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I am trying to compile a .tex file with pdflatex. The file isn't totally valid - but this isn't the point here. One line causes the compilation to fail : \RequirePackage{lastpage} causes the following error !LaTeX Error: file 'lastpage.sty' not found.

But the issue is that pdflatex asks me for a substitute file to use, rather than exiting.

Since the call to pdflatex is within some code, I don't want it to be hanging around waiting for some input when none will be provided. Therefore, I called pdflatex with the -halt-on-error option. But this didn't solve it, and pdflatex still expects an input.

Am I missing something with the -halt-on-error option?

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Indeed, -halt-on-error doesn't stop at missing files. You can combine it with -interaction=nonstopmode, though, like in

pdflatex -halt-on-error -interaction=nonstopmode file
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