> This makes me wonder if we are looking in the wrong place.  Maybe the
> problem is coming from psql?  More results to follow.

problem is not coming from psql.  

One thing I did notice that in a 250k insert transaction the insert time
grows with #recs inserted.  Time to insert first 50k recs is about 27
sec and last 50 k recs is 77 sec.  I also confimed that size of table is
not playing a role here.

Marc, can you do select timeofday() every 50k recs from linux?  Also a
gprof trace from linux would be helpful.


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TIP 9: In versions below 8.0, the planner will ignore your desire to
       choose an index scan if your joining column's datatypes do not

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