[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
> MKIV?

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.

Hans

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