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Quicksilver: Clean Lean & Mean

Blacktree Inc (Nicholas Jitkoff)
Rating: (four burnt toasts)

PO Drawer B
Kingsville TX 78364
US
Box 202994
New Haven CT 06520
US


Collateral damage:
13.9 MB footprint for Finder/Spotlight replacement

Especially Maccies who do not like Unix and/or the new 'non-spatial' Finder love Quicksilver. It's a free app - with certain limitations - and it's purportedly a good replacement for both Finder and even Tiger's Spotlight.

The footprint is a considerable 13.9 MB but if one is effectively replacing Finder then perhaps that's not too much - or is it?

Quicksilver calls itself 'an evolving framework for accessing and manipulating many forms of personal data'. Its EULA is brief and as follows.


THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT OWNER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.



Quicksilver is beta software and should be treated as such. This version will expire three months after the initial release.


The DMG is 3250921 bytes. The expanded package contains 569 items for 13113906 or 28440 blocks (13.9 MB) with 161532 bytes in resource forks.

The DMG background is 107144 bytes, but it is a Photoshop CS JPEG with a thumbnail of 46573 bytes that's never used (it's a background picture only). The actual size of the JPEG displayed in the cutesy Finder folder is only 60571 bytes.

Behind the Curtain

Quicksilver.app/Contents contains the following.

% ls -F
Frameworks/          MacOS/           QSActions.plist        Resources/
Info.plist           PkgInfo          QSDefaults.plist       SharedSupport/
Library/             PlugIns/         QSRegistration.plist
%

The executable is 2060804 bytes. A simple Apple ADC operation reduces the size to 308748 or less than one fifth.

otool shows the following dependencies.


% otool -L Quicksilver
Quicksilver:
    @executable_path/../Frameworks/QSCore.framework
    @executable_path/../Frameworks/QSEffects.framework
    @executable_path/../Frameworks/QSFoundation.framework
    @executable_path/../Frameworks/QSInterface.framework
    /System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework
    /System/Library/Frameworks/Cocoa.framework
    /System/Library/Frameworks/ExceptionHandling.framework
    /System/Library/Frameworks/IOKit.framework
    /System/Library/Frameworks/QuartzCore.framework
    /System/Library/Frameworks/Security.framework
    /System/Library/Frameworks/SystemConfiguration.framework
    /System/Library/Frameworks/WebKit.framework
    /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/SystemUIPlugin.framework
    /usr/lib/libmx.A.dylib
    /usr/lib/libSystem.B.dylib
%

The application has four frameworks of its own.

% ls -F
QSCore.framework/              QSFoundation.framework/
QSEffects.framework/           QSInterface.framework/
%

With Tiger it has its own 'Automator Library'. There are four plugins provided.

Credits.rtf mentions the following people: Kevin Ballard, Yann Bizeul, Ethan Bold, Eric Casadei, Jackie Chappell, James Cox, Wincent Colaiuta, Nathan Day, Brian Donovan, Steve Gehrman, Nik Gervae, Nicholas Jitkoff, Uli Kusterer, Brent Lew, Stéphane Madrau, Cédric Menard, Chris Messina, Allan Odgaard, David Remahl.

The package contains a 'donate' NIB and text is found which explains that any monies received will be sent to a charity of one's own choosing.

The package would also seem to have been 'localised' into the following languages: Danish, German, English, Spanish, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Portugese, Swedish, Mainland Chinese, Taiwan Chinese.

Quicksilver.action is an embedded Cocoa application with an executable of 175072 bytes. The same Apple ADC op will bring this file down to its real size of 13232 bytes.

Get Quicksilver Selection.action is another embedded Cocoa app. Its executable is only 13860 bytes, but Apple's ADC insists the real size should be 13160 bytes.

Similar operations, when performed on the remaining four embedded Cocoa applications, yield the following results.

App Before After
QSCore2976820 bytes509028 bytes
QSEffects509392 bytes74568 bytes
QSFoundation2320640 bytes363492 bytes
QSInterface1474244 bytes302024 bytes

The Automator Library has embedded code as well. The Send to Quicksilver module is 175072 bytes but Apple ADC tools reduce it to 13232 bytes. The Get Quicksilver Selection module at 13860 bytes is still more than Apple will have it at 13160 bytes.

The four plugins also have to undergo an Apple liposuction.

Plugin Before After
Core Support1037800 bytes164364 bytes
Finder Module191736 bytes19376 bytes
HotKey Triggers189104 bytes18080 bytes
Primer Interface20224 bytes19524 bytes

There are 37 classes.nib files and 37 info.nib files. CommandBuilder.nib has the following contents.

% ls -l
total 24
-rw-r--r--  1     0  Apr 29 15:56  QuicksilverMenuNormal.tiff
-rw-r--r--  1     0  Apr 29 15:56  QuicksilverMenuPressed.tiff
-rw-r--r--  1  9953  Apr 29 15:56  keyedobjects.nib
%

Placeholder.strings

There is, contrary to appearances, no evidence of localisation. Instead empty language project directories are created each with a one-byte file called 'Placeholder.strings'. The one byte is a space character.

There are thirteen (13) such files in thirteen (13) otherwise empty and unused directories.

A localisation file 'Localizable.strings' is found with a resource fork. Two PNG images, 'QSIconActivatedBadge' and 'QSIconRunningBadge', are found to have resource forks. Their sizes with the resource forks are 70 KB each. Removing the resource forks no one using the application will ever see reduces the size of each file to 15 KB.

Bottom Line

After ridding this sloppy package of all things unnecessary the footprint is 296 items for 3279591 bytes or 7344 blocks (3.5 MB) with 0 (zero) bytes in resource forks.

10.4 MB (ten point four megabytes) of the download is pure junk. If you like Quicksilver and think it's the best thing since sliced bread (and Spotlight and Finder) and follow the steps outlined above and test the app again when you're done you'll find things work just as well as they did before and perhaps even a bit better - a bit more responsive.

At which point you'll have to ask yourself why your beta software developer is clogging the tubes of the Internet with four times the download - or over 10 MB for each download - neither you nor anyone else needs or can even use.

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