I'm developing an application for personal use on my Mac, using the GTAgg backend, which renders a series of plots in a figure in a pygtk scrolled window. I'm currently using matplotlib 0.87.3 installed via Fink. Matplotlib is performing well.
Today I had occasion to log into my Mac over ssh from work. I noted that the application was extremely slow to display the plots. Running locally on my Mac, the application takes about 5 seconds to display the plots when it opens. Remotely, it took around 5 minutes (repeatable). On a whim, I tried changing to the GTK backend - now it displayed the plots in about 20 seconds, which is quite acceptable considering it is remote access over an ssh tunnel.
I checked the CPU usage on both the Mac, and my work PC - the CPU usage was very, very low on both machines, so I'm not sure where the bottleneck lies. My install rights on the work PC are very restricted, so I'm using CygWin via XLiveCD, which I have copied onto the hard drive to speed it up.
This poor performance when using GTKAgg isn't really a problem - I'll code a command line switch to change to the GTK backend for the few times I need remote access. I'm reporting it just in case one of the developers thinks it could be useful to troubleshoot, in case it highlights a problem in the code. I also want to note that the GTK backend is useful to some people, and hope that it will continue to be supported (I seem to recall one mention that it was little used).
Thanks for matplotlib.