Working on performance is so easy

Or at least many people apparently think so. One just has to love all these people believing that KDE could definitely perform at least as good as Windows 98 (but preferably better of course) if we developers weren't just so damn lazy and finally fixed it during one of our coffee breaks. Coffee (or tea in my case) in one hand, magically snapping fingers on the other hand, probably.

Anyway, to add another episode to the fontconfig adventure, if you've tried the experimental Qt and fontconfig packages improving performance, you've probably noticed crashes in some cases (usually rare, like reading Chinese spam). So, after spending a good portion of this afternoon snapping my fingers while debugging fontconfig (I wouldn't believe just finding a right font could be so complicated), I have new fontconfig packages: fontconfig and fontconfig-devel, fontconfig patch here. Qt remains the same, no fixes needed there. Just in case there's still some brave soul left, feel free to try them (don't forget to run SuSEconfig). Again note that the usual unstable-not-supported blah blah applies here, I even haven't got a reply to my patch yet, but I'm quite confident it's ok. Well, or you've been warned at least ... again. I actually use the packages myself, but you know, one rarely runs into their own bugs.


are you trying to tell me you KDE dev's aren't lazy? :D

hey, i'm amazed every release KDE brings out is so much faster than the previous one ;-)
i know lots of work is going in to the underlying stack KDE relies on, cuz there are lots of problems there. and you're one of the KDE devs that spend time improving the situation there - i love that :D

By superstoned at Tue, 01/03/2006 - 08:21

Hello Lubos,

Thank you again for the great work you're doing on this! I was wondering, though -- I didn't realize at first that Qt needed patching to work with the new-and-improved fontconfig. Is the patch large, and how likely is it that it'll make it into official Qt releases? Any chance we'll see it in Qt 3? Thanks. :)

By [email protected] at Tue, 01/03/2006 - 12:05

No, Qt doesn't need to be patched in order to use the new fontconfig, those are two unrelated changes. There's the new unstable fontconfig which decreases memory usage and improves startup time, and there are Qt patches that improve font handling, again decreasing memory usage and improving performance. You can use either one separately (but for the Qt patches you need this above-mentioned fontconfig fix).

The Qt patches are available in KDE SVN in qt-copy/patches, and packagers have been informed about them - e.g. OpenSUSE releases already have them. I'm not sure about official Qt - this fontconfig bug will certainly complicate it a bit.

By Lubos Lunak at Tue, 01/03/2006 - 13:06

Wonderful! Thank you very much for the explanations. I'm looking forward
to seeing your work go into upcoming Linux distro releases -- I
understand that font loading accounts for a sizeable chunk of the delay
in loading apps and desktop both as things currently stand, and I'm
grateful for your work in improving this!

By [email protected] at Mon, 01/09/2006 - 10:38

Hello Lubos!

Great work you have done!

However I still think that 5s is too much to load a desktop, there is any other front that could be improved to help load times? I still hope to see KDE start up instantaneously :-)

Keep the good work!

By gsbarbieri at Tue, 01/17/2006 - 03:27

Of course there are ways to help load times. The simplest and best is buying a faster machine :). Well, I'm actually serious there, it is the simplest and best way. KDE startup is actually quite well optimized and making improvements is getting harder and harder, and there are more important things to do than save few seconds in an operation you do at most a couple times a day. That said, we'll still keep trying, at least a bit ;).

By Lubos Lunak at Tue, 01/17/2006 - 16:17

Thanks for all the hard work! It's amazing how each new KDE release has been faster than the previous versions while still adding mre features.

Keep up the good work!

Ps. I thought developers were supposed to be lazy? ;)

By pointwood at Thu, 01/19/2006 - 11:01