[tex-live] tl-pretest: bug in .ini files

Joseph Wright joseph.wright at morningstar2.co.uk
Thu Apr 14 08:16:11 CEST 2016

On 13/04/2016 18:59, Petr Olsak wrote:
> Joseph Wright wrote:
>> There's a wider programming idea that 'data' and 'code' are often best
>> separated, and parsing the older format of pdftexconfig.tex isn't
>> particularly attractive.
> Maybe, there exist a sed/grep etc. scripts for parsing the old format of
> pdftexconfig.tex
> ...
> You cannot imagine how
> many automatons exist in various linux computers based on the old
> format of pdftexconfig.tex.

This is entirely true but the file was never intended for wider use.
It's part of the 'system dependent' code that is used by TeX
distributions. (The settings here are about TeX Live not pdfTeX 'per
se'). In particular, I note that if you look at other TeX distributions
(most obviously MiKTeX) the file may be different. (Yes, it's highly
likely that Linux users are using TL but I'm looking at this from the
wider POV.)

> Now, somebody changes this file.

The file has been changes several times over the years and does not have
a documented format.

> Please, keep the old format of pdftexconfig.tex. 

This is ultimately a call for the TeX Live developers. I've written some
suggested files which they are free to take, ignore or modify.

> It is simple to share these data with LuaTeX. LuaTeX is able to set the
> old names of these seven primitives in \begingroup \endgroup
> environment, set \globaldefs=1 and do \input pdftexconfig, if needed.
> And all is more simple.

It's more complex than that as in LuaTeX we'd have to track which
primitives we'd enabled that way and clean them up afterwards (so that
the config file has no impact on primitive availability). (Using the Lua
interface doesn't help if relying on reading a file written in TeX
primitives.) Moreover, that leaves issues for any other format that also
needs this data: the settings are originally for pdfTeX but are really
for 'TeX formats generating direct PDF output', which covers more that

>> pdfTeX has had the extensions for many years, and the standard
>> format-building routine enables them. Indeed, it's pretty unusual to
>> want no e-TeX but other additions:
> "pdftex -ini" is default starting point for pdfTeX and this default does
> not indludes eTeX extensions. You cannot generalize what is "prety
> unusual" only from the state of your computer.

I wasn't, but rather from the nature of the formats one gets from a
standard TeX installation. Both of the 'big' distributions (TeX Live and
MiKTeX) build formats with e-TeX enable other than for "tex". There's no
particular need to build new formats with the extensions disabled even
if you don't like them: you can simply not use them, and TeX will behave
as it always has (though of course with direct PDF output).

As I've said, I'd be happy to adjust my suggestion so it will work for
non-e-TeX cases. I can see your point about scripts so I can look at
dealing with renames from the LuaTeX end, though I'm mindful that this
might not be too popular with the TL team at this stage. I'll wait to
hear from them before doing anything.


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