Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Monolingual

Monolingual Screenshot Monolingual is a tool for Mac OS X that lets you remove unwanted languages from the operating system.
One of OS X’s strengths is the fact that it’s delivered with many different languages out of the box – with Windows, you are stuck with the language of the OS. It means that on OS X you could have one user who has his interface in US English, another in British English, and another in Simplified Chinese. Which is pretty cool.
The downside is that all of these extra language files take up a lot of space. When you consider just how many languages OS X ships with (Tigrinya, anyone? Or Sinhalese?) you’re looking at hundreds of megabytes for something you may not use.
So here’s where Monolingual comes in. It goes through your applications and strips out any languages that you tell it to. The process can take a while, especially on slower Macs, but even when I used it relatively conservatively (i.e. keeping all of the English derivatives plus French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Welsh) I managed to save over half a gigabyte of space on my HDD.
You can go even further, by removing unwanted keyboard layouts and unneeded input methods – handy if you’re not Chinese or can’t imagine a Chinese user wanting to use your machine.
There’s also a relatively new feature that lets you remove program architectures – effectively allowing you to ‘de-universalise’ universal binaries by removing the architecture that you don’t need. So if you have a G4 Mac Mini like I do, you could remove the Intel architectures of programs. Judging by how much bigger universal binaries are over their single architecture cousins, this could also save lots of space, but I was too scared to try it.
Monolingual is free and open source, but donations are welcome.

One Comment

  1. – The downside is that all of these extra language files take up a lot of space. When you consider just how many languages OS X ships with (Tigrinya, anyone? Or Sinhalese?) you’re looking at hundreds of megabytes for something you may not use. –
    Had no idea about this issue. Can’t wait to download monolingual:) Great Blog. Great topics:)