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Re: package.el

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: package.el
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 11:21:58 +0900

Tom Tromey writes:

 > I'm reasonably sure that I don't want to do this scanning every time
 > Emacs starts up.  But I admit I have not benchmarked the scanning
 > approach.

XEmacs does do a lot of scanning, and it has been a source of
complaints.  But IIRC the problem was that XEmacs keeps each package
in a separate directory (actually, several of them, since it emulates
the standard layout of GNU Emacs with subdirectories of lisp/ for
package Lisp, subdirectories of etc/ for miscellaneous package data,
and so on).  Searching through that to determine which subdirectories
are actually package directories and should be on load-path was what
took the most time.

The original scheme was fully recursive requiring stats of all files
to find subdirectories for possible recursion.  Substantial savings
were achieved by limiting the search depth (currently to children of
the lisp/ directory itself).  Currently most XEmacs users seem to
consider the additional startup time acceptable, especially on fast
machines with Unix-style file systems, but I suspect for even a
moderate number of packages, Emacs users would detect a lag, since
Emacs's startup is snappier than XEmacs's.

David Kastrup had several suggestions for how to speed up XEmacs's
start time, which would probably apply to package.el, too.  IIRC they
were to collect package auto-autoloads and custom-loads into a single
file, and to put all package Lisp into a single directory to avoid
recursive searching.

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