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Re: rethinking @def*

From: pertusus
Subject: Re: rethinking @def*
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 18:59:53 +0200

On Tue, Jul 26, 2022 at 04:43:06PM +0000, Werner LEMBERG wrote:
> > Another reason for changing the formatting is that there is a new
> > output format being implemented, to LaTeX.  Should the 'flawed'
> > semantics be used for that new output format too, mimicking TeX
> > output even when it does not make sense?
> IMHO, it's quite simple: All output formats, i.e., TeX, HTML, and the
> new LaTeX backend, should produce identical output if technically
> possible – and for LaTeX it's definitely possible :-) Anything else
> makes texinfo harder to use.

I can't see why having different output makes texinfo harder to use.

Having all output identical does not seem to me to be a goal of Texinfo
formatting.  To me an important element of the Texinfo philosophy is
that the Texinfo code describes the intent of the document, not the
formatting.  As long as the formatting convey this intent, the details
of the formatting are not relevant and differences among outputs are
not an issue.  If some formatting looks better, then it could be used in
the different formats, simply because it looks better, but not because
there would be a goal of identical output.

TeX and LaTeX are very similar, such that it would make sense to try to
have similar formatting too.  But similar is not the same, even if
technically possible.  For instance, it is possible to tune the LaTeX
output to have the same spacing before chapters, same formatting of
chapter title presentation than in TeX PDF output, but I think that it
is not a good idea to do so.  Both the formatting of chapters as done in
LaTeX in the default case and done by Texinfo TeX convey the semantics
of a chapter.

(As a side note, I think that there is too much information in the
Texinfo manual on the formatting, but it is not an issue if the wording
shows that it is a possibility for formatting not necessarily the


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