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I'm currently writing a Python program that can automate detection of whether a certain command is permitted in math mode without using any packages.

For the purpose of testing I add \documentclass{article} \begin{document}$ before a command to be tested and $\end{document} after it. Then I save it to a file using a randomly generated filename and use latex <filename>+'.tex' to TeX the file.

If the command is actually permitted the process ends and I can obtain a return code of 0. On the other hand when TeXing doesn't work instead of returning an error code the process simply doesn't end.

Is there a way to run LaTeX so that the process always return even if there is an error?

  • Nevermind. There is -halt-on-error . Problem solved! – Ying Zhou May 5 at 19:55
  • Not really. There are cases where this does not work for unknown reasons. I really don't want to put some form of timeout there since it will be machine-dependent. – Ying Zhou May 5 at 20:46
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    most editors will get some error feedback when run using one of the nonstop options run (pdf)latex --help to see most choices especially -interaction=errorstopmode and nonstopmode – user170109 May 5 at 21:03
  • "machine dependent" should be fairly trivial all windows should respond to taskkill should be similar kill for *nix ? the timer is dwn to the app – user170109 May 5 at 22:17
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    you can quite easily write tex code that runs a long time: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/compiling. So without some timeout it will not work. – Ulrike Fischer May 5 at 22:29
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It's trivial to write a TeX program that results in an infinite loop. As such, one cannot be certain that a job will finish. Typically, automated systems address this by looking for some output over a given time frame, and likely a maximum run time after which a job is killed. Those aspects are of course out-of-scope for this particular site.

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