I'm comparing the performance of the TeXLive 2009 packages that come with Ubuntu 11.10, to the TeXLive 2011 packages that are installed directly from TeXLive on an x86_64 platform.

To my great surprise, TeXLive 2011 seems to be much slower than the TeXLive 2009. About half the speed, according to my tests.

Here's a degenerate example, with a file named test.tex:


Running time xelatex test.tex >/dev/null three times for each yields:

TeXLive 2009 (native Ubuntu packages)

real   0m0.575s
user    0m0.375s
sys 0m0.199s

real    0m0.659s
user    0m0.421s
sys 0m0.237s

real    0m0.587s
user    0m0.382s
sys 0m0.205s

TeXLive 2011 (TeXLive packages)

real   0m1.122s
user    0m0.912s
sys 0m0.210s

real    0m1.073s
user    0m0.877s
sys 0m0.196s

real    0m1.094s
user    0m0.869s
sys 0m0.224s

Can anyone explain why TeXLive 2011 might be so much slower in this comparison?

More importantly, how can one improve the performance of TeXLive 2011 on Ubuntu?

  • 1
    I don't have 2009 xelatex installed, so I tested lualatex instead, on Debian testing. I see slight difference, but much smaller than what you list. The difference could be due to the fact that the newer version of memoir class loads more additional files. If you just run xelatex test.tex and compare the output, you will see several more files being loaded in the 2011 version than in the 2009 version. Dec 6, 2011 at 4:04
  • @JanHlavacek You're probably right; I'll compare the files being loaded and post that. Dec 6, 2011 at 4:08
  • Given the above comment, perhaps a fairer test would be a small document in article class, as that probably hasn't changed…
    – Seamus
    Dec 6, 2011 at 9:24

1 Answer 1


Running the different binaries with the same packages:

TL 2011:

real    0m0.351s   
user    0m0.283s                                       
sys     0m0.067s                                                      

TL 2009:

real    0m0.369s
user    0m0.288s
sys     0m0.060s

on Linux, SuSE 12.1

  • Interesting. Are they TexLive native packages, or is one of them from SuSE packages? Dec 15, 2011 at 18:36
  • I always use TUG TeXLive, the original one ...
    – user2478
    Dec 15, 2011 at 19:06
  • ... so the problem seems to not be between TexLive versions, and would therefore seem to be with the way TexLive is compiled & packaged versus how it is done for Debian (with Debian being significantly faster). Dec 15, 2011 at 19:24

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