[XeTeX] Xetex TexLife and fc-cache

John Was john.was at ntlworld.com
Wed Aug 10 10:28:26 CEST 2011


It's not an intellectually satisfying solution, but could you not yourself 
be the first (dummy) customer each day, offering up a file for PDF 
conversion so that the initial slow processing happens only to you?  The 
real clients who come after that will then (if I understand your problem 
correctly) get a fast(er) service.

If you want the service to run 24/7 (as would be normal for a web-based 
service), it might be possible to automate this so that it kicks in at a 
specific point (early) in the day.  It would be interesting to know whether 
it coincides with any daily archiving or updating at the server from which 
your XeLaTeX distribution obtains its updates - e.g. whether this doesn't 
work if you do it at 4 a.m. but it does if you do it at 7 a.m.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Philip TAYLOR (Webmaster, Ret'd)" <P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk>
To: "Nicolás Hatcher" <n.hatcher at basecase.com>
Cc: "Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms" <xetex at tug.org>
Sent: 10 August 2011 09:18
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] Xetex TexLife and fc-cache

Nicolás Hatcher wrote:
> Hi All (again):
> It seems I was guessing too much. Perhaps my problem is not fc-cache.
> What happens is that with any new day the first xelatex run is extremely 
> slow.
> Could be 5 minutes before pass the line
> This is XeTeX, Version ...
> I am doing a system that produces pdf documents on demand from a website. 
> I cannot ask the user to wait "sometimes" 5 minutes.
> I know is not fc-cache because I substituted it with a dummy file and the 
> problem is still there.
> What does XeTeX before launching?
> Any pointers to the source code so I can investigate myself?

I see the same symptoms myself on a regular basis, but
not having clients to satisfy, it has never worried me.

> Would the same problem arise on MiKTeX?

You are not comparing like with like.  XeTeX is a program,
based on the original TeX program from Donald Knuth, but
re-written and considerably extended, particularly in the
field of Unicode support and file handling.  MikTeX is
a distribution, which contains TeX and many other programs,
probably including XeTeX ('though I have no first-hand
experience to support this latter statement).  If you
do not need the power of XeTeX, and do not need (for
example), support for Unicode and for system fonts,
then TeX may be all that you need, and it will not have
that same startup delay; but the delay will be (more or
less) the same for any one given program (TeX, XeTeX,
LuaTeX, whatever) regardless of the distribution
(MikTeX, TeX Live, PC TeX, Y&Y TeX, whatever).

Philip Taylor

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