I recall the days when a word processor fit on a single floppy and had probably 50% of the capabilities of wordprocessors today. Yet look at the size of todays word processors and spreadsheets. Microsoft Office chews up more than 300 MB, yes that is MB. But windows was heralded as a means of saving space because the operating system would handle all the drawing. So where is the savings in space going? To these easter eggs. Your response may be so what go buy a bigger hard drive. Well don't forget most people we write apps for don't upgrade their systems once a year with the latest and greatest stuff out there. Or they are worried that they can not do a new hard drive installation themselves. Wasting their precisous hard disk space is not correct for a greedy programmer who is either to lazy to create compact code or has to much time on their hands to make eggs (a better use of time is a more robust or feature packed product)
I do beleive they or their associations with other "spare" code are a security risk. Imagine if a programmer at Microsoft working on the operating system fears for his job, he puts in a backdoor that can make the system crash. He gets fired, what is his response, "I'll get them" and he goes around activating his egg through the web page. This does not necessarily have to be Microsoft but any large corporation which distributes an application which has a lot of endusers
You make some valid points, and if it could be proved that Easter Eggs took up a significant chunk of the applications size, then there would be some reason for concern.
The idea of programmers being too lazy or having too much time is treating programmers as little children who have to be kept busy or else they'll get into trouble.
As was said below, I believe that it does show a pride in one's work, along with a little individuality and artistry, but in a way that doesn't have to interfere with the application (and thus most easter eggs are hard to activate even when you want to).
I think you are more arguing the point about application bloat than easter eggs, which is a completely separate issue. I personally think it is a case of hardware speed and techniques doubling speed every 18 months while development of code has pretty much remained about the same in terms of efficiency and speed of development. Very few companies know how to properly manage projects and programmers. I found 'Rapid Development' to be a very interesting book that addressed some of these issues. A few other classics are 'Peopleware' and 'The Mythicial Man-Month
I would imagine that if you are writing an app that links to the MFC DLLs or the common Windows DLLs then adding a small easter egg isn't really going to affect your already large code foot print significantly.
I also think that there is a fine line between an easter egg and a trojan horse/backdoor. Personally I love easter eggs, but when an employee makes an easter egg go feral and starts using it as a backdoor then that's when things get very untidy
Now tell me:
To store (useless) music on a digital media like CD is a waste of precious space which would be better used to store some VERY IMPORTANT data, isn't it? Take as account that typical CD takes 600MB, "yes that is MB" - how many one_floppy_word_processors would that be?
People do what the people do.
Accept it and your life shall became much more funny
Boy, that is like saying boys will be boys. I try to keep a pretty tidy system. If someone jams a piece of useless code to me down my throat I have a right to complain. Yes a CD has 600 MB of storage. But don't forget with a 2 GB hard drive that is only 3 CD's worth of space, forget about the operating system. Putting code which I do not want in an application which serves no useful purpose for the application is forcing my system to have something I don't want, and it is my system. What if the compliers did this automatically for every program you wrote, bloating your applications by 10 or 15% would you be pissed off. Funny in your eyes is not funny to everyone else, it is better to give offense to no one.
If some one wants to distribute easter eggs, then fine distribute easter eggs. The web is a perfect place for people to display their talents. But don't force so hapeless user to have it one their system if they don't need it
I think you are overstating things. I seriously doubt easter eggs add 10-15% to the size of applications like Word or Excel. I seriously doubt any applicaiton is swelled that much by easter eggs.
How upset would you be about an easter egg that added 00.25% to the size of the application?
Something else to consider ... perhaps the reason the egg gets in is because the ace programming team that put the application together does it as a sort of trademark, as they take pride in their work. What if the company that put out the software decided not to allow that anymore, and as a result, their ace team decides to take their employment elsewhere? So then the backup team, which isn't as good, takes over, and their releases have no easter eggs, but because they are not top talent, their coding is 10% less efficient than the ace team and so now your file has 00.25% savings in not having the easter egg, but then that is cancelled out by the 10% decrease in efficiency, so now you have instead 9.75% more space used up on your hard drive. (And I'm not saying the second team is incompetent... far from it... actually, studies have shown that there is such a huge difference in programmer ability that one programmer could be 100 times better than another in terms of productivity. A 10% difference is nothing.)
I whole-heartedly agree with you about big huge word processors. What's the deal with MS Office anyway? The fact that people need 1000+ page tomes to use just word says a lot about the product I think. I only use Word because that's what everyone has, although when I think about it, just about everything can be done in Rich Text Format that you need on a school report or a resume. Ok, maybe you need graphs and stuff in a report, but I digress.
I think disagreeing with Easter eggs for the reason they take up space is sorta like suing a company for polluting because an employee peed in the river, but not suing them about the toxic waste they dump in the same river. Or something like that...Bloated Software sucks, but we are living in a sea of it...
>> Imagine if a programmer at Microsoft working on the
>> operating system fears for his job, he puts in a
>> backdoor that can make the system crash. He gets fired,
>> what is his response, "I'll get them" and he goes around
>> activating his egg through the web page
I think you're wasting to much time watching the X-Files and other junk Sci-Fi! ;-
Seeing as hard drive space is cheap these days, 300 MB 'ain't squat'. I remember when 40 MB was a large HDD, and 4 MB RAM was alot. People coded using assembler, and machine code. Now there are computers with GB's of RAM, and TB of HDD space. Saying an Easter Egg is software bloat is silly. But that silly paperclip is another story
The idea that Easter eggs can introduce security flaws and backdoors is ridiculous and I think it was a mistake to include it as an option in the survey. An Easter egg is additonal functionality. It is entirely possible that the same 'functionality' could have been included 'normally' and documented. i.e. that it is just another part of the system. The main thing that distinguishes it is the lack of official documentation about it. That in no way has anything to do with an increased security vulnerability. An Easter egg can be coded just as secure as the rest of the system. As far as the computer is concerned, it is just another part of the program. A back door is a back door, not an easter egg. Given that, it makes no sense to object to them based on fears of decreased security.
Now, I have a beef with the idea of it being bad to 'waste' time. Wasting time is what makes life worth living. If every second of our lives were only devoted to productive, billable activities I imagine that life would be pretty damn dull and not worth living. In addition, dull living makes dull programmers - and dull programmers don't come up with the brilliant leaps of insight that can ultimately improve overall production and save money for a company. My best ideas always come when I'm 'wasting' time or doing anything other than actually sitting at my computer coding or designing. Besides, as the song goes, Programmer/Analysts just want to have fun...
I wanted to include the "security flaw" option simply because this is what some people really think. One argument goes along the lines of "if an easter egg is in an application without a managers knowledge then this piece of code has not been audited and therefore may contain a security hole". Maybe a programmer was a little too concerned about getting his name up in lights in just the right shade of lime instead of checking for things like buffer overflows allowing malicious code to be run...
Personally I think end of year bonuses should be awarded solely on the basis of the most creative/warped easter egg for the prevous year - but maybe that's why I'm not a manager
Including easter eggs in apps, to me, shows that the programmer really cares about the final product and will want to show it off to his or her peers. It also allows them to instill something of themselves, and highlight their team
Ok, I can see where you are going with the idea of unauthorized code, and the thought did cross my mind as I was writing. Where I work, all code is peer reviewed, so if an Easter egg made it in, it would have been reviewed for problems and approved by other programmers before it went in. (Assuming the other reviewers let it go in). Managers never look at code, never test, and are pretty much completely removed from the whole process. Project managers are directly involved with schedules and assignments, but again, most are clueless when it comes to the code, so really, it is up to the programmers to review each others work to make sure no problems get into the system.
I hadn't considered the idea that it shows that the programmer takes pride in his or her work, but I now that you've mentioned it, I wholeheartedly agree