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Re: [help-texinfo] Formatting syntax rules

From: Karl Berry
Subject: Re: [help-texinfo] Formatting syntax rules
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 2004 19:06:40 -0500

Hi Laurance,

    would this cause any problems with respect to copyright?

Nah.  Knuth first wrote all that stuff long before "free software" (let
alone "open source") and the GPL came into existence.  As a result, many
of his files are not legalistically pristine as the OSI would like.  But
Knuth being Knuth, I am not about to pester him to add copyright
statements to these old files instead of working on volume 4.

As far as manmac.tex goes, I'm sure the same conditions as plain.tex
apply, which is that anything goes as long as you don't distribute a
modified under the same name.  Which you wouldn't be doing.  So that's
fine.  A-W's copyright applies specifically to texbook.tex, not

Re @quotation, it's not important, but I still don't understand your
objection to using it (if it helps).  It hasn't ever essentially changed
since day 1, and I can't imagine it changing now.  Whatever.

Re adding support for syntax rules, I wasn't thinking of defining a new
environment (I'm not sure if that's what you had in mind), but rather
just one new markup command, say @bnfvar, which would output
$\langle$argument$\rangle$.  Is that enough, or would you want more?

    By the way, is there a particular reason why `texi2dvi' can generate
    menus and links to the previous, next, etc., nodes, 

Um, I'm a bit confused.  texi2dvi doesn't generate any menus or links,
unless you count the table of contents.

    while `makeinfo' needs to have them in the files?

I guess you are referring to the prev/next/up pointers on @node lines.

It is true that makeinfo needs to have @node lines with the node name,
and the menus listing the subsections.  However, given those, it is not
necessary to write the prev/next/up pointers on the @node lines,
makeinfo can deduce them (assuming a normally structured manual).  This
is, in fact, the recommended way to write Texinfo sources.  It's
described in the "makeinfo Pointer Creation" node of the Texinfo manual,
among other places.

There are Emacs commands for generating/updating menus (described in the
chapter on the Emacs mode), although I rarely use them myself, I usually
just write them in by hand.


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