[metapost] TeX and MF: Fast-loading of core image

Taco Hoekwater taco at elvenkind.com
Wed Jan 5 16:51:55 CET 2005

Hi Laurence,

A loooong time ago, there used to be dump/undump binaries in the
Linux distro's, but that was in the a.out era; a prehistoric age
wherein CPU cycles were more time-expensive then disk I/O.

Nowadays, people do not worry that much about cpu cycles burned
during initialization, because actually loading extra junk from
the harddisk is often slower that alloc()-ing.

About the only program that bothers with undumping these days is
an ancient relic: GNU Emacs. It has a gazillion subroutines to
deal with all the combinations of binary loader/file format, and
the Elf/Linux one reportedly works.

You may want to look at this file:


The guy who created the tar file (and website) shares your rather
morbid interest in the subject ;-)

Greetings, Taco

Laurence Finston wrote:
> Hello,
> In _METAFONT:  The Program_,  section 1203, p. 514, Knuth explains that
> INIMF (or maybe it's VIRMF, I don't have my copy with me) dumps core
> "[...] in a form that the operating system can reload speedily".
> (GNU m4 can also do something similar, or perhaps identical.)
> He does not, however, explain how this is done, as it is system dependent.
> I'd really appreciate it if somebody would explain to me how to do this on
> a GNU/Linux system, or point me in the right direction, so I could find
> out for myself.
> Thanks.
> Laurence Finston
> http://www.gnu.org/software/3dldf/LDF.html
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