[texhax] controlling screen error messages

Michael Doob mdoob at cc.UManitoba.CA
Thu Oct 30 17:32:58 CET 2003

I'm wondering if anyone has looked into controlling the error messages
sent to the screen. For example, the message 

  Overfull \hbox (37.2001pt too wide) in paragraph at lines 2135--2138
  []\OT1/cmr/m/it/10 If $\OML/cmm/m/it/10 f\OT1/cmr/m/n/10 (\OML/cmm/m/it/10 x\OT
  1/cmr/m/n/10 ) \OMS/cmsy/m/n/10 ^^T \OML/cmm/m/it/10 g\OT1/cmr/m/n/10 (\OML/cmm
  /m/it/10 x\OT1/cmr/m/n/10 ) \OMS/cmsy/m/n/10 ^^T \OML/cmm/m/it/10 h\OT1/cmr/m/n
  /10 (\OML/cmm/m/it/10 x\OT1/cmr/m/n/10 )$ \OT1/cmr/m/it/10 near $\OML/cmm/m/it/
  10 a$\OT1/cmr/m/it/10 , and $[][] \OML/cmm/m/it/10 f\OT1/cmr/m/n/10 (\OML/cmm/m
  /it/10 x\OT1/cmr/m/n/10 ) =

might be considered a bit of overkill. Resetting of \errorcontextlines 
doesn't seem to have sufficient control over the \errmessage call.
The generated message seems not to be controlled in the lterror module
in LaTeX.

The motivation is a case of an excess of riches. I'm writing a set of
course notes as I'm lecturing this term, and I have about 100 pages so
far. When I TeX the notes, the system time usage (according to the "time"
UNIX command) is 0.000 seconds [sic]. However, there are several seconds
of error messages of the type above which I don't want to completely
suppress or change at this point since the final format has yet to be
dermined. I'd also like to leave things like \hfuzz alone. Now 
I'll 'fess up to the fact that what I actually do is run something like

latex my-great-opus.tex | egrep "^! | lines |^l\."

which is UNIX talk to print only lines that start with "!", start with
"l." or contain the string " lines ". This keeps me happy so this
is more of a curiosity-motivated question. 

Nonetheless I'm curious if anyone has done anything to control the screen


PS If the program produces the same dvi file, the same log file but different
screen messages, can you still call it TeX? :-) 
[NOTE THE SMILEY: please, please don't actually start a thread on this topic.]

Michael Doob                    Telephone: (204) 474-9796
Department of Mathematics       Fax: (204) 474-7606
University of Manitoba          email: Michael_Doob at umanitoba.ca
Winnipeg, MB, Canada R3T 2N2

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