why do software nowadays take so much more memory and processing power?

Back then, when I was a kid, I got a computer with MS-DOS that could run Windows 95. The machine only got 800 MB of Hard Disk. I don’t know how much RAM it got - in fact, I didn’t even know what a RAM is, but it was enough to run games like Doom, Sim City 2000, Red Alert, etc. All the pixel good old days. All the regular works such as typing documents, etc. could be carried out as expected.

Fast forward a bit, I got a new computer with Pentium 2 with GeForce 2. Amount of RAM for this machine should be lower than 128 MB, but I couldn’t recall the number exactly. We now have Hard Disk in Gigabytes. This meant I could install more games into the machine at once. To create more space in the old PC, I usually deleted some random files that I didn’t understand why they were there, especially the ones from C:/Window (or was it C:/Program Files…?) I am not sure, but I am pretty sure that’s why the machine became haywire and that’s why I got a new replacement. Another thing I was happy with is that Red Alert now ran so fast on fastest speed that I couldn’t keep up with the AI. It was like …90 fps…?

Fast Forward a bit more, I got a new computer again. This time, Windows XP with RAM of 128 MB and even more Hard Disk space. And I was even happier with Red Alert. One minute on Red Alert’s timer was like 1-2 seconds in real life.

Fast Forward some more, Windows Vista…very sluggish and literally unusable even with 1 GB RAM…

Fast Forward again, Windows 7 was…ok only if you have at least 3 GB RAM.

Today, I got Windows 10 with 16 GB RAM. (Tried 8 GB and it seems not enough for my tasks)

Anyway, while CPU, RAM and all the computer specs grow as expected, there is one thing that I wondered: the newer software that we have nowaday - why do they take so much more memory and processing power? Back then, games and all the software run in low-res compared to today and they were running on a few hundred MHz CPU and taking like only a few Megabytes in RAM. But I never recall them stuttering or sluggish like in cough Vista.

Microsoft Office 95 requires roughly 200 MB while Office 2019 requires 4 GB. If this is a video game which has more hi-res textures, audio files and such, I understand the bigger size, but if the software is just codes and some icons for the apps, then how come things exploded to gigabytes?

What happened along the way on the software side? Ubuntu 7.10 a decade ago requires only 384MB RAM while nowaday Ubuntu Desktop 20.04 recommends 4 GB RAM. Yet the Ubuntu Server 20.04’s minimum RAM requirement is only 512 MB. Do they fill Desktop Edition with that much bloatware or services? If they are to add a new service or such, do they really need to use that many gigabytes? How come back then a decade ago, everything is just fine with a few hundreds MB?

Sorry for the long post, but like, why do software nowadays take so much more memory and processing power?

PS. This is why I like DietPi. Very minimal. :slight_smile: