# [OS X TeX] Why does this hang so?

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Fri Oct 23 21:17:04 EDT 2009

On Oct 23, 2009, at 7:37 PM, Ross Moore wrote:

> If you don't mind overlapping into the left margin,
> you could include a negative kern; e.g.
>
>
> or perhaps better is
>
>  \begin{enumerate}[{\kern-20pt}\bfseries{\itshape

I am sorry to report that neither worked.

>> 2) I then read Companion 2ed and tried a number of variations on
>> inserting   \setlength{\leftmargin}
>>
>> I tried to insert  \setlength{\leftmargin}{25mm}
>
> This is no good, since  \leftmargin  is not a constant.
>
> It is a variable that gets re-calculated for each list environment,
> based upon the current \textwidth  and the various  \leftmargini
>  \leftmarginii ...  parameters.
> This thwarts your effort to just change \leftmargin .

Companion2ed did say something to that effect but it didn't register.

> In Computer programming terms, a control-sequence name is just
> a pointer, which internally indicates where some data is stored.
> That data may be constant, or it may be variable.

That I understand

> TeX doesn't have strict typing to differentiate these cases.

Somehow, I have the feeling that some of the structure that was put
on top of TeX tries to be intelligent at the usual cost of the user
losing control as soon as s/he wants something that was not foreseen.
That is one of the things that used to drive me crazy with Word. But
LaTeX has many, many redeeming features so I remain quite happy. Not
to dwell on the fact that I have no desire to learn TeX

> It looks like, from the example you posted previously,
> that your lists are nested within at least one other list structure.
> Maybe that outer structure is resetting the values of the margins
> for any nested lists.

I think you are right. probsoln enumerates the files it picks in the
question base and then it picks the version of the question in that
file and then there are the multiple choices for that question. And
it can also change the order of the questions. Etc.

In any case, with the very minor exception of not being able to use
"Question", I am completely happy with the whole thing. Goedde did
the first mod on probsoln and then Talbot modified probsoln and then
I kept breaking the whole thing by trial and error for several months
until I finally got EXACTLY what I wanted.

> So again your efforts to just make a global change to some parameter
> will be thwarted.  To find out what is really going on, you really
> need to learn about tracing the macro expansions.
> Consult the TeXbook for this, and always keep the Console

3) At this point, I see only ONE possibility:  Forget about
"Question"  :-))

> Hope this helps,

It certainly did if only inasmuch as it put the issue to rest with no
looking back.

Very grateful regards
--schremmer