performance problems with notmuch new

David Bremner david at
Mon Apr 20 15:36:36 BST 2020

Franz Fellner < at> writes:

> I also suffer from bad performance of notmuch new.  I used notmuch
> some years ago and notmuch new always felt instantanious.  Had to stop
> using it because internet was too slow to sync my mails :/ Now (with
> better internet and a completely new setup using mbsync) indexing one
> mail takes at least 10 seconds, sometimes even more.  It can go into
> minutes when I get lots of mail (~30...).  When I run it after a
> reboot I can have breakfast while notmuch starts up...  This is all on
> spinning rust. I thought of getting an SSD but not in the near future.

I do have at least one spinning rust configuration with about 300k
messages, and notmuch new is still fast there.

> What I observe during that time: notmuch doesn't really need much CPU.
> iotop shows constant read and write with extremely low rates, under
> 1MB/sec.  So I think it might be an issue in xapian?

Just in case one of the xapian experts can suggest some kind of test for
why you might be seeing this behaviour, I've included the xapian list in

> If there is anything I can do to help debug this please tell me

What kind of filesystem do you have on your spinning rust?


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