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teTeX (version 3.0)
teTeX is a complete TeX distribution for UNIX compatible systems, maintained by Thomas Esser. It is based on the web2c distribution which is currently maintained by Olaf Weber.
TeX formats the interspersed text and commands contained in the named files and outputs a typesetter independent file (called DVI, which is short for DeVice Independent). TeX's capabilities and language are described in The TeXbook. TeX is normally used with a large body of precompiled macros, and there are several specific formatting systems, such as LaTeX, which require the support of several macro files.
This version of TeX looks at its command line to see what name it was called under. Both initex and virtex are sym- links to the tex executable. When called as initex (or when the --ini option is given) it can be used to precompile mac- ros into a .fmt file. When called as virtex it will use the plain format. When called under any other name, TeX will use that name as the name of the format to use. For exam- ple, when called as tex the tex format is used, which is identical to the plain format. The commands defined by the plain format are documented in The TeXbook. Other formats that are often available include latex and amstex.
The commands given on the command line to the TeX program are passed to it as the first input line. (But it is often easier to type extended arguments as the first input line, since UNIX shells tend to gobble up or misinterpret TeX's favorite symbols, like backslashes, unless you quote them.) As described in The TeXbook, that first line should begin with a filename, a \controlsequence, or a &formatname.
The normal usage is to say tex paper to start processing paper.tex. The name paper will be the ``jobname'', and is used in forming output filenames. If TeX doesn't get a filename in the first line, the jobname is texput. When looking for a file, TeX looks for the name with and without the default extension (.tex) appended, unless the name already contains that extension. If paper is the ``jobname'', a log of error messages, with rather more detail than normally appears on the screen, will appear in paper.log, and the output file will be in paper.dvi.
This version of TeX can look in the first line of the file paper.tex to see if it begins with the magic sequence %&. If the first line begins with %&format --translate- file tcxname then TeX will use the named format and transa- tion table tcxname to process the source file. Either the format name or the --translate-file specification may be omitted, but not both. This overrides the format selection based on the name by which the program is invoked. The -- parse-first-line option or the parse_first_line configura- tion variable control whether this behaviour is enabled.
The e response to TeX's error prompt causes the system default editor to start up at the current line of the current file. The environment variable TEXEDIT can be used to change the editor used. It may contain a string with "%s" indicating where the filename goes and "%d" indicating where the decimal line number (if any) goes. For example, a TEXEDIT string for emacs can be set with the sh command TEXEDIT="emacs +%d %s"; export TEXEDIT
A convenient file in the library is null.tex, containing nothing. When TeX can't find a file it thinks you want to input, it keeps asking you for another filename; responding `null' gets you out of the loop if you don't want to input anything. You can also type your EOF character (usually control-D).