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[debbugs-tracker] bug#23801: closed (25.0.95; term.el redraws extremely

From: GNU bug Tracking System
Subject: [debbugs-tracker] bug#23801: closed (25.0.95; term.el redraws extremely slow with bidi support enabled, and large buffers)
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2016 16:47:02 +0000

Your message dated Sun, 26 Jun 2016 19:45:49 +0300
with message-id <address@hidden>
and subject line Re: bug#23801: 25.0.95; term.el redraws extremely slow with 
bidi support enabled, and large buffers
has caused the debbugs.gnu.org bug report #23801,
regarding 25.0.95; term.el redraws extremely slow with bidi support enabled, 
and large buffers
to be marked as done.

(If you believe you have received this mail in error, please contact

23801: http://debbugs.gnu.org/cgi/bugreport.cgi?bug=23801
GNU Bug Tracking System
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--- Begin Message --- Subject: 25.0.95; term.el redraws extremely slow with bidi support enabled, and large buffers Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2016 22:04:38 +1200 User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:38.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/38.5.1
This is a spin-off from bug#20611: 24.4; mutt slow in ansi-term.

I'm logging a new bug report by request, although it seems to me that
this is still the same bug (and 20611 is still open), so I suggest that
they can both be closed together once a fix is committed?

I've experimented further with this issue since my comments in 20611,
and my current observations follow...

In certain circumstances, a full-screen redraw in a term.el terminal is
incredibly slow, apparently increasing with the (width x height) number
of characters in the terminal -- certainly things are dramatically worse
when the term window is full-screen, than when it is only small; and as
observed below, the slow-down is worse than linear with respect to the
number of characters being drawn -- each block of characters drawn takes
noticeably more time to draw than the previous block did).

The issue affects both GUI and terminal Emacs, and affects all terminal
buffers generated by term.el (i.e. this is not specific to `ansi-term'
as it was treated in the original bug, but will also affect `term' and
any other similar wrapper command which creates a terminal and runs a
given program in it.)

In my case a full-screen terminal is (210x48) characters, for which the
initial screen redraw when running Debian package manager command
"dpkg-reconfigure postfix" takes ~7 seconds (with the redraw occurring
in three 'blocks' of visible activity, each of which 'instantly' draws
the next X characters of the display, followed by some seconds of
waiting before the next burst of visible activity.

Conversely with a terminal size of (80x21) characters, performance is
much better, with a redraw taking ~1 second and not obviously divided
into blocks, but all happening at once. I would say that the block
size seen in the large terminal would exceed the number of characters
visible in the small terminal, so it is not surprising to see it all
drawn in a single block of activity.)

Curiously, I've just noticed that the redraw in the small case takes
~1 second usually; but if I expand the window and cause a slow redraw,
and then reduce it to the original size and try again, the redraw is
now much slower (~2 seconds instead of ~1).

My speculation is that the amount of preceding text in the buffer is
having an effect, because switching from a large window to a small
window meant that a lot of the text which had been visible in the large
window was no longer visible, yet still present if you scrolled back in
the buffer.

I've seemingly confirmed this by repeating the process (1. small and
quick-ish; 2. large and extremely slow; 3. small again and not as quick
as (1)); then deleting the contents of the buffer prior to the final
shell prompt and repeating the command a fourth time, for which I once
again observed a quick-ish response as per (1).

Likewise, adding a lot of preceding text into a large-sized term buffer
caused the command to slow down even more. Testing in GUI Emacs with an
even larger area (234x53) I was seeing ~10 second redraws initially, and
that increased to ~17 seconds after dumping a bunch of other text into
the buffer.

Furthermore, I see now that the processing time increases for each
block displayed during the redraw. I assume all but the final block has
the same number of characters, yet the approximate elapsed time when
each appears on screen is as follows:

~1 second
~4 seconds
~9 seconds
~10 seconds (n.b. the final block is much smaller than the others)

I believe those first three blocks are the same number of characters,
yet the processing times needed to draw them are roughly 1, 3, and 5
seconds respectively.

(At this point I would hazard a guess that each character drawn is also
processing, to some extent, all of the preceding characters?)

I haven't tried to delve into the term.el code at all (and I am not
familiar with terminal emulation in any case), so I can only hope that
these observations might help to explain the root cause of this issue.

As established in bug#20611, disabling the bidi support (by either
setting bidi-paragraph-direction to 'left-to-right, or by setting
bidi-display-reordering to nil) improves the speed of the slow redraws
by an order of magnitude.

The proposed fix for that bug sets bidi-paragraph-direction in the
`ansi-term' command, but this is not general enough. My initial thought
is to set the value in `term-mode' instead.

I am not familiar with bidi concerns, and do not know whether there is
ever a use-case for bidi being active in a term-mode buffer, but I note
the following comment in the change committed for the original bug:

  ;; There's a larger problem here with supporting bidirectional text:
  ;; the application that writes to the terminal could have its own
  ;; ideas about displaying bidirectional text, and might not want us
  ;; reordering the text or deciding on base paragraph direction.  One
  ;; such application is Emacs in TTY mode...  FIXME.


In GNU Emacs (x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu, X toolkit, Xaw3d scroll bars)
 of 2016-06-18 built on shodan
Repository revision: 2ad3d0182df68f00cca57584807f721c3c5c96f1
Windowing system distributor 'The X.Org Foundation', version 11.0.11701000
System Description:     Ubuntu 15.04

Configured using:
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Configured features:

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--- End Message ---
--- Begin Message --- Subject: Re: bug#23801: 25.0.95; term.el redraws extremely slow with bidi support enabled, and large buffers Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2016 19:45:49 +0300
> Cc: address@hidden
> From: Phil Sainty <address@hidden>
> Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:35:40 +1200
> On 23/06/16 03:27, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> > Thanks for testing.  So I think this bug can be closed.
> Yes, agreed.


--- End Message ---

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