[Dev-luatex] Dump sharing - redundant copying/allocations

Michal Vlasák lahcim8 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 21 13:58:44 CEST 2021

On Wed Jul 21, 2021 at 9:09 AM CEST, Hans Hagen wrote:
> just afew remarks:
> - dump sharing in luatex makes no sense, also because lua byte code
> can be stored and that is not portable .. for that reason byte
> swapping was removed at some later point in the project

Funnily enough, I looked at the code exactly because of this. As it
turns out, in TeX Live after recent problems with format sharing across
32-bit Windows and 64-bit Linux, there is now an effort to ensure the
portability of formats:


Of course the issue of unportable bytecode came up. As far as I know
three LuaTeX formats store it in format files: ConTeXt (wasn't and
probably won't be checked by the script and users alike), OpTeX and
minim (recent format, not even genereted in TeX Live).

I evaluated the possibility of byte swapping in the Lua (un)dumping, by
introducing a patch in TeX Live, but I don't think it is worth:

 - I personally wouldn't encourage _more_ format sharing between OS's
   and architectures in the future.
 - The types used by Lua (long long, double, int) may not even be
   portable anyways.
 - The "right" approach for portable dumping doesn't fit the current

> - byte swapping introduces overhead and was happening for the majority
> of users (intel), but the code was/is still there

I agree that if something the more common Little endian would have been
a better choice.

> - as you mention, the allocation overhead is small, which is
> definitely true compared to byte swapping and all the decompression
> calls in between (loading the file database at startup probably takes
> more time, and definitely in the early days was quite noticeable, more
> than format loading); the level 3 compression gav ethe best trade-off

Interestingly I didn't find any really measurable slowdown from the byte
swapping, possibly because the entire function was turned into a lot of
SIMD instructions. (But to be fair I didn't test with a huge format, and
usually compile LuaTeX with the byte swapping disabled anyways.)

> - the mentioned 'internal compiler error' mentioned by Taco rings a
> bell, it's a reason why often saving/loading an 'int' goes via a
> variable because compilers would optimize in a way that dumping
> variables (ints) in more complex data structures gave issues
> - there are a few more places where using redundant temp vars are used
> because during some operations memory can grow which can makes
> pointers already set invalid, some of those have been sorted out
> differently in the meantime)

Very interesting, hopefully the situation improved since.

> - talking of performance, one of the interesting things in the
> beginning of development was that we noticed different (incremental)
> versions to perform differently; for instance when math was opened up
> the machinery became real slow, as if we crossed some boundary,
> (compilation order of specific code modules mattered too); but when i
> then updated my laptop it was fast again, not so much because of fhe
> faster cpu but because the cpu cache was larger; compiler optimization
> also kind of interfered (at that time ideas, experiments and binaries
> came and went on a daily basis, we had quite some fun)
> - if performance is of concern, we also noticed (later one when luajit
> enteres the scenary) that the settings for lua hashing matters, and
> that luajit had pretty bad heuristics (tuned for url, we published
> about that) so we used a different hashing there ...

Thank you for your insights and caring about performance!

Michal Vlasák

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