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

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Tue Jul 31 04:58:59 CEST 2007

Anton Ertl writes:

 > texi2dvi from texinfo 4.8 and 4.9 generates PDF instead of dvi on
 > Debian Etch, even when I ask for dvi with --dvi.
 > The reason seems to be that texi2dvi calls etex, and etex looks as
 > follows on this system:
 > lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 7 Apr 10 11:48 /usr/bin/etex -> pdfetex*
 > Now maybe this is a configuration error on Debian, but I also have a
 > report that on MacOS X (with texinfo 4.8), the same thing happens, so
 > maybe this is some general new way of installing etex.

This is ok.  There had been many TeX engines in the past but nowadays
there is only pdfetex.  There is only one exception, the program "tex"
is exactly Knuth's TeX.

[To be more exact, pdfetex is called pdftex now and there is an
other exception, namely XeTeX.  But this doesn't matter here.]

pdfetex can produce DVI or PDF, dependent on the value of \pdfoutput.
This variable is usually set in the format file: latex produces DVI
and pdflatex produces PDF, but they are both symlinks to pdfetex.

The -output-format switch is probably applied after the format file is
loaded, but I suppose that \pdfoutput can be changed later,
i.e. before the first page is shipped out.  I fear that the culprit is

I just downloaded and compiled gforth, and indeed, it produces PDF.
The reason is that it is accompanied by an old version of
texinfo.tex.  If I remove it, a newer version I have on my system is
used and I get DVI output.

It doesn't work either, texinfo.tex seems to be a moving target and it
always causes headaches.


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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