[OS X TeX] "foo.fmt was written by pdfetex, I'm stymied" error

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Thu Jan 13 02:20:56 EST 2005

I am cc-ing this to the mailing list, because this might be important 
for others too. Dick, should the default in TeXShop for plain TeX with 
DVI intermediate output change?

On Jan 13, 2005, at 04:38, George Tourlakis wrote:

> Hi Gerben,
> I have installed the newest (2005 Dev. version) of your TeX.
> I found that that TeXShop gives me trouble:
>> ### This is 
>> /usr/local/teTeX/bin/powerpc-apple-darwin-current/altpdftex, Version 
>> $Revision: 2.18 $
>> ### /usr/local/teTeX/bin/powerpc-apple-darwin-current/tex analytic.tex
>> This is TeXk, Version 3.141592 (Web2C 7.5.3)
>>  %&-line parsing enabled.
>> ---! /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/web2c/amstex.fmt was written 
>> by pdfetex
>> (Fatal format file error; I'm stymied)
>> ### WARNING: TeX returned non zero exit status
>> ### /usr/local/teTeX/bin/powerpc-apple-darwin-current/dvips -R 
>> -Poutline  -o /tmp/altpdftex.28525-1105586910/analytic.ps 
>> analytic.dvi
>> This is dvips(k) 5.94b Copyright 2004 Radical Eye Software 
>> (www.radicaleye.com)
>> /usr/local/teTeX/bin/powerpc-apple-darwin-current/dvips: ! DVI file 
>> can't be opened.
>> ### FAILED to generate /tmp/altpdftex.28525-1105586910/analytic.ps ()
> No dvi produced, even though the amsetx.fmt is the one built by the 
> installation.
> iTeXMac seems to do a bit better (but in general it is a bit flaky by 
> comparison, despite the
> accidental fact that this time it seems to succeed where TeXShop 
> failed)
> Any ideas?

Yes, starting with TL2004 the engine for all different TeX's has become 
PDF E-TeX (pdfetex). This engine is able to produce both DVI and PDF. 
The way this is done is either with the "--output-format dvi" switch or 
by the name of the program when called.

There is only one exception and that is the basic TeX (tex), which is 
(has to be) pure Donald Knuth's TeX (he insists).

So, calling 'tex' is the exception to the rule in TL2004 and later.

I guess that when you change the calling in TeXShop for TeX from 
".../tex" to ../pdfetex --output-format dvi" you will be fine.

> BTW, I noticed that INITEX does not exist anymore. What can I use 
> instead to build formats from old tex macros like
> amstex 1.1? I used to have success prior to this new version with 
> "initex amstex.tex \\dump"

Use "tex --ini" instead of initex. See "man tex" for details. In your 
case, I would use "pdfetex --ini"

If your files do not include .eps files, you can switch to pdftex 
instead of tex and it should work. Maybe you need to build a 
pdfamstex.fmt first.


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