[pdftex] texi2dvi does not generate dvi on Debian Etch and MacOS X

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Thu Aug 2 23:24:07 CEST 2007

Karl Berry writes:

 >     It doesn't work either, texinfo.tex seems to be a moving target and it
 >     always causes headaches.
 > I am depressed to hear you say so.  

Sorry, but it's certainly not your fault.  As Anton supposed, I just
downloaded the latest release of gforth (0.6.2) offered by Gentoo
Linux and this is quite old.  

 > Yes, it is updated frequently, but we (Oleg and I) try very hard to
 > keep it compatible.

 > The particular incompatibility introduced in the TeX system regarding
 > the \pdfoutput test was highly unfortunate IMHO, but there's no use
 > discussing that again.

I must admit that in the last few years I didn't compile many texinfo
files.  Many years ago, (before \pdfoutput came into the play,) I
collected texinfo files because they are usually not installed and if
someone wants to print the manual he has to download the software again.

Almost all .texi files had been accompanied by a texinfo.tex file.
IMO this was reasonable at this time.  Knuth's TeX was frozen and the
best thing one could do was to provide the macro package on which a
particular document depends.

I remember that there had been many problems (error messages).

But maybe there is a simple explanation:  Most authors create only the
info files from the top level makefiles.  Probably DVI/PDF output is
not always well tested when the .texi files are changed.

This is the only explanation I have for things not working with
Knuth's TeX and with a provided texinfo.tex.  I thought a lot about
this during the last few days and I can't understand how it can work
for the author but not for me.  Anyway, since I don't have another
explanation I'd like to redraw my statement "texinfo is a moving

Since we have pdftex now, I agree with Robin that it's better to rely
on the most recent version of texinfo.tex instead of providing an
older version.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-4592165
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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