The GNU Documentation Format

for Texinfo version 3.12

February 1998

Robert J. Chassell
Richard M. Stallman


Note that the first syllable of "Texinfo" is pronounced like "speck", not "hex". This odd pronunciation is derived from, but is not the same as, the pronunciation of TeX. In the word TeX, the `X' is actually the Greek letter "chi" rather than the English letter "ex". Pronounce TeX as if the `X' were the last sound in the name `Bach'; but pronounce Texinfo as if the `x' were a `k'. Spell "Texinfo" with a capital "T" and write the other letters in lower case.


In some documents, the first child has no `Previous' pointer. Occasionally, the last child has the node name of the next following higher level node as its `Next' pointer.


You can also use the texi2roff program if you do not have TeX; since Texinfo is designed for use with TeX, texi2roff is not described here. texi2roff is not part of the standard GNU distribution.


The word argument comes from the way it is used in mathematics and does not refer to a disputation between two people; it refers to the information presented to the command. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word derives from the Latin for to make clear, prove; thus it came to mean `the evidence offered as proof', which is to say, `the information offered', which led to its mathematical meaning. In its other thread of derivation, the word came to mean `to assert in a manner against which others may make counter assertions', which led to the meaning of `argument' as a disputation.


We have found that it is helpful to refer to versions of manuals as `editions' and versions of programs as `versions'; otherwise, we find we are liable to confuse each other in conversation by referring to both the documentation and the software with the same words.


Menus can carry you to any node, regardless of the hierarchical structure; even to nodes in a different Info file. However, the GNU Emacs Texinfo mode updating commands work only to create menus of subordinate nodes. Conventionally, cross references are used to refer to other nodes.


Currently, @definfoenclose works only with texinfo-format-buffer and texinfo-format-region, not with makeinfo.


It would be straightforward to extend Texinfo to work in a similar fashion for C, Fortran, or other languages.


A footnote should complement or expand upon the primary text, but a reader should not need to read a footnote to understand the primary text. For a thorough discussion of footnotes, see The Chicago Manual of Style, which is published by the University of Chicago Press.


Here is the sample footnote.


Perhaps the command should have been called the @refillandindent command, but @refill is shorter and the name was chosen before indenting was possible.

This document was generated on 9 March 1998 using the texi2html translator version 1.51a.