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"Even tiny little programs like "Hello World" take up several KB when written in C and compiled with GCC."

That would only be a real problem if it kept happening proportionaly as programs grow in lines of code.

A 86 byte raw source program -> 3K can seem like a huge jump.

A 300,000 line, 1MB raw source program -> 1MB + 3K, or similar, would be insignificant.

You can always strip debugging symbols, remove libs you don't use, etc.

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