Software - How do they do it?

Discussion of non-phpBB related topics with other phpBB.com users.
Forum rules
General Discussion is a bonus forum for discussion of non-phpBB related topics with other phpBB.com users. All site rules apply.
Post Reply
User avatar
DarkGod
I've Been Banned!
Posts: 221
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:16 pm

Software - How do they do it?

Post by DarkGod »

I've been wondering this for a while now.

Let's consider a few small programs that range from 7 - 15 MB. Mozilla's software flagship is Firefox 3.0.x currently. It's just over 7 MB. Microsoft is competing with Mozilla's web browser with their upcoming Internet Explorer 8 (currently beta 2), and it's only 15 MB or so. It takes each of them such a long time to create their newest browsers, yet when it comes to Microsoft making a whole new OS (such as Vista), they spend approximately 7 years making it (I could be a little off). And now they're working on a new one (most likely a spin off to Vista) code named Windows 7, which will have new features among other advancements. And this is only taking them about 2 - 3 years to do, if the schedule is correct.

Let's take another example, and look at Adobe. Just recently, they released their CS4 product line. I remember about 1.5 - 2 years ago when CS3 was the latest and greatest. And now this?!

The CS4 Master Collection is 18 GB! Windows Vista Ultimate is (after installation) about 10 GB, I read. How are software companies able to create such massive programs, but when it comes to the smaller ones such as Firefox and Internet Explorer (among many other smaller applications that have beta testers and programmers all over the world working on it) take so long to create in comparison to their sizes (a few MB vs. several GB)?

Some examples: Firefox 3 (> 7 MB) took about 1 - 2 years to develop, and be released. CS4 took about 2 years to make, and it's 18 GB. Vista took about 7 years to make, and it's several GB in size. Internet Explorer 8 has been in development for about 1 - 2 years now, I think, and it's only 15 MB.
User avatar
Techie-Micheal
Security Consultant
Posts: 19511
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2001 12:11 am
Location: In your servers

Re: Software - How do they do it?

Post by Techie-Micheal »

One thing to keep in mind is that size is not indicative of lines of code. For example, I recently wrote a small C++ program that was approximately 20 lines of code and weighed in at 1.2MB. :P However, when I took out the debugging symbols and built it for release it was a much smaller 12KB. I could have built it to be even smaller with removing "unnecessary" symbols and shrinking the executable and such.
Proven Offensive Security Expertise. OSCP - GXPN
User avatar
thecoalman
Community Team Member
Community Team Member
Posts: 4117
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2004 3:52 am
Location: Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Contact:

Re: Software - How do they do it?

Post by thecoalman »

DarkGod wrote: The CS4 Master Collection is 18 GB!
I don't use Adobe but media software like that usually comes with many templates and fluff that you may or may not use. For example my image editing software comes with a bunch of common path objects that you might use. Arrows, music notes, apple etc. All pretty common shapes that you could create yourself with the software but are provided. Then there's textures, bump maps, masks etc. again all can be created but these are pretty standard things most people are going to use. Most of that 18GB is most likely taken up by those types of things which aren't necessarily required to run the program, just time savers because you don't have to create them yourself.

EDIT: Have they added any other things? Video tutorials maybe? looking at php.net for example the zip download for .php is about 10MB , the download for the manual is 30MB+ depending on which version you get. The manual is easily 3 times bigger but isn't required.
“Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results! I have found several thousand things that won’t work.”

Attributed - Thomas Edison
User avatar
DarkGod
I've Been Banned!
Posts: 221
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:16 pm

Re: Software - How do they do it?

Post by DarkGod »

thecoalman wrote:Most of that 18GB is most likely taken up by those types of things which aren't necessarily required to run the program, just time savers because you don't have to create them yourself.

EDIT: Have they added any other things? Video tutorials maybe? looking at php.net for example the zip download for .php is about 10MB , the download for the manual is 30MB+ depending on which version you get. The manual is easily 3 times bigger but isn't required.
I didn't consider that, which I should have. I appreciate your feedback, both of you. Thank you.
ElbertF
Registered User
Posts: 527
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:41 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Software - How do they do it?

Post by ElbertF »

Bigger companies usually employ more people as well. :)
User avatar
Double_J
Former Team Member
Posts: 1243
Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2004 4:07 pm
Location: Netherlands
Contact:

Re: Software - How do they do it?

Post by Double_J »

You are comparing the software 'size' with the years spend.

This is as techie micheal also said, not a comparison at all.

You have to compare the number of people developing the software package -> so programming 'man' hours, which is what counts.

But even that is not really representive.

Some 'embedded' pieces of software, like in your MP3 player, may also take a few months to develop, yet due to the size restrictions of the particular device the program mostly is a few MB or even less then a MB.

I think you cannot compare development of a program like a browser with an operating system, nor can you compare 2 browsers.
Al Knight
Registered User
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:59 am

Re: Software - How do they do it?

Post by Al Knight »

Firefox and Internet Explorer is like Coke and Pepsi, you can't compare a Coke to Friday's Steak.
Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”