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[help-texinfo] Formatting syntax rules

From: Laurence Finston
Subject: [help-texinfo] Formatting syntax rules
Date: Mon, 06 Dec 2004 23:57:53 +0100
User-agent: IMHO/0.98.3+G (Webmail for Roxen)

Hi Karl, Stepan, et al,

I've given up on the idea of trying to use Texinfo macros for formatting
syntax rules and am now putting them in address@hidden' and address@hidden' 
environments.  I'm
still experimenting with the TeX macros.  I've taken a look at what Knuth does
and it's not too complicated, so I may adapt it.  Karl, would this cause any
problems with respect to copyright?  `manmac.tex' is documented in _The
TeXbook_, but there is no copyright notice in `manmac.tex' and the one
in `texbook.tex' is about as restrictive as it can be:

% This manual is copyright (C) 1984 by the American Mathematical Society.
% All rights are reserved!
% The file is distributed only for people to see its examples of TeX input,
% not for use in the preparation of books like The TeXbook.
% Permission for any other use of this file must be obtained in writing
% from the copyright holder and also from the publisher (Addison-Wesley).

I doubt that it's Knuth's intention to prevent people from using the macros,
but he's not the copyright holder, and the situation seems so unclear to me
that I thought I'd better ask you.

I generally use only `texi2dvi' when I'm writing and `makeinfo' only when I
start working on the final draft, so it's not a problem for me at the moment
to write the syntax rules the way I've described.  However, it will be a lot
of work later, particularly since I may have to format HTML and Info
differently.  I'm not complaining about macros not working well in 
environments.  I don't know anything about the implementation of `texi2dvi'
and `makeinfo', but I can imagine it would be tricky to implement macros.  I
don't want to use address@hidden' because I think doing so would defeat the
purpose of using markup in the first place.  This isn't a theoretical
objection;  it would make things hard for me if I decided to handle my
quotations and/or displays differently, or if the Texinfo format changed in a
subsequent version.

In the long run, I think it would be best if the Texinfo developers came up
with something for syntax rules, especially since you say that other people
have asked for it.  I'd be happy to test whatever you come up with.  I'd have
to ask for more disk space from the sysadmin here, but I'm pretty sure he'd
give it to me.

By the way, is there a particular reason why `texi2dvi' can generate menus and
links to the previous, next, etc., nodes, while `makeinfo' needs to have them
in the files?  That's one of the reasons I don't use `makeinfo' until I start
working on the final draft, because of the clutter in the input files.  Again,
I'm not complaining.  I know how much work is involved in programming.



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