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Re: speed of Gnus

From: Peter Petersen
Subject: Re: speed of Gnus
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 2005 14:12:56 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.1007 (Gnus v5.10.7) Emacs/21.3 (gnu/linux)

* Alexander Syrov <> schrieb:
Hello, Alexander.

> newsreader the "Gnus way" is also quite comfortable. You can't make Gnus
> generate summary for thousands of articles quickly enough, but possibly you
> may live without seeing all those articles at once.

In most cases, there is no problem, because the group is not that
big. Up to 10000 or with a little bit more patience 15000 the speed of
Gnus is still tolerable for me, and fortunately, this is sufficient for
most groups, yes.

With larger groups I now try to avoid the incredible delay by
successively downloading _portions_ of 10000 articles. Of course, this is
suboptimal when deciding upon threads to tick or cache. But at least, it
is something like a work-around.

>  PP> Well I always do it this way; it doesn't mean that I read all those 
>  PP> articles (oh NO!), but I can search through them for keywords like "via 
>  PP> ac97", "crypto file system" or whatever.
> Searching for articles is much more effective with some indexing
> software. I use namazu and gnus-namazu.el. Another alternative is
> nnir.el. It takes a few seconds to process a query and build a virtual
> group containing the matching articles.

I would have to try this, though I always liked to see _all_ headers (=
subjects, topics) and just browse them (with Forte Agent). They may not
reflect the most reliable way to find interesting articles, but I still
think, visual inspection is unbeaten when compared to any fixed rule or
rule set. And searching through article _bodies_ of an entire group or
lots of groups was not that slow either with Forte Agent, and it was
comfortable. Oh yeah...

>  PP> easily switch between 
>  PP> offline and online mode
> J j (gnus-agent-toggle-plugged) works in summary and group buffers.

I know, but that was not what I was going to say.

>  PP> (or use them simultaneously: downloading headers 
>  PP> in _one_ group, downloading bodies in other groups - while at the same 
>  PP> time selectively opening articles in some groups via visual inspection 
>  PP> and just because I am curious...),
> Lack of asyncronous operation is an evident drawback of
> Gnus. Unfortunately, this functionality can't be easily implemented in Emacs.

Now that is what I was referring to... Looks like one has to live with
this limitation.

>  PP> I can easily watch threads and "lock" 
>  PP> articles which thusly are protected against deleting or "compacting" the 
>  PP> database (or expiring).
> You can do it with Gnus. When would you like to mark an article? If you read
> it the first time or if you come back to it while searching. In the former
> case, Gnus shows you all the recently fetched articles in default setup
> (and the old articles in the same threads if you set gnus-fetch-old-headers
> to t). In the latter case you may search for articles with indexing
> software. It is much more productive than manually watching over thousands
> of message headers.

I still trust my eyes and my "intuition" or curiosity way more than any
fixed rule set. But you are right, other methods _can_ be more
productive, especially if they are considerably less time consuming and
life doesn't leave you much leasure time any longer. :-(

>  PP> - Do slrn or tin offer a way to save interesting articles in such a way 
>  PP> that they are visible _inside_ the corresponding group? (like Gnus does 
>  PP> with its caching or Forte Agent with its "lock symbol"). I don't think 
>  PP> so.
> You probably need a local newsserver. Gnus Agent eliminates the need for
> it, but it is neccessary with other newsreaders if you want to create an
> offline storage for articles. You may try e.g. leafnode.

Hehe. :)
No, I am through with this chapter, local newsservers. I had tried them
years ago (leafnode, inn - and also things like slrnpull or noffle). It
proved to be totally impractical for a single user like me (of course,
it would be different if I shared my news depot with several or lots of
other people: then a newsserver is vital).

When I didn't have an adsl connection yet and had to pay per minute for
my modem connection, there was nothing, really nothing (none of the
often suggested and furiously proclaimed Linux/Unix methods, like
running your own news server) that came close to the speed and comfort
of running Forte Agent - and yes, I did extended tests and gave local
news servers a chance for many months. Agent always turned out to be
superior - measured by my own needs and interest, naturally!

It is just so much easier to have the flexibility to download all the
headers in _one_ specific group, to only download 1000 headers in a
couple of other groups, to download all the bodies in yet another group,
to download all the marked bodies and watched threads in all the groups,
while at the same time spending one's waiting time online picking this
or that maybe interesting article and also posting some questions or
replies at the same time. Those were the Forte Agent times. ;-)

No newsserver solution ever offers that degree of flexibility. Not for a
single user who likes to be subscribed to a large number of (partially)
large groups and who also likes to easily subscribe or unsubscribe some
groups or just have a look in a few other groups, depending on my
current interests or open questions...

But hey, with my modem times being over, basically (except when ADSL is
down), these are all things of the past. Furthermore, there is this
_one_ news reader (Gnus) with its Agent mode, something no other reader
like slrn, tin etc. offers.

>  PP> - Can slrn (or tin) save articles in the group?
>  PP>  If so: I will switch from Gnus to slrn, most likely ;-)
> If you definitely can't change you habits, it seems to be the best
> solution. You may use slrn + local leafnode server. But I recommend to try
> following the "Gnus way" of reading news for a week or two before taking
> this decision. Maybe you'll like it better.

Except for large groups, I actually like the "Gnus way".

>  PP> - How to speed up Gnus (if at all possible)?
> Not to the extent you want.

O.k., that's what I expected.

>  PP> - How do you get along with Gnus and with huge groups?
> My news archive (Gnus Agent cache) is over 1 Gb large and contains over
> 230,000 messages. But I rarely have more than 300-500 articles in summary
> buffer at once. Scoring helps me to sort out new articles I don't want to
> read and gnus-namazu allows to search for old articles quickly and
> effectively. 

Many thanks.


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