[lug] StarOffice

Michael Deck deckm at cleansoft.com
Mon Jun 26 07:32:58 MDT 2000

At 07:18 AM 6/26/00 -0600, metcalf at attglobal.net wrote:
>I never used it at that early stage so the Age Of Bloat for WP occurred
>shortly after 1985.  I do have a copy of HomeWord II from Sierra, a nice
>word-processing program which fits on a 720 floppy.  I could copy it to a
>2.88 floppy and have plenty of room for files.  Bloatism seems comparatively
>absent from Linux when compared to Microsoft.  I'm fairly certain that some
>good programmers could both reduce the footprint of Microsoft products and
>increase their functionality but that doesn't seem to be on Gates' agenda.
>Of course, this simply gives another advantage to Linux.

Hmm, well as a relative Linux newbie but long-time programmer, I am inclined to disagree somewhat. Although it's true that Unix concepts have encouraged programmers to create small linkable components, if you want to do something significant you still have to have a lot of software installed on your machine. Look at the dependency chain for some RPM's some time. If you are delivering to a programmer community, you can get away with assuming they'll RTFM and keep trying to install all those dependencies until it all works right. If you are delivering competitive shrink-wrap, you pretty much have to build everything statically into the package because you can't make the same assumptions about user capabilities and perseverance. 

Also, a lot of bloat happens because shrink-wrap needs to account for the greater variety of machines and users, too. How many different drivers did we need to package with our products in 1985?  In 1985 you could identify a few prospective user-groups and tailor your product and its installation to them. Some products were for secretaries, some for programmers. You could dictate (pretty much) what they had to have on the machine because there weren't that many choices. Now (and this is IMHO in no small part due to M$oft -- give credit where it is due) you've got everyone from professional programmers to your great-granny banging out emails and faxes direct from extremely capable and reasonably reliable word processors. The variety in machines and users is immense, and results in a lot of bloat to keep the product backward-compatible to all kinds of machines as well as easily-installable on all other kinds. Star Office is trying to compete in a different market now, and I'm not at all surprised it is bloating. 


Michael Deck
Cleanroom Software Engineering, Inc.   

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