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Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die

From: David Engster
Subject: Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:09:23 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13001 (Ma Gnus v0.10) Emacs/24.3.91 (gnu/linux)

address@hidden (Phillip Lord) writes:
> Richard Stallman <address@hidden> writes:
>>   > John Kitchin wrote a GFDL licensed book on Density Functional Theory (a
>>   > computationally efficient way of computing many quantum mechanical
>>   > properties of materials) in Org mode.
>> I am glad he did, but in order for Org format to be a usable format
>> for GNU documentation, it needs to be fully documented.  To be good
>> for the purpose, this documentation should not be dispersed among
>> other unrelated topics such as outlines, memos, or time logging.
> Org-mode does all of that, but doesn't have to do any of that. The
> org-mode manual link which Achim Gratz is worth looking at.

OK, I took a look. But more importantly, I actually *exported* that
thing to HTML. Apparently, all the people who are pitching Org as an
alternative to Texinfo have never actually tried that, because then they
would have witnessed this:

 > time emacs --batch -Q orgmanual.org --eval "(with-current-buffer 
 > \"orgmanual.org\" (org-export-to-file (quote html) \"orgmanual.html\"))"
 emacs --batch -Q orgmanual.org --eval   117.49s user 0.12s system 100% cpu 
1:57.56 total

That's almost TWO MINUTES just for exporting one manual, and not even a
particularly big one. And that's on a Core i7.

For reference: For Org.texi, Texinfo5 needs ~8 seconds(!), and Texinfo4
needs ~0.7.

For me, Texinfo 5.2 is on average roughly 15 times slower than Texinfo 4
(for generating HTML). And people already say THAT is too slow. And Org
is about 167 times slower than Texinfo 4, at least for the Org manual (I
haven't looked, but I'd be willing to bet that this does not scale
linearly, so things are probably much worse for behemoths like the Calc

People were already saying around here that speed does not matter that
much for Org because you rarely export. I don't agree with that at all,
and I'm saying that as a heavy Org user. When writing stuff like
documentation or presentations in Org, I export *very* frequently, for
instance when I have to fit in pictures.

The whole Emacs docs are currently roughly 350k lines of Texinfo. The
Org manual is only 20k. So building the whole Emacs docs with Org would
easily take over 30 minutes on a Core i7. Yes, you can build in
parallel, so divide by four if you want, but that's still way too long,
and not everybody has that kind of machine (it's anybody's guess how
many hours this would take on RMS' MIPS-based laptop...).

I love Org. But people, please be reasonable about what it can and what
it cannot do. Unless someone makes the exporter *at least* an order of
magnitude faster, this is a non-starter.


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