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Texinfo macros and m4

From: Karl Berry
Subject: Texinfo macros and m4
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2011 22:54:39 GMT

Werner and all,

Regarding macros in general.  I've been trying, and I have become
skeptical that there is any way to devise a new Texinfo macro command
that does not run afoul of many of the same issues. In particular, TeX
cannot precisely control behavior at newlines, and newline-delimited
commands are a big part of Texinfo.  Highly unfortunate.

Patrice and I haven't had a chance to discuss this in detail yet, but at
present it seems to me that the most robust plan would be to simply
provide an option to run the document through m4 before Texinfo.  That
would provide a completely defined solution, with far more features than
we would ever want to do in Texinfo, and should seemingly be
straightforward to do -- more straightforward than implementing another
macro command ourselves, at least.  And it could be implemented in
texi2dvi as well as makeinfo(/texi2any), which is a benefit.

Aside from a cmdline option, it also occurs to me that we could support
a magic string on the \input texinfo line that the processors could
detect, so that the need for m4 would be self-specified in the file.
\input texinfo   @c -*-texinfo-*- `m4needed'

(Since `...' is the standard m4 quoting.  Of course such a string can be



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