Most software takes up more space, and requires more RAM as versions increase. This is called code bloat, feature bloat or just plain bloat. Users demand more features, the managers want the program to look flashy, the tech support people want a talking paperclip to answer the users' stupid questions, and so on. Microsoft software is an extreme example of this phenomena. MS Word used to run on a 286 with 1 MB RAM. MS Office 2000 ships on 5 CDs, requires nearly a gigabyte of disc space, and is unbearably slow on anything but an insanely fast processor. Many conspiracy theorists attribute this to a secret alliance between Microsoft and Intel to make us buy new computers and operating systems more often.

Faster CPUs, more RAM and harddisk space are available, so non-optimized code still runs "fast enough" and is not penalized by the user. Not caring about optimization and using multiple stacked-over-each-other APIs makes programming easier and faster, and larger projects possible.

And that, ladies and gentlemen is the reason for the software bloat we observe today - a project like Office 2000 would be simply impossible to manage if it were done in hand-optimized assembler code, and it would take a hundred years. The result might run on a 486 with 8 MB of RAM and take up only 20 MB diskspace, but nobody'd care.

Bloat (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Bloated; p. pr. & vb. n. Bloating.] [Cf. Icel. blotna to become soft, blautr soft, wet, Sw. blot soft, blota to soak; akin to G. bloss bare, and AS. ble�xa0;t wretched; or perh. fr. root of Eng. 5th blow. Cf. Blote.]

1.

To make turgid, as with water or air; to cause a swelling of the surface of, from effusion of serum in the cellular tissue, producing a morbid enlargement, often accompanied with softness.

2.

To inflate; to puff up; to make vain.

Dryden.

 

© Webster 1913.


Bloat, v. i.

To grow turgid as by effusion of liquid in the cellular tissue; to puff out; to swell.

Arbuthnot.

 

© Webster 1913.


Bloat, a.

Bloated.

[R.]

Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.


Bloat, n.

A term of contempt for a worthless, dissipated fellow.

[Slang]

 

© Webster 1913.


Bloat, v. t.

To dry (herrings) in smoke. See Blote.

 

© Webster 1913.

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