[OS X TeX] microtype

Justin C. Walker justin at mac.com
Mon Aug 9 13:53:57 EDT 2010

Hi, George,

On Aug 9, 2010, at 10:06 , George Gratzer wrote:

> A  while ago, this group called my attention to the microtype package.
> I tried it out on the book I am completing, and I find the result  
> stunning.
> Problem: my book (about 600 pages) typesets in under 4 secs,
> with microtype about 30 secs.
> To get the book ready for printing, I estimate that the last stage  
> consists of
> about 1,200 typesettings.
> I have a 4 core iMac with four Core i7 processors.
> I could get the new one with 8 processors and a solid state disk.
> Would these contribute to speeder typesettings with microtype?

There's no easy (or simple) answer to this.  To get to an answer you  
have to know why using microtype increases run-time by a factor of 7.   
Mac OS X has a few tools to help with this and at least let you have  
an understanding of what your system is doing.  A couple of courses in  
performance evaluation (not the "admin" kind) can't hurt either :-}.

Run '/Applications/Utilities/Activity Monitor', and open the "Activity  
Monitor" and "Floating CPU Window" windows (using the "Window" menu).

The floating CPU window gives a "bar chart" view of activity on each  
processor core in your system (so with for Core i7 processors, you  
would see 16 "bars").  In the "Activity Monitor" window, select the  
disk activity tab.

Then start your typesetting run and observe what is showing on each  
monitor window.  It may take a few runs for you to see it all, but the  
results may help answer your question.

First, the CPU window will tell you whether more cores or processors  
will help.  If only one 'bar' is (hyper)active during typesetting,  
more processors/cores may not help.

To determine that, check disk activity.  You want to see whether there  
is a lot of activity, or not so much (and in the latter case, if  
processing seems to stop while disk activity starts up).

If there is a lot of activity from the disk, or if the CPU and disk  
activity seem to be going in lock-step - first one, then the other,  
faster disks (including some solid state ones) may help.

Finally, please do not start a new discussion thread on the back of an  
existing one.  Those of us who use "threaded" mail readers will thank  
you.  It may also help you (some may dump whole threads unread, which  
means that your request may not get the attentionyou hope for).



Justin C. Walker
Network, n., Difference between work
charged for and work done

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