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Mysterious English lass Verity Stob - author of 8086 and all that, the funniest history of computing ever-written - has spoken to The Register about her new and highly acclaimed cruftiness metric published at Doctor Dobbs- and her hopes of it becoming official recognized as an IETF RFC.

The metric guages of the cruftiness of your computer, on a sliding scale beginning with Cruft Force 0 ("New"), via Cruft Force 4 ("Lived In") to Cruft Force 10 ("Expiry"), and the good folks at Slashdot gave it coverage on Monday.

It's extremely well-observed, and so close the to the authentic Windows User Experience that Apple should license it to replace the much-parodied "Twitchers" campaign.

For example, Cruft Force 9 ("Putrefaction") can be discerned thus:- "Starting Control Panel shows rolling torch animation. The applet icons never appear."

Ms. Stob points out that this first version is specifically geared to Windows PCs, but we'd like to make the Cruftiness Metric an open standard: and solicit your input on Cruft Factors for other operating systems.

Via email, a breathless Verity told us, of her excitement that the VSCM (Verity Stobbs Cruft Metric) be formally recognized one day:-

"We are indeed *very* excited here at Laboratoires Stob," she told us.

"Cruftitude has long been the Cinderella of Computer Science - even missing out on a Millennium Lottery Grant. It's good to see that the movers and thinkers of the world are finally taking us seriously, and it is in a very real sense a tribute to our founder, Sir Roderick Cruft (1922 - 1998), whose brilliant observation that computers tend to fill up with useless fragments of long-deleted Visual Basic programs inspires us to this day," she added.

However we would like your input. A community effort is required to produce MacOS, POSIX-compliant versions, and touch wood, versions for PalmOS, phones and even VAXes too.

Please send your ported VSCM submissions, remembering to include entries for all gradients of Cruftiness on the platform of your choice, and a thank-you to DDJ (which owns the rights) to me at the address above. With the help of the community, the VSCM should become an RFC. ®

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Stob Cruftiness Metric

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