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Perl did some old tricks that reached a little bit too far inside the <stdio.h> macros to be completely portable but that allowed Perl line-at-a-time I/O to be about twice as fast as C line-at-a-time I/O... on sufficiently "standard enough" systems. That was back in the days of AT&T Unix, before Linux. Last time I checked (long enough ago that I hope things have improved but not long enough ago that I've heard that they have), Perl still did line-at-a-time I/O unnecessarilly inefficiently when compiled on a system that isn't "standard enough" (which is nearly every system these days).

This meant that Perl line-at-a-time I/O was 4 times slower than it really should be on Linux (for example). This actually made re-implementing line-at-a-time I/O in Perl code faster than using Perl's own line-at-a-time I/O implemented in C code (about twice as fast, which means that when Perl gets fixed, it would be about twice as slow, which would be expected).

Yes, it makes little sense for Perl code to be faster than Perl's own C code. Unfortunately, that was certainly the case not too long ago.

The command perl -V:d_stdstdio will tell you whether Perl thinks your platform is "standard enough".

But, yes, the speed difference between line-at-a-time I/O and "slurping" is usually small enough not to matter (even considering Perl's quirk here). The memory consumption difference can be hugely significant, of course.

- tye        


In reply to Re: Efficient file handling (was Re^3: trouble parsing log file...) (stranger than fiction) by tye
in thread trouble parsing log file... by perl_geoff

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