You even have to watch out for your placeholder bitmaps

During the betas of Windows Vista, the final set of sample logon pictures had yet to be determined, so a bunch of placeholder bitmaps were created. These placeholders consisted of the letters FPO in a box. FPO is a standard term in desktop publishing; it stands for For Position Only. In order to permit designers to perform page layout before final images are ready, a For Position Only image with the correct size and shape (but dummy contents) is used. I learned it as For Placement Only, but the meaning is the same.

We received a bug report from a beta tester in Austria who was surprised to see what appeared at first glance to be the name of the FPÖ political party as several of the logon picture options. Was Microsoft taking sides in the political affairs of Austria? No, it was just a coincidence.

I suspect the designers learned their lesson: Don't use publishing jargon in bitmaps, even if it seems harmless.

Comments (19)
  1. OMFG says:

    … and I suppose "lorem ipsum" is a political party in Czechoslovakia somewhere?

    I suppose if you just put a big "X" in the bitmaps you’d be "supporting" some country with a flag like that.

    I think assigning any weight or significance to this "bug" report is rather idiotic. Hopefully somebody was intelligent enough that it was closed as "not a bug"

  2. Ianceicys says:

    Open uxtheme.dll with your favorite Resource Editor (VS has one built-in) and open Bitmap #151

    Is this a warning about what happens when you change themes or what?

    Crazy things you find in windows.

    Ian Ceicys

    [Thank you for staying on topic. Oh, wait, you didn’t! -Raymond]
  3. JoelDillon says:

    Actually, Scotland’s flag is a big X…

  4. dave says:

    So did they replace it with one that said "dummy"?  That at least has a sensible meaning that’s more or less in common usage, even if it’s not the first one the user would think of.

  5. John says:

    Political correctness is running amok.  No matter what you do, there is always going to be some idiot out there who will manage to find a way to be offended by it.

  6. Paul says:

    User: ‘who are you calling a dummy!’

  7. A_Me! says:

    Even the letter X is suspect.  I am reminded of a recent news story about "a black X" appearing over the head of a political candidate during a televised speech.  Was the television studio passing judgment on the politician by crossing them out?  

    It turned that the film editing software displayed this X in the center of a box where film media was to be merged, and the editors had accidentally left it in for few frames.

  8. Jolyon Smith says:

    By "dummy" do you mean "pacifier" ?


  9. josh says:

    I’ve had testers complain about art that consisted mainly of the word "placeholder"

  10. Xepol says:

    You can’t please all the idiots in the world, you can only hope to identify them as they step foward.

  11. Mr Cranky says:

    Those who live in fear of offending anyone, anywhere, will eventually stop doing anything at all.

    Austria has a well-known town named "F**king".  I bet that annoys a few people, and what have they done about it?

  12. Dan says:

    I bet placeholder art gets filed as bugs no matter what caption you place on it.  "The header is solid white, is it supposed to be like that?"  "You copied this header from the "Placeholder" product and forgot to change the name!!!"

  13. Worf says:

    Worse yet is when placeholder graphics make it to production because no one had time to do proper ones, and the placeholders were "good enough".

    Somewhere out there is a Windows CE device that boots up with graphics Mr. No-artistic-skill-at-all (i.e. me) conjured up in 5 minutes with Paint!

  14. MS says:

    "Austria has a well-known town named "F**king".  I bet that annoys a few people, and what have they done about it?"

    The town’s sign is frequently stolen, and the city talked about renaming to avoid it, but nothing ever came of it.  Still, their sign budget is much larger than it should be.  I wonder if Intercourse, PA has the same problem.

    FPO seems like a bad party to endorse too, they’re rigidly isolationist and anti-EU.

    At some point we’ll have to abandon all placeholder text and replace it with something like Simlish (from the Sims).  Lorem ipsum, you say?  Scandalus, replace it.

  15. GreaseMonkey says:

    How about "Windows Testing Facilities"?

  16. Rovert Prohaska says:

    How about ‘Contoso’ or ‘Duwamish’ or ‘Northwind’ or ‘Fitch & Mather’ or ‘IBuySpy’ or…

  17. Tom (CZE) says:


    OT: You sure do not know that Czechoslovakia does not exists for 14 years… :-|

  18. StewartT says:

    I imagine that brest in France has the same problem as F**king too

  19. MS says:

    "I imagine that brest in France has the same problem as F**king too"

    Actually, I think France is bad enough off with the Paris Hilton.

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