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I just installed texlive and I am running a series of tests recommended in section 3.5 of the official documentation. The tests are working as expected but when I get to testfont.tex I am getting !corrupt nfss table, Overfull hbox, \nopagenumbers, Undefined control sequence and Missing \begin{document} errors. What's causing these errors; is it something I am doing wrong or a problem with the installation? There are no instructions on how to run these tests so I mostly used return at prompts. How can I know what inputs to give at the prompt?

[user@host ~]$ latex testfont
This is pdfTeX, Version 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.19 (TeX Live 2018) (preloaded format=latex)
 restricted \write18 enabled.
entering extended mode
(/usr/local/texlive/2018/texmf-dist/tex/plain/knuth-lib/testfont.tex
LaTeX2e <2018-04-01> patch level 5
! Undefined control sequence.
l.6 \nopagenumbers

? 

Name of the font to test = 

kpathsea: Running mktextfm 
/usr/local/texlive/2018/texmf-dist/web2c/mktexnam: Could not map source abbreviation 6 for 600.
/usr/local/texlive/2018/texmf-dist/web2c/mktexnam: Need to update /usr/local/texlive/2018/texmf-dist/fonts/map/fontname/special.map?
mktextfm: Running mf-nowin -progname=mf \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input 
This is METAFONT, Version 2.7182818 (TeX Live 2018) (preloaded base=mf)


kpathsea: Running mktexmf 
! I can't find file `'.
<*> \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input

Please type another input file name
! Emergency stop.
<*> \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input

Transcript written on mfput.log.
grep: .log: No such file or directory
mktextfm: `mf-nowin -progname=mf \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input ' failed to make .tfm.
kpathsea: Appending font creation commands to missfont.log.
! Font \testfont= not loadable: Metric (TFM) file not found.
<to be read again> 
                   \par 
l.208 \ifx\noinit!\else\init
                            \fi
? 
! Undefined control sequence.
<argument> \sevenrm 
                    Test of \fontname \unskip \ on \today \ at \hours 
l.208 \ifx\noinit!\else\init
                            \fi
? 
Now type a test command (\help for help):)
*\help

\init switches to another font;
\end or \bye finishes the run;
\table prints the font layout in tabular format;
\text prints a sample text, assuming TeX text font conventions;
\sample combines \table and \text;
\mixture mixes a background character with a series of others;
\alternation interleaves a background character with a series;
\alphabet prints all lowercase letters within a given background;
\ALPHABET prints all uppercase letters within a given background;
\series prints a series of letters within a given background;
\lowers prints a comprehensive test of lowercase;
\uppers prints a comprehensive test of uppercase;
\digits prints a comprehensive test of numerals;
\math prints a comprehensive test of TeX math italic;
\names prints a text that mixes upper and lower case;
\punct prints a punctuation test;
\bigtest combines many of the above routines;
\help repeats this message;
and you can use ordinary TeX commands (e.g., to \input a file).
*\names

! LaTeX Error: Missing \begin{document}.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Compani
on for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.
 ...                                              

<*> \names

? H
You're in trouble here.  Try typing  <return>  to proceed.
If that doesn't work
, type  X <return>  to quit.
? 

LaTeX Font Warning: Font shape `/cmr/m/n' undefined
(Font)              using 
`/cmr/m/n' instead on input line 0.

! Corrupted NFSS tables.
wrong
fontshape ...rmessage {Corrupted NFSS tables}
                                                  error
fontshape else let f...
<*> \names

? X
No pages of output.
Transcript written on testfont.log.

Some more code:

[user@host ~]$ latex testfont.tex
This is pdfTeX, Version 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.19 (TeX Live 2018) (preloaded format=latex)
 restricted \write18 enabled.
entering extended mode
(/usr/local/texlive/2018/texmf-dist/tex/plain/knuth-lib/testfont.tex
LaTeX2e <2018-04-01> patch level 5
! Undefined control sequence.
l.6 \nopagenumbers

? \help
Type <return> to proceed, S to scroll future error messages,
R to run without stopping, Q to run quietly,
I to insert something, E to edit your file,
1 or ... or 9 to ignore the next 1 to 9 tokens of input,
H for help, X to quit.
? H
The control sequence at the end of the top line
of your error message was never \def'ed. If you have
misspelled it (e.g., `\hobx'), type `I' and the correct
spelling (e.g., `I\hbox'). Otherwise just continue,
and I'll forget about whatever was undefined.

? 

Name of the font to test = cmr

kpathsea: Running mktextfm cmr
mktextfm: Running mf-nowin -progname=mf \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input cmr
This is METAFONT, Version 2.7182818 (TeX Live 2018) (preloaded base=mf)


kpathsea: Running mktexmf cmr
mf: no pointsize.
! I can't find file `cmr'.
<*> \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input cmr

Please type another input file name
! Emergency stop.
<*> \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input cmr

Transcript written on mfput.log.
grep: cmr.log: No such file or directory
mktextfm: `mf-nowin -progname=mf \mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; nonstopmode; input cmr' failed to make cmr.tfm.
kpathsea: Appending font creation commands to missfont.log.
! Font \testfont=cmr not loadable: Metric (TFM) file not found.
<to be read again> 
                   \spaceskip 
l.208 \ifx\noinit!\else\init
                            \fi
? H
I wasn't able to read the size data for this font,
so I will ignore the font specification.
[Wizards can fix TFM files using TFtoPL/PLtoTF.]
You might try inserting a different font spec;
e.g., type `I\font<same font id>=<substitute font name>'.

? H
Sorry, I already gave what help I could...
Maybe you should try asking a human?
An error might have occurred before I noticed any problems.
``If all else fails, read the instructions.''

? 
! Undefined control sequence.
<argument> \sevenrm 
                    Test of \fontname \unskip \ on \today \ at \hours 
l.208 \ifx\noinit!\else\init
                            \fi
? 
Now type a test command (\help for help):)
*
(Please type a command or say `\end')
*\help

\init switches to another font;
\end or \bye finishes the run;
\table prints the font layout in tabular format;
\text prints a sample text, assuming TeX text font conventions;
\sample combines \table and \text;
\mixture mixes a background character with a series of others;
\alternation interleaves a background character with a series;
\alphabet prints all lowercase letters within a given background;
\ALPHABET prints all uppercase letters within a given background;
\series prints a series of letters within a given background;
\lowers prints a comprehensive test of lowercase;
\uppers prints a comprehensive test of uppercase;
\digits prints a comprehensive test of numerals;
\math prints a comprehensive test of TeX math italic;
\names prints a text that mixes upper and lower case;
\punct prints a punctuation test;
\bigtest combines many of the above routines;
\help repeats this message;
and you can use ordinary TeX commands (e.g., to \input a file).
*\table

! LaTeX Error: Missing \begin{document}.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Compani
on for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.
 ...                                              

<*> \table

? H
You're in trouble here.  Try typing  <return>  to proceed.
If that doesn't work
, type  X <return>  to quit.
? X
No pages of output.
Transcript written on testfont.log.
[user@host ~]$ latex testfont.tex
This is pdfTeX, Version 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.19 (TeX Live 2018) (preloaded format=latex)
 restricted \write18 enabled.
entering extended mode
(/usr/local/texlive/2018/texmf-dist/tex/plain/knuth-lib/testfont.tex
LaTeX2e <2018-04-01> patch level 5
! Undefined control sequence.
l.6 \nopagenumbers

? 

Name of the font to test = cmr10
! Undefined control sequence.
<argument> \sevenrm 
                    Test of \fontname \unskip \ on \today \ at \hours 
l.208 \ifx\noinit!\else\init
                            \fi
? 
Now type a test command (\help for help):)
*\help

\init switches to another font;
......
! LaTeX Error: Missing \begin{document}.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Compani
on for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.
 ...                                              

<*> \lowers

? H
You're in trouble here.  Try typing  <return>  to proceed.
If that doesn't work
, type  X <return>  to quit.
? 

Overfull \hbox (5.00002pt too wide) detected at line 0
[]\testfont a 

Overfull \hbox (15.00005pt too wide) detected at line 0
\testfont aaa 

Overfull \hbox (15.5556pt too wide) detected at line 0
\testfont aba 

Overfull \hbox (14.44447pt too wide) detected at line 0
\testfont aca 

Overfull \hbox (15.5556pt too wide) detected at line 0
\testfont ada 


! LaTeX Error: Missing \begin{document}.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Compani
on for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.
 ...                                              

<*> \lowers

? H
You're in trouble here.  Try typing  <return>  to proceed.
If that doesn't work
, type  X <return>  to quit.
? x
Output written on testfont.dvi (1 page, 556 bytes).
Transcript written on testfont.log.
  • 1
    This simply means this file isn't for LaTeX but for TeX. tex testfont. At the prompt enter cmr10. Then type \help for instructions. – user4686 Jun 12 '18 at 9:22
  • @jfbu, I'm switching from libreoffice/word. I always assumed Tex was thesame as LaTex? The command worked for small2e.tex e.g.latex small2e, why wouldn't it work for testfont.tex as well? – MyWrathAcademia Jun 12 '18 at 9:28
  • When you use tex it loads a set of macros called Plain TeX. LaTeX is a much larger set of macros (which partially includes Plain TeX). When you execute latex it will first load the Knuth TeX program (more precisely PDFTeX set to run in dvi mode, this includes e-TeX extensions) and then the "latex format" which is a memory dump of all pre-parsed LaTeX2e macros and defines what \documentclass etc... means. – user4686 Jun 12 '18 at 9:47
  • The \nopagenumbers is one of those Plain TeX macros which LaTeX does not define. LaTeX like Plain TeX is based upon TeX the language and its circa 300 "primitives". Both LaTeX and Plain TeX are sets of macros. Nowadays running latex on command line means executing pdftex binary with latex format and dvi mode (use pdflatex for pdf mode). Running tex means executing pdftex with e-TeX extensions off and loading Plain macros, because tex must be strictly compliant to Knuth's original program. – user4686 Jun 12 '18 at 9:51
  • thanks @jfbu for the detailed exposition. I noticed dvi mode gives a much smaller file than the pdf mode, in terms of appearance are they all of the same quality? – MyWrathAcademia Jun 12 '18 at 9:54
4

The doc you linked to says:

Standard test files you may find useful in addition to sample2e.tex:

small2e.tex

    A simpler document than sample2e, to reduce the input size if you’re having troubles. 
testpage.tex

    Test if your printer introduces any offsets. 
nfssfont.tex

    For printing font tables and tests. 
testfont.tex

    Also for font tables, but using plain TEX. 
story.tex

    The most canonical (plain) TEX test file of all. You must type ‘\bye’ to the * prompt after ‘tex story.tex’.

So testfont.tex is to be used with tex (or etex) not latex.

You can do latex nfssfont instead.

  • I see now, thanks I'm gonna try it. Can you confirm that nfssfont.tex and testfont.tex both test thesame thing but` nfssfont.tex` is for latex while testfont.tex is for tex. – MyWrathAcademia Jun 12 '18 at 9:32
  • A diff of the two files shows they are very very similar with nfssont.tex adding (few) LaTeX specific things: which is natural because LaTeX has its own (evolved) user interface for fonts. I definitely confirm this one is for LaTeX (NFSS= new font selection system I think) and the other specifically for TeX. – user4686 Jun 12 '18 at 9:38
  • thank @jfbu for the answer. The link you provided isn't working for me, even after I added an exception for the website on firefox. Do you have an alternative? – MyWrathAcademia Jun 12 '18 at 9:50
  • sorry here is fixed link ctan.org/pkg/fonttable – user4686 Jun 12 '18 at 9:54
  • notice that you have it surely already installed: texdoc fonttable. – user4686 Jun 12 '18 at 9:55

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