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I can see that MiKTeX 2.9 (of which I use the "Portable" version) has an executable for "mft", which (if run with no arguments) will crash and print:

 Usage: mft inputfile changefile stylefile outputfile. (l.0)

I cant't find any other documentation, besides a brief one-line summary of the purpose of mft. This is the most I can get it to do:

 E:\home\tex\metafont>touch null.ch

 E:\home\tex\metafont>mft modes.mf null.ch \Tools\miktex-2.9\mft\plain.mft modes.tex
 This is MFT, Version 2.0 (MiKTeX 2.9)
 mft: Read operation failed.

Judging by the output of SysInternals' procmon tool, it looks like it must be objecting to "null.ch" being empty, but I haven't the foggiest idea why it demands such a file :-(. Any clues??

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

In general these more "exotic" (old) tools expects in miktex exactly the arguments they mention. I could run mft with the command line

mft script10.mf test.ch plain.mft script10.tex

test.ch is a text file with only a percentchar (%) as content (I minimized an existing ch-file). plain.mft I found on CTAN.

The output is a plainTeX-file. It doesn't have a \bye at the end (this is probably intended to that you can input it in another document), but apart from this one can compile it with pdftex.

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I guess I should have tried something like that to see if it would passify MikTeX -- but no, I went and decided to assume that it would be consistant, and always complain at EOF. (That, and I wasn't familiar enough with the syntax to realize that I could put anything but whitespace inside a zero-section change file. ;-) – SamB Feb 8 '11 at 19:26
I wonder if that would also pacify weave, which I've since noticed seems to suffer from something very similar... – SamB Feb 8 '11 at 19:27

Hm, I am looking at the man page for the linux TexLive 2009 mft, and it says that the change file and the style file are optional. It also says "Specify command-line options -c to suppress the reading of a change file, and -s to suppress the reading of a style file." You can try to leave out the null.ch or replace it by -c.

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Yeah, I looked at that too, but the MiKTeX port is unfortunately different. Perhaps it is just plain broken? – SamB Dec 19 '10 at 22:28
Hmm, I wonder how much of TeX Live would be needed to use their MFT, though? – SamB Dec 19 '10 at 22:37

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