Shovelware

Shovelware is a derogatory computer jargon term that refers to software noted more for the quantity of what is included than for the quality or usefulness. The term is also used to refer to software that is ported from one computer platform or storage medium to another with little thought given to adapting it for use on the destination platform or medium, resulting in poor quality. The metaphor implies that the creators showed little care for the original software, as if the new compilation or version had been indiscriminately created / ported with a shovel, without any care shown for the condition of the software on the newly created product. The term ‘shovelware’ is coined with semantic analogy to phrases like shareware and freeware, which describe methods of software distribution.

Shovelware was often used to refer to conversions in the manner floppy disc collections were aggregated onto CD-ROMs. Today there is potential for similar shovelware in converting PC websites into mobile websites with little thought to optimizing for the new platform or the conversion of console games to PC games. The practice of shovelware has largely decreased due to the wide availability of high speed networking and software downloading and the limited capacity of removable media in modern computers compared to the growing massive file sizes of newer software packages. It continues in some cases with bundled or pre-installed software, where many extra programs of dubious quality and usefulness are included with a piece of hardware, often called derisively ‘crapware.’

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