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Old 08-29-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
McCamel
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Calibre is incredibly slow editing metadata

I am running a late 2009 Macbook with OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1 and Calibre 0.8.66. I have several large (200-300 MB) PDF files. When I perform the simple function of changing their title from the "Edit Metadata" window, Calibre hangs for 1-2 minutes while performing the update.

I also find Calibre to run very slow generally-- it takes a long time to load up and there is a significant lag when after clicking almost any button. When compared with the similar library management functionality in Papers2 (an OS X PDF manager), the difference is night and day. Calibre has been well reviewed on Mac Appstorm and I've seen it recommended several other places as well. There also seems to be no alternative on OS X. I can't imagine that it is normal for Calibre to run as slow as it does on my machine. Anyone know what would make it so slow?
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:49 PM   #2
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When you change title and author, the files are moved. If you have large files, moving them takes time.
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:44 AM   #3
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Thanks kovidgoyal for the quick response. However, when I move a 1 GB .mkv file on my machine, it doesn't take remotely as long as Calibre takes when I commit the metadata edits for a 300 MB pdf. So this doesn't seem like it fully explains the problem. Or is that when I move a file in the Finder, the reference to it is just being changed, but when Calibre moves a file the whole file is being written elsewhere on disk?

Either way it would make sense to have this process run in the background rather than make Calibre hang. It seems absurd that it should take ~10 min to change the title of a few PDFs.
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Old 08-30-2012, 02:00 AM   #4
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Do you really think that these issues have not been considered when calibre was designed?

calibre does a copy not a rename, unlike finder or what have you. And the reason it does a copy not a rename it to prevent data corruption in case of failure. Which is also why this process cannot be run in the background.

calibre is designed to manage ebooks, ebooks are typically a few MB in size. If you want to manage hundred MB+ files, be prepared to wait, when chaning titles and authors, or dont use calibre.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:30 AM   #5
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Calibre use the title and author to create the folder where the book is stored, in the internal storage used by Calibre. Since there really is no reason for this information to ever change, once it is specified correctly, this is very reasonable.

Just make sure to use the correct title and author when you add a book, then that book will never have to be moved internally between folders in the internal directory structure of the Calibre library. And all other changes to metadata will be almost instantaneous, since they don't actually change or move the book.

You might also want to check your computer and the filesystem. The times you mention seems excessive, even considering the sizes of the books. Or do you store your Calibre library on a slow external device of some sort?
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:09 AM   #6
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Maybe he is using one of those old 'Iomega Zip' disks.

They were even slower than modern Flash drives.
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:11 PM   #7
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Thanks for all your responses guy. Kavid thank you for clarifying that Calibre is doing a copy and why the process will not run in the background. I also understand the point that this metadata is unlikely to change more than once. And no I am not using slow external storage. However, I'm still a little curious here. I actually timed the operations for 3 of these PDF files when editing metadata and doing a *copy* in the Finder. Here's what I get:

### Calibre (change title name)
45 seconds for 260.6 MB file
54 seconds for 319.6 MB file
61 seconds for 340.1 MB file

### Finder (copy file)
16 seconds for 260.6 MB file
16 seconds for 319.6 MB file
20 secondss for 340.1 MB file

Why is there such a large time difference?
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:34 PM   #8
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calibre's rename process actually does a double copy when the file is very large (to avoid using too much RAM) something I have managed to find a solution for without using extra RAM, so you should see the calibre times halve in the next release.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:09 PM   #9
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Awesome. Thanks for making software that plugs a yawning gap in the apposphere.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:22 PM   #10
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I did some testing on my computer.

Ubuntu 12.04, AMD FX-8120, 16 GB, 2TB SATA II 5400rpm WD20EARS. Ext4, ~60% used. /tmp in tempfs (RAM). Also SATA II SSD, but that was not used in this test.

I made 10 copies, with different titles, of a 380MB PDF.

Bulkchange author in Calibre:
First run, empty caches: 125 seconds.
Second run: 75 seconds.

Copy the books using Nautilus (default file manager in Ubuntu):
First run, empty caches: 120 seconds.
Second run: 35 seconds!

So caches and available memory seems to have a big impact.
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