Why does software spoil? 18 Oct 2007
- Letts' Law: All programs evolve until they can send email.
- Zawinski's Law: Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail.
- Furrygoat's Law: Every program attempts to expand until it can read RSS feeds.
Atwood uses these laws to illustrate the way that feature creep almost inevitably ends up ruining every software package:
"It's depressing to me that there are very few apps I can stick with for more than five years before they become an untenable, unbearable mess. I can think of so many that I've liked and since discarded: Nero Burning ROM, WinAmp, ACDSee, Microsoft Money, WinZip, and many others.
"I suppose features sell software. For many companies, putting users on the version upgrade treadmill is their business model; it's how they generate revenue. But if this fiscally rewarding feature creep goes on long enough, spoilage inevitably sets in. So I wonder: Is all software destined to spoil over time? Is it possible for software packages with long histories to avoid the trap of becoming bloated and irrelevant?"
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