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speed of Gnus

From: Peter Petersen
Subject: speed of Gnus
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 10:44:56 +0200
User-agent: - based on NewsPortal


This time I need to voice some frustration, unfortunately. :-(

After having customized Gnus more and more to my needs, I now find that working with it is unbearable in some cases:

Entering groups with thousands of articles!

Recently I tried to open a huge group with more than 40000 posts: Gnus started to work and work around for hours (sic!) without ever letting me see the summary buffer! After 3 or 4 hours I had lost my patience and did a control-g, which immediately interrupted the crazy process. So Gnus was NOT hung!

I compared that to other newsreaders:

Forte Agent needed 7 minutes! (about 6 minutes to download all the headers, which was about the same time for Gnus, and then only a few seconds to actually allow me to see the list of articles)

Ditto for slrn and tin.

In the meantime I upgraded Gnus from 5.10.6 to 5.10.7 and the situation has improved considerably, BUT:

Now having to wait about 40 minutes until I can enter a group with 40000 articles - while a huge step forward - is still unacceptable! Moreover, CPU load is still close to 100% - blocking other programs and making it impossible to play an online game, for instance (while Gnus is generating the summary, even after downloading the articles is over).

When does the huge delay happen?
Well, it happens after having downloaded the headers. It's the time until "generating summary" can be read AND (even more so, perhaps) the time until "generating summary... done" can be seen. But what seems to take most of the time actually is: the time between "generating summary... done" and seeing the headers list!

I already applied some hints and tips I found while googling:
- simplifying the summary line
- putting (gnus-compile) at the bottom of .gnus
- entering the corresponding groups with escape-enter instead of enter
- sorting by article number (instead of date)
- ....

There seems to be a _slight_ improvement, but all in all not much has changed.

Now you may ask why I have to open such huge groups (or rather: downloading thousands of headers)... Well I always do it this way; it doesn't mean that I read all those articles (oh NO!), but I can search through them for keywords like "via ac97", "crypto file system" or whatever.

I actually like to get _all_ the available headers in a group when I am actively searching for a solution. Other newsreaders allow me to do this.

I now realize again why I had such a hard time (in the past) coming away from Forte Agent: I can open the hugest of the huge groups and rapidly see its headers, mark them as I please, sort them as I please, easily switch between offline and online mode (or use them simultaneously: downloading headers in _one_ group, downloading bodies in other groups - while at the same time selectively opening articles in some groups via visual inspection and just because I am curious...), I can easily watch threads and "lock" articles which thusly are protected against deleting or "compacting" the database (or expiring).

All of the other newsreaders available for unix systems don't seem to offer those vital features (slrn, tin etc.), the only exception being Gnus!

Or am I wrong here?
- Do slrn or tin offer a way to save interesting articles in such a way that they are visible _inside_ the corresponding group? (like Gnus does with its caching or Forte Agent with its "lock symbol"). I don't think so. But this is a vital feature to me. I want to archive posts this way and be able to always see them in the corresponding group and to be able to post a follow-up from inside the group.

What's the consequence?
Well, I wouldn't like to return to Forte Agent, because:
- I need to run it via "emulation" (Wine) (though it works very well, indeed!) - launching urls, pictures and links is more trouble than worth it (because you have to launch Linux programs from inside a windows application) - Gnus has so many nice additional features (limiting the display of articles according to a multitude of criteria; ticking articles... etc.)
- Agent doesn't have unlimited threading depth
- Agent doesn't give me all the different colours for quoted text

On the other hand scoring (and all the complex possibilities with Gnus) is totally unimportant to me.

Ideas anyone?
- Can slrn (or tin) save articles in the group?
 If so: I will switch from Gnus to slrn, most likely ;-)
- How to speed up Gnus (if at all possible)?
- How do you get along with Gnus and with huge groups?

sorry for the rant and
thanks again

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