= C =
creeping featurism /kree'ping fee'chr-izm/ n.
[common] 1. Describes a systematic tendency to load more
chrome and features onto systems at the expense of
whatever elegance they may have possessed when originally designed.
See also feeping creaturism. "You know, the main problem
with BSD Unix has always been creeping featurism." 2. More
generally, the tendency for anything complicated to become even
more complicated because people keep saying "Gee, it would be even
better if it had this feature too". (See feature.) The
result is usually a patchwork because it grew one ad-hoc step at a
time, rather than being planned. Planning is a lot of work, but
it's easy to add just one extra little feature to help someone
... and then another ... and another.... When
creeping featurism gets out of hand, it's like a cancer. The GNU
hello program, intended to illustrate GNU command-line switch
and coding conventions, is also a wonderful parody of creeping
featurism; the distribution changelog is particularly funny.
Usually this term is used to describe computer programs, but it
could also be said of the federal government, the IRS 1040 form,
and new cars. A similar phenomenon sometimes afflicts conscious
redesigns; see second-system effect. See also creeping elegance.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.