it is not efficient. Most Net Framework applications require obscene amounts of memory, start up slowly, have UI's that can't scale up to give access to a large number of features, and require installation of bulky updates to the OS, potentially destabilizing it. Often it is not straightforward to "de-bloat" such an application, while maintaining access to all the settings, because an elegant interface doesn't exist, and ripping out the pictures leaves visible glitches.

As an example of software with a large number of functions, and yet without bloat, I'd name the digital audio workstation REAPER. As of version 4, the installation package is 7-9 megabytes, at least 10-20 times smaller than that of competing products, such as Steinberg Cubase. A single DLL implementing support for one file format (codec like FLAC) is about 300K. The user interface and the settings dialog are very complex, and could be described as "cluttered". But the program is not bloated, navigation is responsive and startup times are short. The Settings are a Windows-native dialog, as opposed to being created in a custom framework (Qt, GTK, WPF or, eww, XAML), which would have to be linked to the program and distributed with it.

Some users have described the visual appearance of REAPER as old-fashioned. Perhaps big software houses must respond to that kind criticism, thus feeding the vicious cycle where graphical bloat symbolizes progress, and even more bloat is later demanded.

Sony Sound Forge, a single track audio editor, not directly comparable to a DAW, most definitely is bloated. The installation package has increased from 42 MB in version 8, to 71 MB in version 9, to 152 MB in version 10. Measurable feautures in a program like this are the quantity of the processing filters and I/O codecs. Size of one DLL implementing read/save/realtime playback of the FLAC format: 1.1 MB (v9), 5 MB (v10); or "raw" (very simple legacy formats like A-law): 360 KB (v7), 800 KB (v9), 4.1 MB (v10). Keeping support for these formats would be practically free had the library remained around 300K. Sound Forge ships with its own plugins, and doesn't carry compatibility with any 3rd party modules (unlike Windows Media or Winamp, etc.). Each DLL contains copy-protection code, pictures and unreferenced Unicode text strings.

I don't have the numbers ready for Windows. But the size of Vista was a few times that of Win98/2000/XP combined, and obviously did not include a fully functional DOS. The compatibility was only limited (much like that of the raw audio formats). The compatibility that they have to worry about is around the superfluous visual themes, and several times moved and redirected system folders, etc. Bloat new to XP/Vista which they introduced.

Then there is the bloating of the Windows/Installer directory, where Microsoft intentionally copies the complete MSI package, essentially doubling the size of applications (where the bloat might seem justified), just so that the package can be verified against a hash sum included with a certificate, and the publisher's name displayed to the user. That is an epic waste of disk space for very little gain. Therefore most applications installed via MSI can be considered bloated relative to other software installed via Inno or NSIS frameworks, irrespective of their backwards compatibility or number of features.

I feel that criticism of bloating sometimes is an excuse to remove support for older formats, even though they could be carried over essentially for free.

-- J7n (talk) 00:27, 18 June 2015 (UTC)

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