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Re: [groff] [Groff] What does the "-u" in ".tmac-u" mean?

From: Larry Kollar
Subject: Re: [groff] [Groff] What does the "-u" in ".tmac-u" mean?
Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2017 21:32:11 -0500

> Werner LEMBERG <address@hidden> wrote:
> It's not about saving disk space.  Remember that groff is an
> interpreted language *without* a translation to an internal
> representation.[*]  This means, for example, that a comment within a
> loop with 1000 repeats gets parsed a thousand times, again and again.
> Ditto for not stripped-off leading spaces.  Similarly, longer macro
> names take a longer time for being parsed.  This can make a
> significant difference even today for operations that should be as
> fast as possible.

Groff is, compared to most other formatting systems, blazing-fast.
When I was using it to format my documentation at work, on what is
now a 10 year old laptop, it made two passes through what became
a 700-900 page manual (depending on what was included) to produce
a PDF in less than 2 minutes. That included the Ghostscript run to
turn the 100MB PS file into a PDF. The book had many complex tables,
pic files, and EPS files.

From that experience, worrying about a few milliseconds spent on
comments seems a little excessive. If not stripping comments can
streamline the install process, and make it easier for people delving
into the macro sets to understand what’s happening, I think that’s
time well spent.


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