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Re: Status of icons in latex2html

[latex2html maintainer CCed; see below.]

Stephen Gran wrote:
> Hello all,
> I am packaging clamav, and upstream uses latex2html to generate the html
> documentation for it.  The problem is that upstream has not been
> including the icons from latex2html in the distributed tarball, breaking
> links for users who don't happen to have latex2html installed (the
> hyperlinks point to a latex2html install, rather than the same
> directory)
> So, I would like to ship the icons in the .deb, and repoint the links.
> My problem is: is this legal?  Here is what I think is the relevant part
> of the copyright:
> o  Any work distributed or published that in whole or in part
>    contains or is a derivative of this software or any part
>    thereof is subject to the terms of this agreement. The
>    aggregation of another unrelated program with this software
>    or its derivative on a volume of storage or distribution
>    medium does not bring the other program under the scope
>    of these terms.
> Do the icons count as 'contains or is a derivative of this software'?
> It might mean yes, but I thought I would solicit suggestions.  It makes
> no difference to me - I'll just not ship them if they are non-free; it
> saves the postinstall uudecode step as well :)
> My fear is that if the rest of the license applies, it appears to be
> make it incompatible with the GPL, although I am not sure.
> Please cc: me on replies, as I am not subscribed.  Reply-To and M-F-T
> set accordingly.

The Latex2HTML license was analyzed a while back, and found to be
non-free; as a result, the Latex2HTML package was moved to non-free.
Including the icons in your package would require that your package move
to non-free as well.  (Note, however, that simple inclusion of separate
icon files does not raise the issue of GPL-incompatibility; this would
be an instance of mere aggregation, not derivation.)

The Latex2HTML maintainer, Roland Stigge, contacted the upstream
developer of Latex2HTML and his university, both of which indicated they
would be willing to relicense under the GPL.  If they did so, you would
clearly have no problem with GPL-compatibility; for that matter, you
could simply Build-Depends: latex2html and build the documentation in
the package.  However, upstream stated that they would relicense in the
next version, which does not seem to have occurred.  I suggest that the
easiest course of action would be to contact Latex2HTML upstream and
requesting that he just make a permission statement (via email is fine)
that grants permission to use Latex2HTML under the GPL.  That way, the
current package in non-free could simply be moved to main without
waiting for a new version, solving your problem entirely.

- Josh Triplett

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