[texhax] interactive vs. "emergency stop" TeX

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Wed Aug 30 13:42:36 CEST 2006

OK, sorry (as often),

concerning my earlier posting (cf. below):
the TeX version that I blamed in the first instance is
part of the MiKTeX distribution (WinShell seems to
use MiKTeX applications by default -- so I must rather
get hold of Christian Schenk then of Ingo de Boer
-- yet the MiKTeX version my boss uses is 2.4,
which is "unsupported" now, and currently I cannot
test TeX versions of MiKTeX version 2.5 [my boss
is averse to updating currently.]).

To clarify the intentions of my previous posting:

1. I think that PC users should be provided with a
fully "interactive" version of TeX (not aborting at
\show or \typein etc.);

2. I would like to know whether network
administrators who provide their users with
a TeX version limited with respect to interactivity
at least have personal access to a fully interactive
implemention of TeX.



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
search for some password I should have received some
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
from lazy administrators or ...



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