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Does size matter?

opensussex profile image gholden ・2 min read

I've been toying around with some development recently. I like to look at different languages, and I like to make a decision on the language based on what the project I might be building.

As such I was looking at 4 languages. C, C#, Go and Vala.

For this test I wanted to see the size of a simple "Hello, World!" program. This would just publish "Hello, World" out onto the console.

I was curious about the size of the binary file once compiled.

  • C = 8.6Kb
  • Vala = 9.43Kb
  • Go = 1.9Mb
  • C# = 35.6Mb
  • ASM = 920Bytes**

*Edit - none of the above have been optimised with their compilers - so these are default compilation to binary - I am sure they can be squeezed a bit more.

**Edit - After discussion on the size of the C binary, I thought it would be interesting to see what ASM would be... and it's tiny. So a lot of the C stuff is due to the stdio.h and redundant for actually printing text to the console.

Now, this isn't really fair, as C# was never really intended to run as a single binary - it just so happens now you can. But I was staggered at the size difference.

Also, Go is pretty bloaty.

Vala makes sense, as it essentially transpiles to C++ before final compilation.

And C - is super tiny.

So - what does this all mean? Does size really matter? Well that entirely depends on what you're trying to do. Embedded services, or running on a low tech bit of kit, then optimisation and size will matter.

The ease of development also matter. C can be pretty mind mending, having to think about garbage collection, and the finer detail of relatively low level stuff.

Go is a relatively simple language, and can be pretty quick to develop in.

Vala is getting closer to C# as syntax goes and are both competent OOP languages.

I'm not going to say which is best, as there is no winner. I was just curious about the outcome.

Posted on by:

opensussex profile

gholden

@opensussex

I'm a programmer that's interested in trying to keep things simple.

Discussion

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I'm looking at that and thinking 8KB is way too much.

 

ok, been playing with GCC and have reduced it down a bit... by using the -s flag. So you're right, it can be reduced. (got it down to 6Kb)

 

I'd love to see a way to get it smaller!

 

I just tried it using naive gcc which gave me 17KB and strip got it down to 14KB. I guess that's because of stdio but it's been so long since I wrote any C that I can't remember how it all fits together.

I wasn't particularly talking about C, though. I mean that using BIOS screen printing calls you can do it in a handful of bytes in asm, so I'm thinking that of that 8KB, 7.9KB is junk.

interesting you got 14KB - what os you compiling on?

I guess my next task, is to try it in pure ASM and see what the size is....

I'm on mint - I wouldn't have expected a difference in file size really.

In asm - works out to be 920Bytes.