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Re: [help-texinfo] preferred way to change output for a macro

From: Karl Berry
Subject: Re: [help-texinfo] preferred way to change output for a macro
Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2013 21:47:53 GMT

Hi Robert,

It's not just you :).

    Surely it is not suggesting that such changes are easy for Texinfo
    developers alone,

[Wrote this yesterday, failed to send, somewhat overlaps with Patrice's
mail just sent, sigh.]

I agree it's bizarre nowadays, but I think that was in fact the intent
when it was originally written.  For the first years of Texinfo, people
formatted it in Emacs, with M-x texinfo-format-buffer.  In that context,
it is natural to redefine Lisp functions to do something different
without any further ado.  And the number of developers of Texinfo (and
GNU) was roughly equal to the number of the users.

Anyway.  The contemporary question is, should we allow redefinitions
of Texinfo commands without a warning?  I'm not sure.  In your case, it
is harmless -- you know what you are doing and what you want.  (By the
way, what specifically is your preferred output for @var?  I'm just
curious.)  But I can easily imagine people using @macro to unknowingly
redefine a lesser-known Texinfo command, with consequent confusion down
the line.

In any case, clearly the documentation needs to be improved.
(Most minorly, that "intentiontal" should be "intensional".  Anyway.)


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