Can a Bare Essentials Mountain Lion be made?

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by RAMtheSSD, Jun 3, 2013.

  1. RAMtheSSD macrumors member


    Mar 23, 2013
    High on a Mountain Looking for Wisdom
    So I was thinking that there are a lot of things in OS X that I will never use and there are striped down versions of 10.5 out in the wild so I was thinking, more as a matter of feasibility, does anyone know how one would go about stripping down ML to the barest essentials? What would you remove beyond photo booth etc? I wouldn't mind if I was down to a bare gui with a terminal window :)

    In the windoze world there are programs readily available to create striped down versions of even the latest windows 8; does anyone know of any such programs for OS X?

    I am not necessarily out for better performance and I have plenty of ram but I think it would be interesting to see what could be done in ML with the goal being a reasonably functional (XBMC, Firefox, MS OFFICE, iWork, Mail, Calendar, Notes, Preview, reminders -with or without notification center-, Disk Utility, and terminal -activity monitor would be nice) OS X which, when fully installed, used more or less 10 gb of storage space.

    I find reminders and Notes very useful in terms of my iPhone otherwise, those two would also be gone.

    So, any ideas?
  2. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    You will find that the applications within OS X are mostly very small in size, because they rely on frameworks built-in to the OS. TextEdit is just a app that uses NSTextView. It's 10Mb. Notes is 8Mb.

    Most of the other bundled apps are in the order of tens of Megabytes. The whole Utilities folder is a little more than 500 Mb.

    You're not going to save much space, particularly if you want iWork and Office, which are going to be huge by comparison. EACH of the iWork apps is over 600Mb.

    As for removing system frameworks and components: therein lies trouble and madness. You will almost certainly break something and cause kernel panics or applications quitting unexpectedly.

    Next: you will not improve the performance of OS X by removing stuff. If it's needed, it gets loaded into memory. If it isn't, it doesn't.

    The question was asked on the forum recently of how much space does OS X take up. It's very little -- something like 11GB, IIRC.
  3. ScottishCaptain macrumors 6502a

    Oct 4, 2008
    I find it absolutely hilarious that 11GB is considered "little" by todays standards.

    BeOS, OS/2 Warp, heck- even Windows XP used to fit on a CD image. You might take up 500mb installed (the entire utility folder of OS X as you say). Even Haiku OS today is about 250mb installed, and I've worked with Windows XP Embedded images that were just over 120mb installed (and that came with everything you needed to run and "use" XP- just without the legacy cruft).

    As for what the op is asking...

    A stripped down version of OS X might be possible (the bootable install system uses one such installation). To my knowledge, nobody apart from Apple seems to have the knowledge or capability of creating one. I'm guessing that if it were possible, it would involve installing OS X from the distribution packages manually by hand using the Terminal included in the installer image. This would be neither simple nor trivial.

    As you can tell, I haven't looked into this, and I don't think anyone else has. All I know is that OS X is distributed as a series of *.pkg files, technically they're *all* installed by the standard graphical installer but it might be possible to selectively install only what you want instead. Who knows what the side effects of this might be though.

  4. JohnDoe98 macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2009
    I wish Apple would treat the system like it does printer drivers. When you download OS X from the App store it should be a bare essentials install, as the OP asks for, then as you need frameworks and other features, it should download it and then use them (i.e. load it into memory). Kinda like with Xcode. Sure having it on the disk doesn't really impact performance, but its rather a matter of principle, why should I have a bunch of crap installed that I never use?

    My proposal would make the downloads from the App store and the installation process faster. And before people complain but that'll take a long time, it doesn't take any longer than it currently does. Right now you download all those apps/drivers anyway, my proposal just postpones that for the future.
  5. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    You're not going to save much space and you're asking for issues when you go to install OS X updates.

    The updates expect all the default stuff to be there. Note that iPhoto/iMovie/GarageBand are not part of the OS X distribution, they just happen to come on every Mac.

    I don't use those 3 apps, so after i got my iMac I did a clean reinstall and just didn't install them. This is the biggest savings of disk space you can get on a fresh install.
  6. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Because that would make for a sucky user experience.

    Assuming that you don't use some bit of most of the frameworks most of the time (in which case they would be even less point), then every time you did access a new framework, you would have to wait a minute or two:
    "Installing OS framework..... Please wait".

    To say nothing of the unnecessary added overhead of a manager that checks what APIs an application is using, whether they are installed, etc, etc.
    Disk space is cheap. Bandwidth, for the most part, is not.

    A printer is not something you install every day, and most people only use one at a time, so it makes sense to download drivers when needed.

    The first OS I ever used was on a 16Kb ROM. It had 32Kb RAM, a 1MHz 6502 CPU. The spec of a modern computer is several orders of magnitude larger. This is progress.
  7. JohnDoe98 macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2009
    No, only the first time you used it. Which you wait for anyway when you download and install the current OS, so its the same, just split up a little bit.

    This can be included within the apps themselves.

    Exactly, so instead of downloading everything from the beginning, you only download what you need, i.e. you use less bandwidth.

    A framework is not something you'd install every day either. It would be installed once.
  8. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    There seems little point is arguing about something entirely fanciful, but you missed the point:
    Yes, every time you FIRST used one of the frameworks, there would be a pause while the installer downloaded the framework.
    This is when you're trying to do something with your computer, not when you've set aside time for installing.
    It would be an appalling user experience, and it will never happen.

    And each app having its own routine for checking whether its own APIs are currently installed in the system? Madness.
  9. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    The odds are you'd need most of the frameworks for every day use. Also having the frameworks be separate downloads would make a nightmare for OS X updates.

    What you're suggesting would need Apple to do a lot more testing for each OS release. And cause more user issues. And what if a user isn't connected to the net and needed a framework for the first time?

    Your suggestion is just bad in my opinion.
  10. subsonix macrumors 68040

    Feb 2, 2008
    And so would Mac OS 9, but you wouldn't want to run that as your main OS now would you?

    As time move forward and capabilities improve, so does people's expectations of the systems.
  11. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Sailing beyond the sunset
    Only one: try it, see what happens.

    Buy an external disk, or even a suitably sized USB flash drive. Erase the disk with the GUID partition scheme. Clone your system to it (SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner). Delete things you don't want. Install things you want. Try starting from it. If the startup fails, erase the disk and start again. Repeat until success is achieved or interest wanes.

    Trying it yourself is really the only way you're going to discover what can be eliminated and what can't. If you couldn't find an instant solution by googling, then I guess you're off on a voyage of discovery and adventure.

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