Page after page of the Web talks about bloat and blames Windows. Mac users talk as if they are the authors of the Internet but then suddenly say Windows creates all the bloated pages and web sites. The truth is the copy and paste facilities of all software make duplication a problem and the web is equivalent to hundreds of millions of photocopiers replicating data from a very small range of original authors. Windows is one of the most commonly used operating systems but the copying and plagiarism is performed in editing applications, not by an operating system. The availability of free open source word processors means that about 6 billion of the 6 billion people on our planet can copy your latest Web page.
If they do not copy your web page, it is only because Google has already copied your carefully written web page and Google is delivering your page to the other 5.999 billion people from Google's page cache.
Web page bloat is caused by the basic human traits of greed, vanity, and simply not caring about other people. Twitter automates the copying to the point where you can copy stuff without actually reading it or trying to understand it. You might occasionally have to look at the heading of a Web page before passing it on but there are apps for removing that trivial step. You can now leave an app to automatically plagiarise any web site more popular than yours and to bleet about your plagiarism.
The incoming brags/bleets/tweets do not have to be read either. They can be automatically passed on with the author's name replaced by yours. Shutting down Twitter would help reduce repetitive duplication bloat.
Apps on the Apple iPhone appear to be the biggest source of bleet bloat. Perhaps Internet users could reduce the biggest source of bloat by banning iPhones. That would, in turn, remove the incentive to bload vanity blogs.
Endless comments blame Windows for all the bloat your computer. It is strange that they assume you have a Windows computer. Perhaps they have never heard of Linux or the version of Unix rebranded as OSX.
Bloat on Windows appears to be blamed mainly on the demonstration versions of Microsoft Office included in Windows. The same people fail to complain about Linux including Epithany instead of Thunderbird or including Unity when Gnome 2 is already available. No, when excess is included in Linux, it is called choice. Now for the free version of Unix sold at a big profit by Apple. Some of my students have found their OSX notebooks easy to customise at the application level because they already have vast lists of applications preinstalled. The bloat on those Apple Mac notebooks far exceeds the worst case created by the demonstration copy of Microsoft Office.
Linux gives you the best choice of size with Linux installation media varying from one floppy disk up to six DVDs. The six DVD version was overkill because many of the DVDs were source code. Based on an installation from a six DVD set, useful software spread up to the start of the third DVD. The actual range is from 150 KB up to 25000 KB. The biggest is 170 times the size of the smallest. That is far better choice than Windows or OSX.
After the installation, Windows gives you good cleanup and defragmentation facilities for everything except Microsoft software and the Windows registry. Linux refused to help you with either task until recently. I have not seen either on OSX but OSX is just Unix in an expensive suit and Unix can adopt anything from Linux. Windows leads here, Linux follows, then Unix copies then OSX plagiarises.
Application bloat is now worse than any operating system bloat. Applications include massive help pages that are obsolete before they arrive and you have to look up everything online. Applications offer 26 languages built in but the installation option offers only the choice between English and everything. If you are downloading from the Internet, it is too late to offer a selection option after everything is downloaded. You should be able to select what you need and nothing else before the download starts.
Where does the bloat really start?
Installation bloat starts with people pressing a button and walking away. If you select the default and you get more than you want, who is to blame? You can blame the manufacturer if there is no selection option. You cannot blame them if there is a customisation option that you do not use.
Documentation bloat starts with people installing everything when there are options to leave the documentation out. When you start learning application X, you need the documentation for application X. A few years later you are moving to a new computer, know everything about application X, and want to install application Y. You could choose to install X without documentation and use the saved space for the documentation supplied with application Y. Few people are that selective. A few extra text pages make little difference on modern disks. What they do not notice is the huge expansion caused by the inclusion of video.
Where is bloat headed? Video is the new fashion and will be used everywhere because a whole generation grew up with television as a substitute for parents. Video chews up more than a thousand times more space compared to any other form for delivery of the same information. Video is rarely needed and is often a severe disadvantage to the student. Video is used for only two reasons, some people are not used to anything better, and video is a chanche to use product placement to advertise things. When you produce a video showing people how to put the batteries in your electronic paperweight, you can show the paperweight user holding an iPad in the other hand and make more money from Apple paid product placement than from actually selling your paperweights.
You know how much advertising blasts at you from the television channels. Expect all the online videos to degrade further. Those
funniest home videos will be of people tripping over Macbook Airs and and dogs eating the neighbour's iPad.
Free of licensing issues
Proprietary software introduces all sorts of limitations. If you have a CD for the software, you can delete things you no longer use then reinstall if you change your mind. Proprietary software that is downloaded is more difficult to protect against complete deletion and continues to waste space on your disk if you do not completely delete it. Free open source software can be installed at any time on any computer, giving you the choice to try, delete, then change your mind and install again with no cost other than potential extra charges if your data download exceeds your limit.
Think of a situation where you have ten people in your office and one person needs a special publishing application. The free open Scribus might fit the requirement. You can install Scribus on any computer, all the computers if you want, then everyone can try it and and anyone not using it can delete it. The proprietary equivalent might be so expensive that you install it on only one computer then you find it is on the wrong computer and will not let you install it again. you keep it on the computer where it is installed because deleting it would stop you installing it anywhere else. you buy a copy for another computer then that person leaves and the work moves to another person and you have to buy another copy. now you have three copies installed, only one in use, but it is too expensive to delete the two unused copies. Proprietary contributes some bloat because of the need to hoard unused copies of proprietary software.
The fight against bloat requires a little extra work when selecting an operating system, a lot of extra work when selecting all the options attached to all those applications, and some work to go back to things you no longer use to delete, delete, delete. Open source gives you one advantage, you can delete any software at any time then download it and reinstall it at any time if you change your mind.