[texhax] interactive vs. "emergency stop" TeX

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Thu Aug 24 00:57:28 CEST 2006

Dear texhax community,

-- sorry if I have spent too little time on further own investigations
-- but otherwise I hardly could raise the issue -- which seems
quite important to me.

Some TeX versions seem to leave "end-users" entirely "helpless"
literally because they refuse to wait for an H' in order to
provide the \errhelp after an \errmessage. They just abort.

I could understand this for TeX installs on public servers
which ought not to wait an entire night for many users'
answers on queries how to proceed. However, the WinShell
version -- showing the same behaviour in an extreme way
-- seems to be widespread just for 1-PC-installs
(while some UNIX-installs seem to support some limited
interaction -- \typein ...).
-- Here I admit that I have not investigated all potential
ways to contact Ingo de Boer (I'm especially afraid of
some usual confirmation' procedure which urges me to
days ago).

I also wonder whether I have missed some command like
\batchmode to change the behaviour of those TeX versions.

Refusal of interaction mode also means that docstrip.tex
can't be used the way it originally was intended for;
similarly with nfssfont.tex.

Some dilemma arises from this for me as package writer:
mere \PackageWarning's are typically ignored by "end-users"
entirely; while with a \PackageError they are just puzzled
and get no output at all.

I also started to work at a debugging or teaching tool
that would be quite useless with non-interactive TeX versions.

I would be happy about any hints or discussion or confessions