[tex-live] texdoc error

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Thu Sep 11 03:05:38 CEST 2008

Siep Kroonenberg writes:

 > Most DOS commands have a /? switch. Reinhard had a script to collect
 > all such output into a pdf.

The script contained a list of programs I derived from cmd /? and
redirects the help messages to a file.  It's not very helpful.  The
sole reason for writing it was that I only have access to a German
version of Windows and I needed the help messages in English.  I sent
it to Phil, he run it on his machine, and sent me the output.
Converting the text file to latex had been done more or less manually
using regexps in Emacs.

The resulting pdf can be downloaded from:


However, I'll remove it in a couple of days because it's not TeX

The file doesn't provide any other information than you can get with
<command> /? but I think it's more convenient if you want to get an
overview or you are on Unix.  And it only covers cmd.exe.

Always keep in mind that the help messages are incomplete.  Don't make
any assumptions if something is not clearly specified.

For instance, COPY on Windows provides the switches /A for ASCII files and
/B for binary files.  But the help message doesn't tell you what COPY
does by default.  Don't assume it does something useful.

Our first attempt to support network installs was to use pipes

  wget | lzmadec | tar

but it doesn't work reliably on Windows.  Some files couldn't be
de-compressed properly.  We _***_wasted 3 weeks_***_ until we found
out that pipes on Windows try to find out whether a file is ASCII or
binary.  This can never work reliably.  When it assumes the file is
ASCII it "repairs" line breaks.  The behavior is not specified
anywhere AFAIK.  I searched Google ad nauseam.

Whether COPY runs in binary mode or makes some assumptions by default
is not specified.  Finding it out requires an enormous effort in
reverse-engineering.  And an enourmous amount of time.

Furthermore, not everything what Microsoft claims is true.

Sometimes it happens that I get a "permission denied" error when I say
start "" "foo.pdf".  I can repair it with "chmod a+x foo.pdf" in
Cygwin but Microsoft claims that the executable flag is ignored.  It
is definitely not ignored by cmd.exe, but it's ignored by the Widows
Exploder.  Sigh!


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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