Shrink your Go binaries with this one weird trick

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This is not meant as a "Go Sucks" post or anything along those lines. I am not saying the developers are lazy or dumb or any of the things Reddit has implied. I am not implying I could build a better compiler. Rob Pike and the Go team are geniuses whom I look up to. The tone of this why are go binaries so large intended to be a light "man I wish binaries were smaller" but that is not how Reddit seemed to take it.

Also, the title is hyperbole and not meant to literally mean no one has control over it. I started toying with Go about two years ago before the 1. I love the language, it meets me in a comfortable why are go binaries so large between C and a scripting languages like PHP.

I find it fun to write and an easy way to bust out performant code quickly. I figured this was something the Go team would work out later; it is a lot of space just to send a string to standard out. With the release of Go 1. I was quite hopeful with the 1.

Then this morning I compiled it again in the newly why are go binaries so large 1. What on earth is going on in that binary? I am no expert on compilers but I would imagine the vast majority of what is in there is completely unnecessary and could be optimized out. Changing the script to "Hello, World" rather than Go's flaunted unicode version has zero effect on binary size, as one would expect but I was hopeful.

Why are go binaries so large fmt comes out even larger. Here is a collection of binaries compiled in different versions of Go. Notice how imgavg grows from 1. My why are go binaries so large are all small tools. I can only imagine the effect this has an already large application. I really hope something is done about this. See my Tweet about comment formatting. Thibaut Colar on Dec. If you really care about the size that much, then you could probably dynamically link the program instead of staticallybut I've never bothered to do that.

BIN are the only binary files. File sizes are shockingly small, shockingly small. Michael Szegedy on Dec. Random Stranger on Dec. Compared to it, current Go binaries are really really fat Before you got all the features for half the size. Tyler Mace on Dec. Compare it to statically linked binaries produced by other modern tool chains. James Henstridge on Dec.

Until Go's reference compiler can produce dynamic binaries, you can't very well compare dynamic to dynamic. Dave Cheney on Dec. Finally, please don't strip your binaries; it isn't supported, isn't tested and is known to produce broken executables. If you have a problem with the previous statement, the correct place to request this is golang. And you know what? I still don't care.

The size of executables of small programs doesn't matter, because small programs are only examples or test code. And as soon as your program gets meaningful big and complex go's why are go binaries so large don't get much bigger maybe MB on Win.

I'll bookmark your web site and take the feeds alsoKI am satisfied to seek out a lot of helpful information here in the publish, we want work out extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing gddedcaggdebbbge. How much paper tape does that work out to? Consider yourselves lucky bastards; for legacy reasons we still have to use clay tablets at our place. We have strict weight limits in place, for example the run-time libraries of a prog.

On other note, we are currently seeking experts to integrate parts of our infrastructure using hieroglyphics and cuneiform respectively. Generous salary choice of babylonian or egyptian tetradrachmssenior developers are issued personal slaves!!!

It is good for a lot of small utilities. Name Email Email address will never be publicly visible.

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Ok, I lied, there's no weird trick. However, you can easily reduce a Go binary size by more than 6 times with some flags and common tools. I don't actually believe a 30MB static binary is a problem in this day and age, and I would not trade build time complexity performance debug-ability for it, but people care about it apparently , so here we are.

For the record, the dev team cares about it, too. It all started with an observation Jessie Frazelle made: Not a surprise if you look at the entropy graph generated with binwalk. A lot of sections there should compress extremely well. When I mentioned this is the office John Graham-Cumming suggested that we should then just make binaries self-decompress at runtime.

At first I though he was joking, then I realized that no, this almost made sense! So this weekend was going to be about hard-core engineering, building a binary that decompresses a payload and then JMP s to it. But soon enough I found out that such a thing exists already, it's called UPX and is quite nice. Before we go all in on compression, there's something we can do to make binaries smaller: We can use the -s and -w linker flags to strip the debugging information like this:.

Here's the new entropy graph; you can see that the last pretty-low entropy section is gone. Interestingly, what gets stripped is only the DWARF tables needed for debuggers, not the annotations needed for stack traces, so our panics are still readable! Next step, let's run upx. It works out of the box on linux binaries built by 1. We went from 12MB to 2. Almost 7 times smaller! Here's a graph of the sizes obtained by each technique, applied to the Go compiler, to Gogs and to hello. Obviously decompression is not free, but the overhead should only be at process start.

In my benchmarks the UPX version of go was taking ms more to start, and hello 15ms. Here 's all the data and here is the simple build script I used. If you like reading interesting facts about Go in a totally-not-Buzzfeed style, you might want to follow me on Twitter.