Chancellor George Osborne says he is 'totally hacked off' with web and software-based systems that use progress bars to show how far along a particular process is. He claims that millions of hours of productivity are being lost from British industry because of progress bars that reach the end and then start at the beginning again.
"When my team is putting a budget together, the last thing we need is software that takes five minutes drawing a throbbing green bar across the screen, and when it gets to the end and you think it is nearly finished, it just repeats the whole thing again. Either that, or it goes off the end of the scale and carries on drawing the green bar over the top of other information. I mean, what's the bloody point?"
Others have backed up the Chancellor's views. Prince Charles has claimed that progress bars are 'the devil's own device to stop one from getting a cup of tea during a download', and David Cameron has claimed that irresponsible use of progress bars is a threat to the civilized world, tantamount to terrorism. "We cannot stand idly by while subversive software designers literally steal time from the hardworking British public. We have a right to expect progress bars that are accurate and informative."
The government is thought to be planning an addendum to existing Computer Fraud and Abuse legislation which will make the inclusion of misleading progress bars in systems a criminal act. And in a recent poll, 87% of the public said that software which takes more than twenty minutes after claiming it will 'only take a few moments' should incur the death penalty.
Microsoft and other software vendors have said they will answer the allegations in full, very soon. If people can just be patient and hold on a few moments. Very, very soon now.