[NTG-pdftex] processing speed

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Fri May 29 01:05:40 CEST 2009

did anybody observe already that pdftex gets slower and slower when
processing huge documents?

I recently wrote a few perl scripts which create huge LaTeX files
containing data from spectrum analyzers and I'm using the pgfplots
package in order to visualize the results. 

On my humble Windows machine it takes about one second to create such
a plot.  This is ok even if I have to create thousands of them.  But
now I have to create thousands of them, and I noticed that the amount
of time needed to produce one single plot is increasing steadily.

I first thought that it's a pgfplots issue but I created test files
which confirm that it's a pdftex problem.

Download the tiny Perl script


and then try:

  tex --shell-escape testplain.tex


  pdftex --shell-escape testplain.tex

What you'll see on screen is the output of "date +%s" whenever the
\input file had been processed.  (Thus, it works only on UNIX).

You'll see that at the beginning Knuth's TeX and pdfTeX need
approximately the same amount of time to process one \input file.
But while Knuth's TeX needs the same amount of time to process any
\input file, the amount of time pdfTeX needs increases steadily.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

More information about the ntg-pdftex mailing list