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aleph − extended unicode TeX

lamed − latex format based on aleph


aleph [options] [& format ] [ file | \ commands ]


Aleph, formerly known as e-Omega, is a project whose aim is to provide an extension to Knuth’s TeX comprising both Omega 1.15 and e-TeX 2.1 features. Its main goals are stability, speed and power.

Run the aleph typesetter on file, usually creating file.dvi. If the file argument has no extension, ".tex" will be appended to it. Instead of a filename, a set of aleph commands can be given, the first of which must start with a backslash. With a &format argument aleph uses a different set of precompiled commands, contained in format.fmt; it is usually better to use the -fmt format option instead.

aleph consist of a merge of Omega 1.15 and e-TeX and strives for bringing a stabil and reliable system with the capabilities of Omega.

lamed is the name of the latex format dumped by aleph.

Please see the man pages of omega(1) and etex(1) for more detailed descriptions of the features.


This version of e-TeX understands the following command line options.

Use format as the name of the format to be used, instead of the name by which aleph was called or a %& line.


Enable the e-TeX extensions. This option is only effective in combination with -ini.


Print error messages in the form file:line:error which is similar to the way many compilers format them.


Disable printing error messages in the file:line:error style.


This is the old name of the -file-line-error option.


Exit with an error code when an error is encountered during processing.


Print help message and exit.


Start in INI mode, which is used to dump formats. The INI mode can be used for typesetting, but no format is preloaded, and basic initializations like setting catcodes may be required.

-interaction mode

Sets the interaction mode. The mode can be either batchmode, nonstopmode, scrollmode, and errorstopmode. The meaning of these modes is the same as that of the corresponding \commands.


Send DVI output to a socket as well as the usual output file. Whether this option is available is the choice of the installer.


As -ipc, and starts the server at the other end as well. Whether this option is available is the choice of the installer.

-jobname name

Use name for the job name, instead of deriving it from the name of the input file.

-kpathsea-debug bitmask

Sets path searching debugging flags according to the bitmask. See the Kpathsea manual for details.

-mktex fmt

Enable mktexfmt, where fmt must be either tex or tfm.


Enable MLTeX extensions. Only effective in combination with -ini.

-no-mktex fmt

Disable mktexfmt, where fmt must be either tex or tfm.

-output-comment string

Use string for the DVI file comment instead of the date.

-output-directory directory

directory instead of the current directory. Look up input files in directory first, the along the normal search path.


If the first line of the main input file begins with %& parse it to look for a dump name or a -translate-file option.


Disable parsing of the first line of the main input file.

-progname name

Pretend to be program name. This affects both the format used and the search paths.


Enable the filename recorder. This leaves a trace of the files opened for input and output in a file with extension .fls.


Enable the \write18{command} construct. The command can be any shell command. This construct is normally disallowed for security reasons.


Disable the \write18{command} construct, even if it is enabled in the texmf.cnf file.


Insert source specials into the DVI file.

-src-specials where

Insert source specials in certain placed of the DVI file. where is a comma-separated value list: cr, display, hbox, math, par, parent, or vbox.

-translate-file tcxname

Use the tcxname translation table to set the mapping of input characters and re-mapping of output characters.

-default-translate-file tcxname

Like -translate-file except that a %& line can overrule this setting.


Print version information and exit.


See the Kpathsearch library documentation (the ‘Path specifications’ node) for precise details of how the environment variables are used. The kpsewhich utility can be used to query the values of the variables.

One caveat: In most aleph formats, you cannot use ~ in a filename you give directly to aleph, because ~ is an active character, and hence is expanded, not taken as part of the filename. Other programs, such as Metafont, do not have this problem.

Normally, aleph puts its output files in the current directory. If any output file cannot be opened there, it tries to open it in the directory specified in the environment variable TEXMFOUTPUT. There is no default value for that variable. For example, if you say etex paper and the current directory is not writable, if TEXMFOUTPUT has the value /tmp, aleph attempts to create /tmp/paper.log (and /tmp/paper.dvi, if any output is produced.)


Search path for \input and \openin files. This should probably start with ‘‘.’’, so that user files are found before system files. An empty path component will be replaced with the paths defined in the texmf.cnf file. For example, set TEXINPUTS to ".:/home/usr/tex:" to prepend the current direcory and ‘‘/home/user/tex’’ to the standard search path.


Search path for format files.


search path for etex internal strings.


Command template for switching to editor. The default, usually vi, is set when aleph is compiled.


Search path for font metric (.tfm) files.


The location of the files mentioned below varies from system to system. Use the kpsewhich utility to find their locations.

Text file containing aleph’s internal strings.

Filename mapping definitions.


Metric files for aleph’s fonts.


Predigested aleph format (.fmt) files.


This manual page is not meant to be exhaustive. The complete documentation for this version of aleph can be found in the info manual Web2C: A TeX implementation.


etex(1), omega(1).


aleph was written by Giuseppe Bilotta. e-TeX was developed by Peter Breitenlohner (and the NTS team). TeX was designed by Donald E. Knuth, who implemented it using his system for Pascal programs. It was ported to Unix at Stanford by Howard Trickey, and at Cornell by Pavel Curtis. The version now offered with the Unix TeX distribution is that generated by the to C system (web2c), originally written by Tomas Rokicki and Tim Morgan. The encTeX extensions were written by Petr Olsak. The primary authors of Omega are John Plaice and Yannis Haralambous. This manpage has been written by Norbert Preining for Debian/GNU Linux by adapting the man page for etex and may be used, modified and/or distributed freely by anyone.