Feature laden software

When was the last time you used the X feature burried underneath in the latest version of your favorite piece software, Say MS Word? The chances are very high you would say “hardly or never” So what’s the point of having it all there at the very first place?

Today, all the major software firms release at least one incarnation of their flagship product each year. All the fancy features, bells and whistles but do people really use them? Opps! I guess 99 percent of average people don’t even know that those features are there at the very first place.

All the new features, labyrinth of menus, thousands of lines of codes comes with a CD full installation that makes our humble machines scream for their breath.

And these companies make sure to include one or two killer features in this every version so users may feel compelled to upgrade or try. And sometimes get messed up their systems in the process.

Every version get blotted with features, takes more space, more memory, more resources and more time to figure out that you can’t be as efficient as you were with their early release. Enough reasons to look elsewhere if we do have proper alternatives. The problem is we don’t

One good example is my well respected Macromedia Designer Suite Studio MX. I had been using it since Dreaweaver incarnation 2 and they were famous for their quality software. Suddenly I was shocked to see how sluggish their latest trail of Studio MX 2004 when they initially released it. It took days to install, hours load, ages to configure, too slow to switch back and forth and screen redraw issues made me sick of. No wonder complaints were flooding at Macromedia Forums.

They were a respectable firm and suddenly the fame was at stake. Everybody gets effected. This is mainly due to Macromedia had released this version unpolished just as a marketing gimmick. They learn their lessons and soon revert it back with patches.

Anyway I went back to the previous version without having any alternatives. Sigh! Not that I missed any features unless some came with Flash MX but still I have to update my PC if I were to use these memory hogs. Forget it.

ACDSee V6 is another good example that they got messed up like this. It used to be one heck of good program for image browsing. Suddenly they decided to add all the world of features borrowed from Photoshop to scanners to digital camers to printers and lost in the wilderness.

Remember when Windows XP came in. How many patches and service packs does Microsoft release after their babies to get it stabilize? Ultimately no wonder they halted all their developments and put the company behind SP2 until they get it out right.

Big companies can afford to do that because they have enough resources.

The problem is for the end users who rely on these software for their bread and butter. Sometimes there’s no equal contenders to take this famous feature laden softwares’ place. This drives me crazy.

One way to overcome this is these companies can maintain two versions of this their cash cow sort of software. So one can say this can easily be done.

Not quite so. ACDSee Systems has done this keeping one of the early versions freezed at version 2.46 or something as ACDSee Classic. I still use it though, is it enough to manage pictures we get nowadays when each and every mobile phone too has 1 megapixel cameras inbuilt?

No way, well, for ACDSee’s case I might get the choice of switching to now famous Google’s Picasa or something but not for everything else.

Sure, software industry has to update their babies on regular basis to keep their revenues up either as marketing gimmicks or as truely to accommodate new technologies.

So here I repeat. We do need those feathers but not at the expense of the existing stability and the quality of the basic functions of the software we rely on.



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