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Removal of LaTeX2HTML from main


working on the legal issues for LaTeX2HTML [1], at debian-legal [2], we
concluded that LaTeX2HTML will have to be removed from main because it
is considered non-free in the sense of the DFSG. After dozens of emails
with upstream and a thread [3] on the LaTeX2HTML mailing list, the
upstream maintainer doesn't consider changing the main license soon,
although at some point in the future, LaTeX2HTML will possibly be
GPL'ed. But that won't happen before 2005 because of historical reasons.

As suggested, I prepared a simple wrapper script [4] around TeX4ht to
emulate latex2html. Unfortunately, during the regression tests with the
38 build-depending packages that list latex2html in their
Build-Depends{,-Indep}, I noticed that only a few packages migrate
flawlessly to TeX4ht with the simple automated wrapper.

With /usr/bin/latex2html substituted, many packages render bad results
or even FTBFS because of several reasons:
- They rely on special generated files the original latex2html generates
  but htlatex doesn't
- TeX4ht/htlatex is not latex2html. Both have special features that
  are hard to mimick with a simple wrapper
- Some even FTBFS anyway (I will file that if not done yet)
- Different behaviour of htlatex and latex2html when called from other
- htlatex creates files not cleaned up (see the current tex4ht debian bugs)

Take this as an excuse for the simplicity of the wrapper [4], but it
seems to be hard to mimic latex2html with htlatex without investing very
much time. (If you volunteer, please send in improvements but I doubt
that we can easily sort out all the problems in an automated way.)
Instead, I propose the following plan which includes individual devotion
to the Build-Depending packages in question:

I will:
* Upload a latex2html package just containing the aforementioned wrapper
  and depending on tex4ht (and what else it needs to fulfill)
* File serious bugs against packages now rendered FTBFS
* File normal bugs against packages that render bad docs now
* File wishlist bugs against packages that actually don't need latex2html
* File wishlist bugs against packages that work well now but which could
  directly depend on tex4ht or another alternative
* Upload the original LaTeX2HTML as latex2html-nonfree. Ideally, no
  package build-depending on latex2html remains, so the name latex2html
  can remain

Here's a list of the packages in question:

Packages that work well with my wrapper script (don't need adjustments):
- cfitsio
- gnucap
- gnustep-make
- iacd
- tochnog

Packages that actually don't (seem to me to) need to depend on
latex2html because they don't use it at build time:
- abntex
- babel (contrib)
- fpc
- glibc
- hypre (non-free)
- pam
- python-crack
- sbm

Packages that have problems with the automated migration and need manual
- cherrypy (bad result)
- chktex (FTBFS)
- cmucl (FTBFS)
- debian-guide (bad result)
- debian-guide-es (FTBFS)
- debian-guide-zh (FTBFS)
- debian-zh-faq (FTBFS)
- dwarfs-debian-guide (FTBFS)
- ecasound2.2 (bad result)
- freefem (FTBFS)
- gnutls7 (FTBFS)
- illuminator (FTBFS)
- jed (FTBFS)
- libgocr (FTBFS)
- libnasl (FTBFS)
- mlton (FTBFS)
- pica (FTBFS)
- pointless (bad result)
- psp (FTBFS)
- pyopenssl (FTBFS)
- python2.1 (FTBFS)
- python2.2 (FTBFS)
- python2.3 (FTBFS)
- uudeview (FTBFS)
- sdcc (FTBFS)

As the maintainer of one of the aforementioned packages you have the
choice between the following options (exclusively):
* Remove the dependency on latex2html
* Check how the package builds now and manually adjust it to htlatex.
  The package should build-depend on TeX4ht now
* Build-Depend on hevea or hyperlatex if you figure out that one of
  these alternatives are better than TeX4ht (htlatex)
* Put the package to contrib as soon as latex2html-nonfree is in
  non-free and Build-Depend on it.

Thanks for reading all this and for considering.


[1] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=204684
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2003/debian-legal-200310/msg00383.html
    (and followups)
[3] http://tug.org/pipermail/latex2html/2003-October/thread.html
[4] http://www.antcom.de/debian/latex2html.sh

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