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Commentary from a long term NetWorker consultant and Backup Theorist

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Aside – Adobe Bloatware

Posted by Preston on 2009-11-28

My partner for the last 13 years is a graphic designer (and an excellent photographer to boot). As you may imagine, over the years, I’ve watched him use a successive number of Adobe products. I even periodically got cast offs myself – e.g., floating around on my system I’ve got a first generation InDesign that I had been working on my book in for a while.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that it doesn’t matter how fast his systems are, the one thing that will generally slow them down are Adobe products. The only time this isn’t the case is when he has 10GB of RAM or more.

But this isn’t just limited to the “pro” Adobe products. So when John Nack over at Adobe had the gall to say that Adobe are “sensitive to bloat”, I couldn’t believe that anyone from Adobe could say that with a straight face.

For goodness sakes, even Acrobat Reader, the absolute (should be minimalist) stable horse of Adobe is bloated and slow. It’s practically zombie-esque. You launch it and it staggers out of its directory/crypt, shakes off the spider webs, looks around for some fresh brains to snack on, begrudgingly brings up a window, freezes for a little while in case there’s a zombie hunter around, then eventually opens the requested document.

Then there’s Flash. That travesty of an animation product that’s actually electronic tar. You know what I do when I see a vendor using Flash for something I need to do? I clear my calendar. I quit every app I have to give the memory leaking sucker enough room to work for a while before crashing, then I sit and wait for it to do its best at trashing my systems. Honestly, the best speed up I got with web browsing was when I installed ClickToFlash for Safari. It makes web browsing a dream, and means I can actually go to the Sydney Morning Herald without 6-10 flash apps starting every time I go to the front page*. It’s amazing the number of sites you can go to and have a smooth clean web browsing experience when you’ve got Flash turned off.

There’s no excuse for such tired and frumpy software. Anyone with a Mac for instance will tell you how quickly Apple’s Preview launches and starts displaying PDFs. On the rare instances where you have to, for some esoteric compatibility reason, open Acrobat Reader instead, well, you want to go fix yourself a coffee while you wait for it to load.

Honestly, Adobe should maybe spend a year or two demanding that developers stop adding code and functionality, and instead learn some lessons and start subtracting code.


* SMH would undoubtedly argue that it’s a “Mac problem”. Honestly, much as I love that paper, it’s so anti-Apple that it’s a wonder someone hasn’t founded a Journalistic Bias Awards just to give them the inaugural golden bong for to celebrate whatever crap they smoke before they write stories about Apple. They make that insidious piece of online garbage, The Inquirer, look fair and balanced a lot of the time!

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2 Responses to “Aside – Adobe Bloatware”

  1. Preston… just yesterday I was looking at memory allocation on my MacBook Pro, and lo and behold, TweetDeck was at 113 MB. More than Entourage, which holds 15,000+ emails at the moment. Hmmm. 113 MB to get tweets. OMG.

    • Preston said

      It does seem a lot, doesn’t it? Twitteriffic seems to weigh in for me at 98MB, which is close enough. In comparison, Yojimbo sits idling along at 44MB, and nsrexecd at only 5.6MB. Having a GUI obviously adds to the memory usage, but comparatively I’d have thought of Yojimbo as being much “bigger” than something like a twitter client…

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