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tramp 2.0.39 and Texinfo

From: Karl Berry
Subject: tramp 2.0.39 and Texinfo
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2004 18:51:35 -0400

I recently downloaded tramp 2.0.39, and found some unfortunate
interactions with the current Texinfo.

Although makeinfo runs ok, texi2dvi does not.  I get errors like this
with the current texinfo.tex, with either etex or tex.

.../tramp-2.0.39/texi/trampver.texi:142: Missing control sequence inserted
.../tramp-2.0.39/texi/trampver.texi:142: Missing control sequence inserted

As Texinfo maintainer, naturally I'd like to fix the problems, but
unfortunately I could not follow all the complex macro definitions and
conditionals in the manual so as to get something I could work with.
(The source of the problem happens long before the error messages are
given, I could tell that much, but not what was actually going on.)

What I can suggest to make the manual more robust is the following:

1) minimize use of @macro.  In particular, you are defining the
   installation chapter as a macro.  I'm sure this is contributing to
   the problem.  It would be better to @include it directly.  Since the
   text is coming from the separate trampinst.texi file already, I'm not
   clear why it's being stuffed into a macro.

2) do not use - in @set/@value names, stick to letters only.  Although
   it works in simple cases, in complex cases where the @value's happen
   inside macros or conditionals, it can fail.

3) do not use @-commands in node names.  This is not supported.  Only
   one node (Obtaining @tramp{}) does so.  Sure, I know it's cleaner to
   always use the macro, but ...

Some or all of the above might make things work.

I'm sorry for these limitations in Texinfo, but they are not likely to
be fixed any time soon.  They are all difficult problems.

If you feel like trying to debug, you can get the latest texinfo.tex
from gnulib cvs ( or, among other places.

Happy documenting,

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