Is 30MB bloatware?

The other day, a friend passed along some uncomplimentary feedback about my word-counting program for Windows, Count Anything.

The fact that some people don't like the program doesn't bother me — there are many word-counting programs out there, some of which are also free. I wrote mine because I had a few specific needs with my word counts, and if some other people can find it useful, I'm satisfied.

But one part of the criticism did catch my eye:

… and for what it does I think it's a prime example of bloatware (over 32MB as opposed to under 250KB for some of the others mentioned below).

Is 30 MB or so really a burdensome size? The installer itself is just under 9 MB, and I had thought that with today's disk sizes, most people wouldn't bat an eyelash at 30 MB.

More than half of the installed footprint is due to the fact that the program includes several needed libraries (Python and wxPython), on the assumption that most users won't have these installed.

I could release a source-code version for people for whom 30 MB is too large. I don't have anything against releasing the source; it just hasn't seemed worth the effort, since until now nobody has mentioned a desire to have it.

9 comments to Is 30MB bloatware?

  • Your friend needs to take a chill pill. I consider anything over 100 MB bloatware (Microsoft). 30 MB is nothing. Don’t sweat it. If people think 30 MB is too large they can find some other program that doesn’t offer the features your program does.

  • Thanks for confirming that, Jill. It’s true that some people will complain no matter what you do, but I was wondering if my expectations where totally off base.

  • I’m afraid 30MB for word counting program is way, way too mutch. Compare it with unix’s “wc”:

    ls -al `which wc`
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 23112 2007-05-03 16:49 /usr/bin/wc

    23112 bytes… :)

  • @Tomas

    As far as I know, “wc” doesn’t count words in MS Office documents, XML files, HTML files, or CSV files. Plus it lacks a GUI.

  • If it’s such feature rich, it may be worth 30MB then… :)

  • @Tomas

    I’ll still allow the possibility that Count Anything could be too large, but I just think you need to compare like with like. Comparing it to a command-line utility that only works with plain text is apples and oranges in my opinion.

    Practicount is a similar program to Count Anything, so I tried installing it (the most basic version); it’s around 17 MB installed. It also has invoicing features, which Count Anything doesn’t. So I think that yes, Count Anything is on the heavy side.

    Nevertheless, if I was evaluating two programs, one being 17 MB and the other being 32 MB, I’d choose the one that best suited my needs. I don’t think that the size difference would influence me at all. But I guess it does matter to some people.

  • 9 MB with runtime is nothing compared to .NET Framework redistributable size (around 190 MB). However, I think there is place for the source distribution, so that Python people like myself could skip downloading the unnecessary runtime.

  • I don’t pay much attention to app sizes anymore. 30 MB does seem on the heavy side for something like this—Firefox is 45 MB on my hard drive. I suppose if I had to put up with low bandwidth caps (as is common in New Zealand and Australia, apparently), I would be more conscious of how big my downloads were.

  • Doug Durgee

    Putting the question aside for a second and looking at this from a programming perspective, I have a tendency to dislike big programs because they represent sloppy coding a lot of the time.

    That being said, as long as your program runs fast/isn’t a memory hog then I’m happy. I’m much more concerned about memory resources then HD space.

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