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bug#26397: 25.1; call-process slow on macOS and slower on larger frames

From: Alan Third
Subject: bug#26397: 25.1; call-process slow on macOS and slower on larger frames
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 2017 20:19:59 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.7.2 (2016-11-26)

On Sat, Apr 08, 2017 at 08:47:25AM -0700, Aaron Jensen wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 8, 2017 at 12:37 AM, YAMAMOTO Mitsuharu
> <address@hidden> wrote:
> >
> > Probably "fork" copies some GUI resources.  That would also explain
> > why the performance is worse on the Mac port, where each frame
> > allocates an extra NSWindow for overlaying.
> >
> > It becomes much faster and seemingly unaffected by the frame size if
> > you comment out "#undef HAVE_WORKING_VFORK" and "#define vfork fork"
> > in src/conf_post.h.  But I'm not sure if it is safe.
> Wow, that does make a big difference. The comment says that Emacs
> hangs when evaluating:
> (make-comint "test0" "/nodir/nofile" nil "")
> But I can not reproduce that currently with vfork. I do not understand
> the second comment: "Also, setsid is not allowed in the vfork child's
> context as of Darwin 9/Mac OS X 10.5."

It looks to me like we could replace the call to setsid with

    setpgid (0, 0);

for Darwin builds. However I can’t tell for sure if that function is
allowed after vfork, as I can’t even find any official reference to
setsid not being allowed.

I’m probably just not looking hard enough.

It seems the ‘correct’ solution for macOS is to use posix_spawn
instead of (v)fork/exec, but that would probably require a larger
change, and Daniel Colascione seems to have looked into it before, and
come across this very issue:


He doesn’t seem to have got an answer, though, and Emacs no longer
falls back to setpgid on any platform (see commit

> How might I test that?

The call to setsid is inside an `if` that’s to do with ptys. I suspect
it must come into play if you’re using Emacs in a text terminal,
rather than as a GUI app. I can’t check this just now as my master
won’t build...

Alan Third

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