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Angry fruit salad is a term used in information technology to refer to excessive color in display interfaces. With angry fruit salad, loud and bright colors can diminish the utility of a display, or distract the user.
In many ways, angry fruit salad is a kind of retro IT term.
In relatively primitive versions of display technologies that pre-dated modern Windows-based displays, it was often applied to command-line interfaces where developers or others used glaring or clashing combinations of colors against a black or dark colored screen. In the days before 256-color graphics and increasingly modern designs, a command-line interface may have featured bright red, green, bright yellow, cyan and/or lavender characters against a black or dark blue screen.
This mishmash of colors used for coding, comments or any other types of text or ASCII characters could cause confusion and headaches for those looking at the displays.
In today's Windows-based software environments, color schemes are often laid out 'from the top’ using elements like cascading style sheets (CSS) or other color schemas.
This has made 'angry fruit salad’ largely an obsolete term, although you could still use it for displays featuring a lot of different bright colors that may seem to clash together.
For instance, some have used this term to describe the new Windows 8 operating system desktop, where many different basic software installations are represented by various bright red, orange, yellow, green and blue boxes that can seem cluttered or distracting.