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Summary:

A few weeks ago I mentioned my reservations about Xslimmer, which I got for free from the MacAppADay promotion. Several people chimed-in with the same fears, so I definitely was not alone in my paranoia. But I backed my system up, launched Xslimmer, and dove in […]

A few weeks ago I mentioned my reservations about Xslimmer, which I got for free from the MacAppADay promotion. Several people chimed-in with the same fears, so I definitely was not alone in my paranoia. But I backed my system up, launched Xslimmer, and dove in head first.

I went through just about all of my Applications folder (with a few exceptions) and slimmed down a ton. A feature I’d request would be to see a log of those things I’ve slimmed, as well as MB totals (something like TextExpander that shows you how much time you’ve saved, for instance). Anyhow, It saved me around 100mb. Not HUGE, but a nice chunk, and larger than I expected.

An immediate observation was that upon launching Firefox, it was a lot snappier. Loaded up quickly, and launched several tabs much faster than it had pre-Xslimmer. So the light bulb went on…I put Photoshop CS3 in Xslimmer, and it previewed a nearly 50% slim-down – about 140mb. The final count was a 100mb slim-down. Launching Photoshop CS3 before Xslimmer clocked-in at around 6-8 seconds on my 2ghz/2gb MacBook. A huge improvement over the non-Universal CS2. After being run through Xslimmer, Photoshop CS3 now opens in 3 seconds flat. Sweeeeet.

So I guess you could say, I’m now sold on Xslimmer. Speeding a Photoshop launch to 3 seconds totally put me over the top.

EDIT: Stian had a good point in the comments. I re-opened PS CS3 without rebooting, which used OS X’s cache which made it appear to launch quicker. Though even after rebooting, It still fell to a solid 5 second launch time vs the previous 6-8 seconds. Any improvement is good with me!

  1. Did you reboot between the tests? From 6-8 to 3 seconds on photoshop sounds a bit too wild, more like cached in RAM if you ask me.

    OS X (like most modern OSes) caches recently opened files in RAM, this gives you faster response on files you’re working on.

    To do this test properly:
    1. Start and time program.
    2. Run Xslimmer.
    3. Empty cache (reboot).
    4. Start and time program again.

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  2. good point Stian – I’ve pointed this out in an edit to the post.

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  3. That’s absolutely right. On my Macbook (also 2 x 2.0 GHz, 2 GB) it takes a disgusting 28 seconds to launch PS CS3 from first click to usable program the first time after a reboot, and three seconds the second time.

    This will probably vary depending on what fonts you have installed and how much free RAM you have on second launch.

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  4. Jeff – wow, 28 seconds? Sounds more like CS2 launch times. (ok, that’s a bit generous) I wonder if there’s any correlation between items that start upon logging on that may be slowing it down additionally for you.

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  5. I thought you’d find Xslimmer to be a mostly harmless and overall worthwhile utility, Nick.

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  6. Y’know… you can do the same thing with Monolingual, which is free.

    http://monolingual.sourceforge.net/

    Go to the “Architectures” tab, uncheck all PPC (or Intel, if you’re on a PPC mac) and then Remove.

    - B

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  7. 1 second! Wow! Unbelievable! Incredible! Amazing! Unreal! You are kidding us! What a productivity gain! Get real! Stupendous! Out of this world!

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  8. I just remembered… if you do use Monolingual, make sure you read the Monolingual webpage first, with their note about not stripping the System frameworks – because otherwise you break Rosetta.

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  9. Monolingual does not allow you to select the applications you want to slim. If you are not careful, it lets you remove essential files in your system rendering it unusable (Rosetta can be destroyed, for example). It requires the user to select from a confusing list what architectures should be preserved, making it possible to slim the Intel code in an Intel machine. It uses a static blacklist of troublesome applications, instead of a dynamic downloadable one. It does not perform backups.

    All these issues are solved in Xslimmer. Xslimmer is easier to use, more informative and clearer. It is also smart enough to detect the architecture it is running on and act accordingly. It provides you with detailed information about what applications can be slimmed, how much space will you save, or if an application is known to cause problems after being slimmed down. Xslimmer is not yet able to remove unused language files, but this feature is being developed currently.

    From my standpoint Monolingual is a GUI on top of a low-level tool meant for administrators, whereas Xslimmer is intended for all types of users. If you are looking for a pleasing, reliable and user-friendly way to save some space, use Xslimmer. If you know what you are doing, Monolingual can do the job for you.

    And, by the way, the newest version of Xslimmer does include a log of the files you have slimmed.

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  10. I’m pretty confused, how does slimming apps make them launch faster? It’s pretty trivial for the OS (and, later, dyld) to figure out which architecture you want – the Mach-O header specifies where the data for each architecture lives. So removing one of the architectures really shouldn’t make any difference in speed.

    Are you sure it’s not just psychological?

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