Application Installation Size


Long time lurker here. Have been reading the discussions here with great interest for a while now.

I am developing a desktop application that needs an embedded database. I have narrowed it down to firebird and localdb. The problem is that localdb has everything I need but is 33mb, runs as a service and firebird which is small open source and requires no background install but lacks one important feature. The problem is that I have a financial application that needs a high precision column type and localdb has exactly what I need and firebird is lacking in that department with only 64bit max decimal type. I have managed to hack the missing parts on but it’s no substitute for the real thing.

My question will adding 33mb to an application that is already about 15 - 20mb discourage people from downloading the trial?

From my experience, it doesn’t matter at all.

A year ago we started to embed a private Java JRE in our product Poker Copilot. On OS X that increased our download from 30 Mb to 90 Mb. No-one complained. There was no noticeable drop in downloads or sales.

We don’t even mention the download size on our website anymore.


Almost everyone has high speed internet nowadays. People routinely watch movies that maybe several 100 Mb or GB in size.

If it helps the customers, go for it.

I don’t think so. The PerfectTablePlan install is 20MB on Windows and 26MB on Mac. I don’t remember the last time someone complained about the download size. In fact I heard of some software deliberately padding out their download size to make it seem like you were getting more.

BTW Adobe Acrobat is 131MB!

Thanks for all the answers. I will go with localdb then.

In this age of insanely cheap hard disks and ubiquitous broadband file size really isn’t important to most people. An extra 33 Mb for a vital feature is no-brainer, definitely go for localdb.

I think it’s awesome that you care, and shows you’re not the kind of programmer to create bloated, inefficient programs just because Moore’s Law :slight_smile:

Thanks :slight_smile: I hope my customers appreciate it when I finally release my app.

It looks like you already got some good answers here, but just wanted to add that it may actually help your perceived value. Something that’s 60MB is more valuable that something that’s 20 MB, right?

(well I know not really, but many others may perceive it that way)

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Have you looked at Sqlite? I am not familiar with your situation but it may be a much lighter-weight solution. Or not, just a suggestion.

No one really cares, until it’s some edge cases. Users may notice if the download is too big if it takes unexpectedly much time to download. Or of the file is too small - it’s hard to charge $200 for a 760Kb utility.

Once upon a time (2005) I choose C++/MFC instead of C# mainly because C# required a 20MB extra download and it was a good choice back then. Now my BatchPhoto setup embades WebKit and is 30+ MB on Win and 50+ MB on Mac. Nobody ever complained.

And as with Hi-Fi hardware where weight does matter there is also the false impression that a bigger download equates to a better product.

Yeah SQlite is nice but has some serious deficiencies. Upgrading the Schema is a real pain due to poor alter table support and a few other things. With firebird or localdb my customers can easily upgrade to a real server and use the same database files.