Daniel Eran Dilger
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Solving the mystery of Snow Leopard’s shrinking apps


In response to a report earlier this week pointing out that many of the applications in early builds of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard are dramatically smaller in size, a number of developers have weighed in to explain where all those missing megabytes went.

One reader noted that the extra heft in Leopard’s apps does indeed come from localization files, which are used to distill all of the text strings and other variables that differ between languages. Depending on the language preference set by the user, the operating system accesses the desired language files and uses them in conjunction with the common application code to simplify developers’ work to deploy their apps to worldwide markets.

Continues: Solving the mystery of Snow Leopard’s shrinking apps


1 Grayfox { 06.30.08 at 11:16 am }

This article is interesting, but plainly wrong about the fact that Apple uses compression for xml files (and other ressources). They are just using a binary serialization instead of the XML one for property lists (preferences, serialized nib, etc), but files are not compressed at all.

2 cheezr { 06.30.08 at 10:28 pm }

i would be much more interested to know if apple intends to do any serious bug fixing in 10.6
10.5 has, in my opinion, been 2 steps back in quality from tiger. even now with 10.5.4 no fixes to the list of annoying finder bugs including the single message queue in the GUI which hangs leaving you with a running computer which you can not communicate with (my pet peeve as even M$ fixed in XP SP2).
As apple development spreads itself more thinly, quality has definitely gone down and why are there bugs in leopard that were fixed in tiger? maybe apple should try a new config mgt system with 10.6 as well?


3 40cozy.com { 07.01.08 at 12:17 am }

umm… wouldn’t a big part of this be because they’re no longer supporting non-intel for the snow leopard apps? Those universal binaries take up more room than just the intel compiles. Maybe I’m missing something here though.

4 fatbarstard { 07.01.08 at 2:35 am }

Its all down to the localisation strings. I ran Leopard Cache Cleaner today and the file sizes before and after match most of those on the graph shown on this post – I got back just over 4GB of space on my drive!

One things I did notice is that when I had finished getting rid of the foreign language stuff from my applications my memory performance shot up.

Previously I was always running out of memory – I have a MBP with 2GB of RAM (the max for my model) and I was always running out of physical RAM – and I don’t care what anyone says the Inactive RAM is not always available to other applications.

But now I have plenty of free RAM available, even when running memory hogs like MS Word… can’t say what application it was or which language localisation was the culprit but something in there was causing my machine to really slow down…

5 Chandana { 07.01.08 at 7:09 am }

As I have done it with Leopard, there are few good application to do this app shrinking in Leopard already. As I have mentioned in AppleInsider.

I have actually save few GBs on my app volume whenever I do a clean installation of mac os X and then running one of these tools.

So Apple may have done some good housekeeping to do this much needed clean up with Snow Leopard, will otherwise the same leopard code at the app level. Basic Mac OS X core may not need another revise for another couple of years I guess.

6 Slimmer Snow Leopard? | The Apple Blog { 07.01.08 at 8:00 am }

[…] the wake of reports from TUAW and RoughlyDrafted.com that 10.6, also known as Snow Leopard, would be the smallest Apple OS in years, many have been […]

7 seltzdesign { 07.19.08 at 10:42 am }

I am surprised that no one has mentioned a program called Xslimmer yet.

It works on Leopard and shrinks apps by removing PowerPc code (im running an intel mac) and language files that i dont use (ie everything except english).

It works on most applications, even the non-apple ones and has similar results.

Have they just bought out their technology?? It seems almost too easy though..

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