Nifty Tech Terms You Can Use (#3 & 4): creeping featurism & bloatware

If you are looking to add some interesting lingo to your tech articles or blog posts, how about creeping featurism? I picked this one mainly because its a pretty funny sounding term to start with: kree’ping fee’chr-izm. Even funnier is when you can sneak it into an article after spending two hours and a significant portion of your freelance fee on a long distance call with a talkative VP of Marketing who will still e-mail you as soon as you end the call because they forgot to mention “this other really cool feature” in the product.

Basically creeping featurism is the term you would use to describe computer systems that become more complex over time due to far too many features being added. Usually a significant portion of the features were not even in the design specification to start with. When you discuss software that is so full of crap (err… features) that it requires many users to beef up their disk space and memory before installing, you call it bloatware. Actually, bloatware is also another term I like and one I tend to use more often than creeping featurism. I can’t help but picture this big balloon being blown up bigger and bigger, and when you think one more breath is going to make the sucker pop. Sadly, it just keeps getting bigger and harder to hang on to.

Having features is a good thing, but these tech terms can be creatively used in your writing when you need a more of a polite way of saying the system or software has too much (that it is full of stuff/crap/features most users don’t need or even want). Sure, you have to tell the truth but for those that don’t make their living being a hard-ass writer, these tech terms can help you say it in a somewhat nicer way. Personally, I’m pretty sure I’d rather be called “bloatware” than “full of crap”.

You should note the distinctions between the two terms if you plan to use them. You can use creeping featurism (or feature creep) in reference to either hardware or software, but a hardware or computer system reference is more common for this term. Bloatware is the jargon to use when discussing apps and software and it isn’t used in reference to bloated hardware or systems.

I just can’t help but point out this analogy: If creeping featuritis is the symptom, bloatware is the disease.

creeping featurism (definition courtesy of Webopedia)
Creeping featurism is the term given to describe a tendency for systems to become more complex over time as more features are added than were in the original design or plan. This term is widely used in software and hardware development, but is also used in non-technical industries. In software or hardware development, these added features often come at the expense of major design goals such as stability, simplicity or bug reduction.

bloatware (definition courtesy of Webopedia)
Software that has lots of features and requires considerable disk space and RAM. As the cost of RAM and disk storage has decreased, there has been a growing trend among software developers to disregard the size of applications. Some people refer to this trend as creeping featuritis. If creeping featuritis is the symptom, bloatware is the disease.

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