license conflicts and making ports distributable

Leo Singer aronnax at
Mon Apr 22 07:28:54 PDT 2013

On Apr 22, 2013, at 5:34 AM, Joshua Root <jmr at> wrote:

> On 2013-4-22 15:05 , Ryan Schmidt wrote:
>> On Apr 21, 2013, at 23:51, Leo Singer wrote:
>>> latex2html is used while generating the htcondor manpages. What is it in the GPL-2 license that conflicts with the Apache license in regard to creating binary distributables?
>> Probably nothing. If latex2html installed GPL-licensed libraries, and non-GPL-licensed htcondor linked with those libraries, then it would be a problem. But latex2html doesn't install libraries. So the line "installs_libs no" should be added to the latex2html port so that this is not considered a license conflict.
> To clarify, GPL-2 most certainly does conflict with all existing
> versions of the Apache license. This is simply because the Apache
> licenses impose a few requirements that the GPL does not, and the GPL
> does not allow any additional restrictions. See sections 6 and 7 in
> GPL-2. (Apache-2 and GPL-3 are compatible, OTOH.)
> However just running the latex2html executable does not create a
> derivative work, as Ryan alluded to above, so the license conflict is
> not an issue in this case.
>> I'm actually surprised by this requirement, since latex2html already says "supported_archs noarch", and surely a port that does not install any architecture-specific files cannot install a library that can be linked to. I thought "supported_archs noarch" implied "installs_libs no". But it does not seem to.
> Interpreted code can be a library too.

Hi Josh,

latex2html is a Perl script, but it comes many LaTeX .sty files, which I think probably count as interpreted code. Though I am no legal expert, I would agree that documents created with them are not 'derivative works' and can be 'reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves.' The HTCondor build even parses the output of latex2html using a one-off script that converts the HTML to manpages.

Here, either latex2html could declare 'installs_libs no' or htcondor could declare 'license_noconflict latex2html'. Which is preferable in this case?


Leo Singer
Graduate Student @ LIGO-Caltech

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