Inside SWT

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's the end of an era

Here is Zoomin.exe, a pixel magnifier, running on Vista:

Microsoft finally broke this program. It runs, but no longer sees the screen and only magnifies itself. If you look closely, you'll see it's a 16-bit Windows 3.0 program. Microsoft shipped it as part of the Windows SDK circa 1990.

Do I care that it's broken? Nope, only cavemen (and possibly Voyager) are running applications this old. There are many, many, more and better programs like this around, but I kind of got a kick out of running this one. It's only 7K. No DLL's, resource or config files, yet it has an icon . It really is just a 7K EXE.

In my youth, I once built a Digitalk Smalltalk/V program that did the same thing. I used the tools of the day to throw out almost everything and managed to create something that was 37K. Of course, it needed the VM DLL's, but they were tiny too. I remember being mad when I figured out the Smalltalk VM was taking 256K at runtime (probably for the garbage collector old and new spaces).

For me, Zoomin.exe was kind of a test that Microsoft passed, year after year. The program is 17 years old and is only now broken. Imagine trying the same thing with a Linux distribution.

It was also a reminder. GUI programs could be tiny. Oh computing world, where did we bloat out and go wrong? I guess I'll have to get my kicks some other way.

Finally, this is the sort of backwards compatibility that we aim to achieve with SWT, despite the fact we run on Linux!



  • Actually someone just showed me zoomin working on their Vista box. Its not quite how it used to work, you have to zoom zoomin first, but then as you travel outside of the zoomin window it does zoom the desktop etc.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:51 PM  

  • This sort of backwards compatibility causes Windows to suck.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:54 PM  

  • Tim: Are you running the 7K executable from 1990? I was and (sadly) it's broken in the way I describe.

    By Blogger Steve, at 3:47 AM  

  • Anonymous: They all suck in their own special way.

    By Blogger Steve, at 3:49 AM  

  • Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
    Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:57 PM  

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