bugGNU gettext - Bugs: bug #58006, Massive slow down due to slow...


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bug #58006: Massive slow down due to slow get_env because libintl doesn't cache untranslated strings

Submitter:  Jianxiang Wang <qrox>
Submitted:  Tue 17 Mar 2020 04:06:08 PM UTC
Category:  End-user / runtime Severity:  3 - Normal
Item Group:  None Status:  None
Privacy:  Public Assigned to:  None
Open/Closed:  Open

Tue 17 Mar 2020 04:06:08 PM UTC, original submission:  

We're using `gettext/libintl` in a text-intensive project (Cataclysm:DDA, to be precise). Since we use English as the source language, we do not compile a .mo file for English. In some of the program's UIs, a large amount of text is translated, processed, and displayed, where I noticed a significant slow down, particularly on MinGW target. Profiling the program showed that `getenv()`, called by `libintl`, took the majority of CPU time (~50%). So I profiled `libintl` and found out it was caused by a caching issue when `libintl` does not find a translation for a source string.

The following are tested on git commit `284d55ec4c24479789b250bdcba9e3782cca2994` of `gettext`.

So, in `libintl_dcigettext`, when a translation is not found (`dcigettext.c:765`), the code to cache translation (`dcigettext.c:816`) is skipped, and the source string is returned without caching (`dcigettext.c:850`). The next time `libintl_dcigettext` is called with the same source string, the whole process of translation lookup happens again, including a call to `getenv("GETTEXT_LOG_UNTRANSLATED")` in `libintl_dcigettext()`, a call to `getenv("LANGUAGE")` in `guess_category_value()`, and several `getenv()` calls in `gl_locale_name_environ()`, which took up the majority of execution time of these functions.

After switching the language of the program to a non-English one, I observed a noticeable performance improvement, which confirmed my theory.

While I think there might be a performance issue with Windows' `getenv()` itself, I think this is also a bug of `libintl` that needs to be fixed.

Jianxiang Wang <qrox>


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