Well, I’ve been playing a little bit with Erik Anderson’s uClibc-based development environment mentioned in the previous two posts.
When I compile, I issue the command export CFLAGS='-Os -s -mcpu=i386 -march=i386' to create small-as-possible binaries. Using the default flags, the Links web browser balloons to nearly 2.6 megs on my dual Celeron, mostly due to the debug symbols. It drops to around 760K with those options. Specifying i386 binaries shrinks them down at the expense of some speed on some CPUs (especially 486s and first-generation Pentiums), so you have to set your priorities. It doesn’t matter nearly as much on newer CPUs. But I’m pretty sure if you’re interested in uClibc you’re not just running it on Pentium 4s.

For the record, Links compiles without warnings without doing anything special to its configuration and seems to run without incident (I immediately used it to locate and download more source code to compile). Samba’s more difficult, giving some warnings in various places. It may or may not require some special configuration in order to actually run (I didn’t have time tonight to test it), and of course that could result in some reduced functionality. The binaries total 9.3 meg, which isn’t bad considering it implements a complete Windows NT-compatible file server as well as some simple client utilities for connecting to NT shares on a network. The files themselves are about 20% smaller than on a stock Debian system.

Erik Anderson says the majority of Unix software will compile under uClibc, which is probably true. I generally see compiler warnings occasionally even when using a completely mainstream system.