In 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 scrambling to figure out how exactly Apple was going to be dropping that much heft from their mainline apps. An especially big loser was Mail, down to 91 MB from 287 MB.
Speculation has been running wild that this was an indication that this dramatic weightloss is an indication that Apple is looking toward minikernel type operating systems and the types of platforms that this would indicate – mainly leading to more ‘real OS X on the iPhone’ discussions. Others have speculated that the weight reduction is due more to the loss of the PPC code in 10.6, or the switch from language (.lproj) files in each app to a system-wide localization database.
While there’s no denying that the loss of size is dramatic, it’s actually less of a reduction than I can get by running running XSlimmer – to use Mail as an example, the xslimmed Mail weighs in at a svelte 24.7 MB – significantly lighter even than the version shipping with Snow Leopard. This, I’d think, very much argues that the size reductions can be entirely explained by loss of the PPC code and the language files. In fact, the extra 70 MB might even be new features – hey, we can hope, right?