[tex-live] bibtex's max_print_line

Arthur Ogawa art.ogawa at gmail.com
Sun Feb 7 20:41:26 CET 2010

We are seeing the convergence of two things: 1) long, unbreakable URLs  
or the like and 2) frequent use of TeX multiletter control sequences  
in the .bbl (such as those produced by REVTeX and AIP .bst files).  
Under some circumstances the two will coincide, resulting in a .bbl  
file with a line where a TeX multiletter control sequence will have  
been broken by bibtex's mechanism (insertion of "%<newline>"), which  
is, of course, regarded by TeX as an error.

In bibtex.web:

> @<Constants in the outer block@>=
> @!max_print_line=79; {the maximum: must be |>min_print_line| and | 
> <buf_size|}

I propose a change to the way bibtex handles this parameter, such that  
its value is set via web2c.cfg, with the default value considerably  
larger than the current (79).

A cleaner, more thorough way of handling things would be for bibtex to  
understand what a TeX control sequence is, and to not break the line  

The needed changes could be incorporated into bibtex.ch.

Would such a change be considered meritorious or welcome?

Arthur Ogawa/TeX Consultants

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