[scribus] Scribus on 'modern' machines

John Beardmore John at T4sLtd.co.uk
Fri May 2 17:33:28 CEST 2008

Craig Ringer wrote:
> John Beardmore wrote:

>> Amount of memory doesn't seem to be a bottleneck, so my guess is that 
>> CPU and memory speed are likely to be the main rate determining 
>> characteristics.
> Do keep an eye on your free RAM during heavy operations. Scribus likes 
> *LOTS* of RAM, and if you're swapping even a little bit your performance 
> will suffer considerably.

I don't think that's been the problem.

> It's often informative to run the command "vmstat 5" in a terminal. 
> That'll print some summary system activity data every 5 seconds. You are 
> interested in the "swap" columns - you do not want to see anything but 
> zeroes in the "si" and "so" columns most of the time. If your system 
> starts swapping more than very occasionally, and especially if it does 
> so when the "cache" memory column in vmstat begins falling rapidly, then 
> you might benefit from more RAM.

Unfortunately I don't have such a tool for XP.

>> I guess faster memory and CPU might improve editing speed a little, but 
>> I assume given Craigs comment, that the extra CPU core won't help much 
>> there.  Is that right ?
> Correct. It will help the rest of your system remain more responsive 
> while Scribus is hogging the CPU, but it will not detectably improve 
> Scribus's performance. A second core can help single threaded 
> applications if they're doing lots of async I/O or network 
> communication, but Scribus does neither of those and won't benefit.


>> But will a second core help more with printing ?  In other words, does 
>> any part of the printing process run in a separate thread that might 
>> benefit from a second core ?
> Probably not any part that takes a significant amount of time. You'll 
> find that almost all the time is spent in the Scribus process preparing 
> the job; the later parts of the printing process probably happen very 
> quickly. You can verify this by running:
> "watch lpstat"

Again not on XP.  I was wondering if GDI calls might be taking a lot of 
resource, but I don't know.

> and kicking off a Scribus print job. When a job appears in the "watch 
> lpstat" window, Scribus has handed the print job off to the print system 
> for processing. Before that a second core will not help. After that, 
> though, Scribus is probably basically idle, and the print system will 
> most likely only use one core for processing the job. However, you'll 
> find that the print system gets it done quickly enough that you won't care.
> If you're thinking of upgrading it's certainly best to focus on maximum 
> performance per core rather than on the number of cores.


> By the way, many applications (but not Scribus most of of the time) 
> benefit quite significantly from a fast hard disk, as does general 
> system responsiveness. I have the same laptop as two of my workmates, 
> but they got it with only 2GB of RAM and with a 5400rpm HDD. My machine 
> is *massively* faster, and it's almost all down to the 7200rpm hard disk 
> though the extra 2GB of RAM does help with caching. Similarly, a friend 
> built a desktop with a Western Digital Raptor 150 (a 10,000rpm SATA hard 
> disk) and the performance benefits are quite impressive. Boot times and 
> program launch times are massively improved as well. So - if you're 
> using lots of other apps on there, not just Scribus, or you value 
> general system responsiveness a fast disk is worth thinking about. Don't 
> bother for Scribus, though, as it will not gain very much from a fast disk.

OK -  an interesting point.

I get the impression that this laptop doesn't spend much time accessing 
the hard disk, so hadn't thought of going for a faster one, though I 
guess that at least the first time a program is launched will be disk 

I suppose the other point is that a faster disk would probably use more 

Many thanks, J/.
John Beardmore, MSc EDM (Open), B.A. Chem (Oxon), CMIOSH, AIEMA, MEI
Managing Director, T4 Sustainability Limited. http://www.T4sLtd.co.uk/
Carbon Trust Consultant: Energy Audit, Carbon Footprint, Design Advice
Energy Efficiency Accreditation Scheme, (EEAS), Registered Assessor
Phone: 0845 4561332   Mobile: 07785 563116   Skype: t4sustainability

More information about the scribus mailing list