In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto came up with the 80:20 rule to describe the distribution of wealth in society, astutely noting that 80 per cent of the wealth was held by only 20 per cent of the people.
The 80:20 rule could, however, also be applied to software with, with 80 per cent of us using just 20 per cent of the features in an application. Gartner Research Director Mark Margevicius notes that users suffer from "feature-itis" rather than "feature-phobia", probably caused by convergence and the urge marketers feel to add one more bullet point to their feature lists.
But having the latest version of Word or (Write for that matter) packed with a plethora of new features won't make you type faster or better. A cleaner interface is often more appealing than an endless list of features that most of us won't use anyway.
Like me, you have probably noticed that there is currently a backlash against bloated software. Mozilla - as a suite - has been split into several components to reduce complexity. Microsoft Office has undergone a slightly less drastic but welcomed change with the forthcoming ribbons.
Having a long feature list is not actually that useful if you don’t use most of what is on offer. Google originally had one core feature – searching for data – and it is still the best at it.
Open source does not have the monopoly when it comes to the best software out there, nor does commercial and proprietary software (CPS). What piece of software you choose ultimately depends on what you intend to do with it.
You can read about the ten other myths of commercial and proprietary software here.