[l2h] Debian bugs

Ross Moore ross at ics.mq.edu.au
Tue Dec 9 15:49:00 CET 2003

Hi Roland,

On Tue, 9 Dec 2003, Roland Stigge wrote:

> Hi,
> first, I want to thank everybody involved in our LaTeX2HTML integration
> efforts for Debian and the licensing discussion. I'm maintaining the
> Debian latex2html package now integrating it into the next Debian
> release and we are looking forward to have LaTeX2HTML under a license
> which we consider fulfilling the requirements of the Debian Free
> Software Guidelines someday. Meanwhile, we will distribute the package

That is good to hear...

> in a special section called "non-free" which doesn't mean that the

  ... but this is an unfortunate choice of designation...

> software is not free at all but there are some issues left. In this
> list, we have discussed this in detail. No need to start it again.

Yes; no further philosophical discussion should be needed at this stage.

> But in our bug tracking system there are some issues left, most of which
> disappeared at the latest with the 2002-2-1 version of LaTeX2HTML.
> Nevertheless, some of them are possibly interesting for this list and I
> intend to discuss them here one by another.
> First, please have a look at
> http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=72755
I've had a look at this, and do not regard any of them
(except some aspects of the 1st) as actual bugs.
Rather, the person who wrote the message is making assumptions,
leading to wishingful-thinking about features which are not

> I can reproduce all of the described problems with LaTeX2HTML 2002-2-1.

Here's a reproduction of the message:

> Hi!
> 1. When using \HTMLsetenv{MAX_SPLIT_DEPTH}{0} in a TeX file latex2html
> should put all its html output into one single document. But it does
> not. Footnotes are still in extra documents. Furthermore, body tags, set
> with \bodytext, are ignored in this case!

The \HTMLsetenv command is intended for setting values of Perl variables,
as an aid to storing information to be used later within a document.
While it *can* change variables concerning the global structure of the
website, this is not its intended use.

Indeed, if you try this with configuration parameters, then there is no
guarantee that there will be any effect at all; or if there is an effect,
then it may not be what you would like it to be.

There is nothing in the LaTeX2HTML documentation that suggests using
\HTMLset or \HTMLsetenv  is a substitute for command-line parameters,
or setting values within initialisation files.

The simple explanation, in most cases, is that by the time Perl is
processing the contents of a document, the value of the particular
configuration variable may have been read already, and acted upon.
Subsequent changes have no effect because that particular parameter
is not used again.
(Basically, the timing is just wrong.)

In the case of $MAX_SPLIT_DEPTH, you *can* change the split-level
after document-processing has started, but not necessarily at all
possible levels of splitting. And if you change it several times
throughout the document, then the Table-of-Contents and mini-TOCs
may not be built correctly, since these are done at the end,
using the value of $MAX_SPLIT_DEPTH at that time.

Also, it's not overly surprising that setting the value to 0
does not result in all the content on one HTML page,
because certain actions regarding splitting will have been
performed before processing of the document is underway.

> When using the command line argument -split 0 instead of \HTMLsetenv
> latex2html works in the correct way, also \bodytext is o.k.
> 2. When using \HTMLsetenv{NO_SUBDIR}{1} in a TeX file, this command has
> no effect. latex2html should put all generated files in the current
> directory in this case.

This one *definitely* cannot be changed within the job being processed.
The file location has already been chosen by that time, and some
helper files have been written already.

> Again, when using the command line argument -no_subdir everything is
> fine.

> 3. When using \HTMLsetenv{INFO}{} or \HTMLsetenv{INFO}{0} there is no
> document info (or "0" resp.) but the "About this document..." header
> still appears in the output document. But there should be nothing!

A marker to determine the position of the INFO page is placed early
in the processing, though the page itself is not generated until later.
Perhaps the variable $INFO is not checked again, after this.

I'll take this message as a request to be able to cancel the INFO page
from within the LaTeX source --- that should be possible to program,
rather easily.

> Once again, when using the command line argument -info "" or -info 0
> everything is o.k.

Yes; the command-line arguments, or Perl coding within initialisation
files (e.g. using  -init_file <file>  as a command-line switch)
are the recommended ways to adjust non-content aspects of the HTML site
produced by LaTeX2HTML.

> Martin

Hope this helps,

	Ross Moore

> Thanks in advance.
> bye,
>   Roland

 I'll write to you again about future changes to LaTeX2HTML.

All the best


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