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 Visual Basic

An Exchange

From - Sat Apr 29 14:37:44 2000
From: beelz@bloatbusters.org
Organization: bloatbusters.org
To: wildernesspete@bloatbusters.org
Subject: Re: Check OUT 'Communist Administrator 3.5'

> There is freeware called Communist Administrator 3.5
>  in Current JEWELS  section of   www.filemine.com
> Wilderness Pete

Wilderness Pete,

I did, just for the heck of it, and here's a bit of what I found:

First off, this application is not 419KB as the article contends, but a
walloping 861KB. With any system tool of this sort, when it even
approaches the first 100KB point, you of course have to have your
warning lights go off.

Second, as you will note from the attached report, this is a *Delphi*
application. And as you know, "Delphi" means "BLOAT". Delphi, the "VB
killer", is more of a "computer killer" than anything.

I will never forget the first time I ran into "Delphi gurus" when the
system was first released. Of course these morons were completely
euphoric. I asked them to please build for me a simple no-frills Windows
skeleton application. No nothing, just a window and the ability to close
it. They did so. The resulting executable was 450KB!!!! And this was
without consideration for the various special dependencies this monster

But the point was: *they did not react*. I pointed to the computer
monitor, put my greasy index finger on the listing in the Explorer,
"450KB", and said, "look at that". They all answered, almost in unison,

With which I rest my case with Delphi and its proponents. There is no
reason between heaven and earth (or even beyond) to use such a
ridiculous development tool. And the dubious (but contested) epithet of
"VB killer" is nothing to get excited about. Being able to out-perform
Visual Basic is not exactly some kind of super-human feat. It's rather
pathetic, actually, to even want to put one's product in the same

Third, if you looked under the bonnet at this monster, you would see
that it adds injury to insult as well as insult to injury. Not only is
it jam packed with all the totally unnecessary Borland/Inprise bitmaps
as usual for circumventing ordinary interfaces already provided by the
operating system, but it has a string table meant to nauseate. This
string table is so huge... I will give you some juicy excerpts:

  List index out of bounds (%d)
  List capacity out of bounds (%d)
  List count out of bounds (%d)
  Bitmap image is not valid
  Icon image is not valid
  Metafile is not valid
  Cannot change the size of a JPEG image
  Stream read error
  Stream write error

This is only a choice selection, from hundreds of similar occurrences.
What is immediately obvious, from only the above quoted strings, is
among other things the following:

  1. List boxes or listviews should never report things like this, and
of course an application using either should never have to report
something like an index being out of bounds. This is painfully obvious.
There should be ample defensive code in the application already to guard
against such events, and frankly, the odds that something like this
could occur even in this dumb application are quite minimal.

  2. References to invalid images is ridiculous. In which context? There
is only one - in the context of the so-called "Delphi" program to its
generator. The question however is: in which context will these messages
be displayed? The answer is that there is no suitable context for them
to be displayed at all. What is the program supposed to do? Protest that
it is internally inconsistent? Really? Would this matter not be resolved
adequately before shipping a final release if it had been a problem? And
how, for heaven's sake, could something as foreign as this ever have
been a problem in the first place?

- Scratch two types of listings.

  3. The stream error messages really confound. For they refer to basic
input/output, i.e. the kinds of things that happen perhaps with console
mode applications. But this is a GUI application! It has no basic
input/output stream at all! This is a carry over from the abhorrent I/O
library of Bjarne Stroustrup, which even his former loyal colleagues at
Bell Labs have denigrated completely - and it's another sign that the
people behind this application and its generator are completely
brainwashed every step of the way.

The long and short then? Nearly all the bulk (the BLOAT) of the string
table(s) is completely unneeded. There is nary a string entry here that
can be, will be, or should be used.

- Scratch them all for this author.


You will also notice there are several references to the Microsoft Ctl3d
library for Windows 3.1 (Win16) in this application. We've talked about
this before, and of course you already know that having these references
in a Win32 application is tantamount to being totally brain-dead.


There are also two references to GetProcAddress, meaning this program
can load any number of DLLs which are not officially listed among its
dependencies. How much (damage) this program can and will cause will not
really be known until runtime. What is known is that it is capable of
causing more damage than is already apparent (and that is quite a lot).


There are three references to this string, which normally works together
with GetProcAddress, so we may calmly assume that there are at least
three additional DLLs somewhere in this monster that it will attempt to
load at runtime, above and beyond its official dependency list.

Software\ Strings

These are particularly important and sensitive buggers. Each instance of
"Software\" means yet another attempt by the bloatware monster to clog
and bloat your Registry to smithereens. Note that this wonderful "Tweak
UI" application, which is supposed to help you get some "law and order"
in your computer, has twenty six (26) such strings! Twenty six Registry
keys which may be created! As the concomitant "RegCreateKey" is also
there, we may know that this application will *indeed* be junking your
Registry as well!

The Dependency List

Please note the presence of two OLE DLLs in this list. In an application
such as this, there is *no place* for any such OLE shite. No place at
all. Suspect the worst with this application.


Ok, that's the preliminaries - now to the punchline: can this
application, despite everything, actually have something to offer, and
be able to offer that "something" in such a way that the net result of
its use improves the system on which it is run?

The answer is a very forthcoming "of course not!" A quick perusal of
what this application "does" shows that it basically mimics
functions/applets we already have in our system. It doesn't reveal any
new dark and interesting secrets about any Windows platform; it just
BLOATs on disk to the tune of at least one megabyte, considering its
image size on disk and its damage to an unsuspecting Registry.

So that's that... now the next question:


And that question is: "why would anyone want, or be at least interested
in checking out, this program?"

And the answer to that question is very simple:

"Because FileMine(.com) has featured this program and even included it
in their group of "JEWELS" applications - because they *recommend* this

A user cannot be held accountable for seeing through whatever an
otherwise trusted site could throw at him, and he cannot know exactly
how all these developers' equations hold together, but if FileMine(.com)
says this app is ok, and as the case is, say it's "more than ok", even a
"JEWEL", why should anyone be suspicious?


And *that*, to me, is the gist of the issue.

For these e-zines and software archives, as we both know, are *not* in
the business of providing us with good and accurate reviews. They are
*not* trying to set us on proper course while navigating through new

*They are trying to make money off us and nothing else.*

How do they do this with free products? By referring (and recommending)
products that are free?

Why, through advertising of course!

And how do they make money in this way?

Why, by getting people to come to their site and click on all the
advertising links of course!

And how do they get people to come to their site?

Why, by having *huge* stocks of *really really really good*

If they put down any application because it is a bloat monster - do you
think this will increase their site's uniques? No, of course not. Their
whole agenda is to always sound "very positive", very complimentary,
they want you to enter their site with a smile on your face and leave it
that way as well. That is very important to them. No negative vibes
please. You don't make money by putting bad products down. You might be
telling the truth, but telling the truth is not part of this issue at

*For software reviewers rarely, if ever, tell the truth.*

That is an important lesson: *They almost never tell the truth.*

The odds are, as well, that whoever "reviewed" this "product" didn't
even run it. None of these jerks are very "industrious". They certainly
do not work when they can get away without working at all. And very
important rule here: *reviewers today rarely "open the box"*.

That means that they rarely - if ever - try out the applications they
are going to review. They merely "read the back cover". They see what
the application is *supposed* to do, that's all.

There is no way in heaven that any Windows machine could survive the
onslaught of all these pathetic Delphi and Visual Basic and other bloat
apps. The likelihood that a system would even run properly the first day
after such extensive testing was ever done is infinitesimal at best. A
reviewer who dedicated a single work day to testing applications
available on the Internet would have an inoperable computer by midnight.

And most of these reviewers have little machines in little cubby holes
in funny office landscapes and no one really watches what they do, only
what they write. And no one really cares either. Once in a great while
one of them will actually happen upon something that is in fact rather
good, and they will pass the program around, and most likely find a
crack for it by day's end.

But in the vast majority of all cases, the scenario is rather simple: an
office monkey is given the task of reviewing a product. Either at the
office or on the ubiquitous laptop, which is even worse. And said monkey
does not want to ruin what took him years to set up properly: his
operating system and system configuration. So he will "wing it", "ad lib
it", he will "write a story". And he will do this not only because it
safeguards his system from almost certain mishap - but even more
importantly: *because it saves time!*


I think we both agree that people one way or another have to come to
understand that of all the reviews and all the reviewers out there,
there is hardly a single good one anywhere. As with medicine (or
chemistry), there is really no way of knowing what is really going on
unless you are one of the experts too. Neither you nor I would be able
to pick out a good Van Gogh fake, for example - but a real painter
would. Neither you nor I can normally know - ceteris paribus of course
- if a particular medical diagnosis is "spot on" or complete bullshit.
We cannot know. We don't have the credentials to even begin to question.

The same goes for software development. The industry - through the
auspices of the Internet - continues to spew out more and more shite on
us all, and for the vast majority of people, there is simply no way of

Thanks again for your letter and all the best,


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