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Last post Author Topic: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?  (Read 10011 times)

zridling

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More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« on: April 27, 2007, 07:59:28 AM »
Last week I ranted about High Software Prices, and in that discussion several mentioned new features as reason for higher prices, among other things. However, I think I can take the feature bloat as long as it doesn't include resource bloat. More often than not, the two go hand-in-hand. It seems more programs are loading most of the installation size right into memory anymore.

Between the two, which is worse?

Darwin

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2007, 08:06:48 AM »
I'm with you, Zaine, resource bloat ticks me off more than feature bloat as long as, as you note, feature bloat doesn't lead to resource bloat.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

app103

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2007, 05:45:02 PM »
The resource bloat problem is why I fell in love with good simple single purpose tools.

Why the heck should I have wait forever for Word to load, just to sort a list in a simple .txt file alphabetically?

Or open an image in Photoshop or Paintshop Pro just to use the dropper tool to find out the RGB of some color in it?

Why does my good firewall need to have a crappy antivirus? Or my good antivirus have to have a crappy firewall?

The list goes on forever.

Yeah, ok, my taskbar looks bloated with shortcuts to all my tiny tools, but I can gladly live with that.  :D

f0dder

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2007, 05:53:15 PM »
Quote from: app103
Why the heck should I have wait forever for Word to load, just to sort a list in a simple .txt file alphabetically?
In my experience, word (at least the office2000 version and previous) is a blazingly fast loader - also when the "office loader" application is set not to run at system startup. I was forced back on a pmmx-200/64ram, 5400rpm IDE drive that didn't support UDMA, for a while - and that's after I had been used to a P4/2.53/512meg/7200rpm-fast-drive. Yet, word was still fast loading (although the as-you-type spell checking was a bit heavy on the CPU :) ).

I do agree that integrating a lot of functionality isn't always the best way to go... but some tools can also almost be too single-purpose-minded. Ah, achieving the golden balance...
- carpe noctem

app103

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2007, 06:18:03 PM »
Back when I used to actually use Word, I also had a rather heavy antivirus that slowed EVERYTHING down (speaking of bloat...cough McAfee cough). It made even Word 97 take awhile to load. By the time I scrapped it in favor of AVG, I had lost the habit of using Word and was pretty much a plain text/notepad person.

And yeah...I was stuck on a pc just like your slow one. But I was running WinME, which is also kind of bloated and slower than it should be.

Did you know that when you close an application in WinME, it takes 3-5 mins for you to regain all your system resources back? This is an intended 'feature'...just in case you decide you didn't mean to close it and want to open it again, it will load faster the 2nd time.

Baaaaaaad idea! Whoever thought that one up should be forced to use my old pc for the rest of his/her life! :down:

Quote
I do agree that integrating a lot of functionality isn't always the best way to go... but some tools can also almost be too single-purpose-minded. Ah, achieving the golden balance...

The golden balance...to have the small tools for the small jobs...and the big ones for the big jobs...and the sense to use the right ones at the right time and not be tempted to squash an ant with a steamroller or scrub the kitchen floor with a toothbrush.

Renegade

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2007, 07:18:24 PM »
For me it all depends on the application.

Feature bloat can be annoying if the interface makes using it difficult or slow.

Resource bloat is a pain depending on how you use the application. If the application is meant to be used along with nothing else running, then it's not a problem. If you need to use it with other things, then it's a pain.

Again, like most answers in IT, the correct answer is yet again, "It all depends..."
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Hirudin

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2007, 04:11:44 AM »
Are the rest of you thinking about Nero as well?
Make a CD burning progam. Cool
Add in MP3 to CD burning. Great
Put in DVD burning as well. Excellent
...
Add in a media library. Stupid and useless

There are some situations when I actually prefer less features, even if it doesn't change the performance of the program. For example, I use Firefox a lot, but if they bundle an MP3 player with it I'll never use it, so why have it?

I guess it's kind of like VCR/DVD combo home stereo components. Sure it's cool to have both in the same machine, but who wants a sub-par VCR AND a sub-par DVD player?

mouser

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2007, 04:30:25 AM »
In the days of win9x i would be very concerned about resource use of programs that were meant to stay running in the background.  As Renegade says, if a program is not really meant to be running all the time and you just use it and then close it, it doesn't matter to me.  But with modern pcs and all this memory, and operating systems designed to not freak out with resource use so much, it's not something i worry so much about.  I still do worry about cpu use though for background processes, but again not as much as i used to.

Carol Haynes

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2007, 04:47:51 AM »
Quote from: app103
Why the heck should I have wait forever for Word to load, just to sort a list in a simple .txt file alphabetically?
In my experience, word (at least the office2000 version and previous) is a blazingly fast loader - also when the "office loader" application is set not to run at system startup. I was forced back on a pmmx-200/64ram, 5400rpm IDE drive that didn't support UDMA, for a while - and that's after I had been used to a P4/2.53/512meg/7200rpm-fast-drive. Yet, word was still fast loading (although the as-you-type spell checking was a bit heavy on the CPU :) ).

I do agree that integrating a lot of functionality isn't always the best way to go... but some tools can also almost be too single-purpose-minded. Ah, achieving the golden balance...


I agree in the days when I used Norton AV Word loaded incredibly slowly - with NOD32 it is pretty quick.

Actually I am sure the biggest impact on my system during startup and during running is WebRoot Spysweeper. It has always been a resource hog but I don't want to run my system without decent antispyware as I am only using the XP firewall these days.

Combination of Outpost FW and Spysweeper was a real killer on my system response!

MrCrispy

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2007, 04:52:32 AM »
Its really unavoidable. Computer software and hardware have become unbelievably complex. Look at what the avg computer runs today, this would have been unimaginable a decade ago and I'm sure the same will be true for the future.

The point is, the only way to sell new versions of software is to keep adding (often questionable) features and keep expanding the bullet list on the box. Its a sad fact that the majority of buyers (this excludes everyone here and on similar forums) will buy software based on the box art, website look'n'feel, and targeted advertising, with very little research. To be fair, they shouldn't have to. But everyone is greedy, we all want the shiny new features, and we want to have our cake and eat it too!

Writing simple software is very very hard. Its much easier to pile on feature on top of ill-conceived feature. More importantly, its the only way to keep the PHB's and suits happy and market it.

mouser

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2007, 04:57:43 AM »
I remember when i used to be very protective of my memory -- checking programs to make sure they didn't use too much.. and then one day i completely flipped and i started thinking, damn it i have 2gb of memory, i want something using that memory and not have it all go to waste!!! that's when i started filling up my system tray (yes you heard me right) with gadgets :)

nosh

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2007, 05:10:02 AM »
I really like the plugin/extension based softwares - they can end up being as light or heavily featured as we need.

Nero is definitely a victim of bloat -  I'm testing a CD burning software called Power2Go, it has worked well so far and has a feature I absolutely love (though I haven't personally tested it yet), it lets you optionally encrypt files & scramble filenames for the burnt data. The burnt CD/DVD contains the necessary logic to be self-decrypting and can be used on another PC. I wish features like these were given priority by big players like Nero.

For most application categories I prefer to have one blazing fast app and one fully loaded, more functional one. I use a highly customized version of Firefox for my daily browsing, Opera (which has superceded IE6) is now my 'quick-browser', to be used when I want to look up a specific bit of info in a rush.

Same thing for graphic editing: I have Photoshop with a few 3rd party plugins installed but for a quick job there's Paint Shop Pro 5. I made it a point not to upgrade to later versions which started to look more and more like Photoshop wannabes. 

Software bloat is one of the major reasons I've grown to like freeware so much. Freeware authors tend to keep it real/functional and are not nearly as likely to go in for 'features' that are little more than marketing gimmicks.

nosh

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2007, 05:16:17 AM »
damn it i have 2gb of memory, i want something using that memory and not have it all go to waste!!! that's when i started filling up my system tray (yes you heard me right) with gadgets :)

Same story here mouser, I have about 15 icons in my systray at the moment and it's consuming just over half of the 1GB RAM. RAM doesn't seem to be that much of a problem anymore. It's the CPU that really gets stretched when any one resource hungry app starts chugging away.
I have an Intel P4 - 3GHz which is not exactly a slow processor but I've seen numerous apps stretch it out completely.

Carol Haynes

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2007, 05:56:30 AM »
The program that amazes me is iTunes - it regularly maxes out an Athlon64 X2 4600+ process for long periods just downloading podcasts! Madness

Curt

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2007, 06:51:57 AM »
Combination of Outpost FW and Spysweeper was a real killer on my system response!


I was forced to unplug the PC and remove Spysweeper in F8 SafeMode (Win2K with Outpost). I asked the company what to do, but they only gave me instructions on how to remove Spysweeper, so I guess they are familiar with the problem...


Regarding Word (2003), I have made the choice not to have NOD32 check my documents when I work. Knowing my station is clean I think it is overkill to check every document, when you are not downloading / installing, and in the end the scanning time became too annoying.


I tried iTunes for some time, but gave it up: I could not find the goodies to match the bads. iTunes is like using Office Automatic Update and have an update that failed to install; the PC wil be useless for   s e v e r a l   minutes at each and every upstart.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2007, 07:01:28 AM by Curt »

Darwin

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2007, 07:49:36 AM »
It's hard to switch from the Win9x era and RAM mindset to the CPU mindset. I have gig of "slow-ish" RAM and a 1.4 GHz Centrino  (single core) processor. I'm often convinced that the sluggishness of my machine is due to RAM but when I go looking I'll find that the processor is being pegged by WinPatrol, Spysweeper, or Zone Alarm. I'm becoming increasingly tempted to go App's route and stop running my firewall. I spend 99.9% of my time online at home behind a hardware firewall - I could just run ZoneAlarm when I need to... (airports, primiarily).

People have been pointing the finger at Nero for bloat - Sonic/Roxio are the same. Check out RecordNow!, which is supposed to be a fairly lightweight DVD/CD burning app - it's a 625MB download! Compare this to Ashampoo Burning Studio 6 at about 10 MB.

This is an interesting thread and is echoed, in some ways, by a thread over at talkgraphics about Xara Xtreme, which was taken over by Magix recently. There is a lot of worry about bloat creep as an apparently to-be-paid-for upgrade due in May looks like an attempt to attract new users (and current user's money! - XX Pro has only had one point release update since release in December) with expanded features.

EDIT: started this note to give a +1 to the suggestion that simple applications that do their job well and as advertised definitely trump bloated mediocrity!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: April 28, 2007, 08:02:21 AM by Darwin »

zridling

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2007, 10:30:24 AM »
Man, you guys are new school! Hell, the only thing I got in my tray is AutoHotkey. With a fast computer and enough memory, I don't know need to preload any app or process except drivers (and normal Services).
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nosh

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2007, 12:37:24 PM »
Man, you guys are new school! Hell, the only thing I got in my tray is AutoHotkey. With a fast computer and enough memory, I don't know need to preload any app or process except drivers (and normal Services).
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*MrCrispy — what is a PHB? Pretty Hot Babe? Pushy Hoarding Butthead? Let us know!

What about anti-virus, firewall, desktop search, backup app, mail/RSS clients? 


Ampa

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2007, 01:26:22 PM »
IMHO Opera gets an awful lot right...

 I have been using it for at least 5 years, and during that time the download size has remained consistantly small (< 5MB), but it has seen the addition of...

  • a mail client
  • iRC chat
  • a widget engine
  • simple notes
  • a basic bittorrent client
  • user javascript (like GreaseMonkey)
Not only has the feature list improved, but the speed of the basic function, web browser, has also increased significantly.

Ampa

MrCrispy

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2007, 01:45:04 AM »
"*MrCrispy — what is a PHB? Pretty Hot Babe? Pushy Hoarding Butthead? Let us know!"

http://en.wikipedia....i/Pointy_Haired_Boss

"he Pointy-Haired Boss (often abbreviated to just PHB) is Dilbert's boss in the Dilbert comic strip. He is notable for his gross incompetence and unawareness of his surroundings, yet somehow retains power in the workplace.  The phrase "pointy-haired boss" has acquired a generic usage to refer to incompetent managers.

He's every employee's worst nightmare. He wasn't born mean and unscrupulous, he worked hard at it. And succeeded. As for stupidity, well, some things are inborn. His top priorities are the bottom line and looking good in front of his subordinates and superiors (not necessarily in that order). Of absolutely no concern to him is the professional or personal well-being of his employees. The Boss is technologically challenged but he stays current on all the latest business trends, even though he rarely understands them."

I could definitely use some "Pretty Hot Babe's" at work :)

zridling

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2007, 02:25:32 AM »
Ah, thank you! Seems every boss I've ever had was a PHB, except for the cool folks at Barnes & Noble.

cthorpe

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2007, 02:31:34 PM »
Well, my primary PC was top of the line back with the 866mhz Pentium 3 was the top Intel chip around.  With that being the case, I look for lean programs.  I run a lot of older versions of programs because updating them would make them unusable on my computer.  I'm all for more features if they are done in a responsible manner that doesn't cause the program to grind to a halt.  Unfortunately, too many programs try to load every bit of themselves into memory when you first run them.  I would love to see programs have a low resource mode that only loads the main functions, and lets you turn the other functions on and off as needed.  Likewise, I would love to have a means to limit programs to a certain amount of resources.  If a program lists a specific configuration as its minimum requirements, it would be great to be able to tell the program that it only has that amount to work with.  Sure it might make that program slower, but it would allow for more multitasking.

Carl

Grorgy

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2007, 03:19:54 PM »
I just received 3 (yep 3,  count em, talking of bloat) about new 'features' to raxco's perfect disk defreagging thing.  It now includes disk cleaning, registry cleaning windows tweaking all sorts of stuff which frankly i dont want.  I wanted a good defragging thing, and the one suppllied with windows had completely stopped working on both my desk and laptop.  I spose if you were just setting it all up an all in one program like that might be good but usually 1 bit of them seems to work and work well and the rest, well who knows. 

Keep the bits seperate for those of us who want seperate bits, or maybe go down the firefox path and have a perfectly usable product as is but that can be tweaked to your preferences through add on, extensions whatever IF you want to
Just my 1/2 cents worh, needed a rant lol

dhuser

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2007, 04:56:52 PM »
Resource bloat is the wrost, your computer slows down, and then the Low Virtual Memory message appears. The programs I think of, with this is: some Roxio programs, and old versions of Norton Antivirus.

I usually don't care about the numerous features... All I want is that those features just have some purpose.

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GHammer

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Re: More offensive — Resource bloat or Feature bloat?
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2007, 07:24:37 PM »
I nominate Nero for the winner of this pageant.
I was looking for something to burn image files in Vista and found that Nero 6 did not like Vista.
Even installing the 'Essentials' got me Nero Home and the lovely Nero Scout.

Anyone know a burner that will handle NRGs?
Or something that will convrt them to ISO, reliably?