[NTG-context] Difference between MKII, XeTeX and MKIV

Hans Hagen pragma at wxs.nl
Mon Mar 14 19:52:20 CET 2011

On 14-3-2011 7:26, Cecil Westerhof wrote:
> 2011/3/14 Marco<netuse at lavabit.com>
>> On 2011-03-14 Cecil Westerhof<cldwesterhof at gmail.com>  wrote:
>>> When installing minimals you have MKII, XeTeX and MKIV. I understand that
>>> you should normally use MKIV, but when are the other two used?
>> MKII can be used either with pdftex or xetex (as you wish, compare
>> advantages/disadvantages). MKIV can only be used with luatex.
>> You have to differ between ConTeXt »versions« (mkii, mkiv) and TeX backends
>> (pdftex, xetex, luatex).
> And where do I find the advantages/disadvantages? Or can I just always use

As already mentioned speed depends on the kind of document. In general 
context runs slower with xetex and luatex if only because these are 
unicode engines while pdftex is 8 bit.

Occasionally i do speed tests and it also depends on the operating 
system, file caching etc. For luatex the size of the cpu cache also 
matters. Although pdftex/mkiv is always faster unless on eused metapoist 
in which case mkiv is a clear winner (the metafun manual runs in tens of 
seconds in mkiv but takes many minutes in mkii.  Comparing xetex/mkii 
and luatex/mkiv is difficult as xetex also pipes its output to a dvi 
backend. On some tests mkiv is faster, on some others mkii but I must 
admit that i only tested simple document.

On a raw simple document, pdftex can be twice as fast as xetex or 
luatex. The more lua driven features are used, the slower mkiv becomes 
but in general it does a better job then.

Anyhow .. only luatex/mkiv will evolve so best stick to that.


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