Monolingual = Death by 1,000 papercuts

Monolingual is a good program, but too blunt of a tool.

Last night I installed Monolingual on my Mac to free up some hard drive space. For those who have never used it, Monolingual is an open-source program for the Mac that removes hard drive hogging language files and other program files that serve no useful purpose.

Well, that's what I thought. I removed all but English and removed PowerPC-related system files (after all, I'm using Apple's Intel-based MacBook Pro). Bad mistake. I woke up today unable to send email, had a range of icons missing from my program files, and basically my system was stuttering to a halt.

I'm sure that Monolingual is a great program in the hands of someone who knows exactly what it's going to remove, and exactly what effects such removal will have on Mac applications. Unfortunately, Monolingual is somewhat of a blunt instrument and doesn't alert the user to these potential pitfalls.

Perhaps application writers are storing files in odd places that get ravaged by Monolingual unintentionally. Perhaps. But unless you know exactly what you're doing, I'd suggest you don't follow my lead. Don't run Monolingual. A clean install of OS X (Leopard) and Microsoft Office later, I'm finally whole again. A day wasted. All to save 1.5 GB of hard-drive space.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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