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Installing latex2html under Linux RH6.1 on a PC

Installing latex2html on PC under RH6.1 Linux

latex2html is a well known software package which converts LATEX documents into HTML documents. It was developed by Nikos Drakos with Ross Moore joining development a few years ago. Here is a detailed log of latex2html installation on PC running Linux RH6.1. Dislaimer for lawyers: What follows is a nonsense. I warned you, didn't I? You have to be a root to do it.
This document was committed by Jan K. Labanowski Do not trust anything here... I do not know what I am talking about... Last modified: April 17, 2000.

Getting necessary pieces

latex2html uses a lot of other tools and libraries, which have to be installed, before you can install latex2html. But the good news is that most (or all) of these packages are installed if you choose to install Linux as a server, or when you chose most pakages to install from the CD. You may missing giftrans though.
giftrans -- converts regular GIF to GIF with transparent background.
   gcc -o giftrans giftrans.c
   cp giftrans /usr/local/bin
   cp giftrans.1 /usr/local/man/man1

Installing latex2html

  • Visit the site: and click on Documentation. Pick up this one:
       The official manual provided by the primary LATEX2HTML author, Ross Moore
    Click on the link above, and then choose: A Postscript version available (which is linked to: and download it. Keep it, and print it sometime later when you are ready to use latex2html. The installation instructions in the PostScript manual do not refer to the version which you have right now. However, manual has a lot of important information on proficient use of the software, so you will need it when you are ready to use the software.
  • Visit page again, but now click on Download. You will be transfered to the directory: Get the file:
        latex2html-99.2beta6.tar.gz   14-Apr-2000 07:15   1.0M  
    i.e., the URL: I am providing the local copies of these two files here:
    but you should check the original sites, since they may have some newer, better version.
  • Unpack the latex2html package:
       cd /usr/local/tempjkl
       gtar zxvf latex2html-99.2beta6.tar.gz
    Carefully read the INSTALL file (/usr/local/tempjkl/latex2html-99.2beta6/INSTALL).
  • Check if you have all programs which latex2html needs to run.
       cd /usr/local/tempjkl/latex2html-99.2beta6
       ./configure --help
    This will list all options defined in the configure script. you should have all the software installed (and available in the PATH which is listed in the lines:
    Now, use which or whence (depending on the shell you are using) and check if you can access the codes. For example, in my case, I could:
    which gs
    which giftrans
    Note that I do not use giftool. If one or more programs are not found, you need to install them. Go to and retrieve needed RPM pachages. Once you have them, it is a snap to install them (but you must be a root:
        rpm -Uhv some_package.rpm
    Be careful, you actually may have the package installed, but your PATH variable is not set correctly. You may need to do something like this:
        export PATH
    if you are using the Bourne type shell (e.g., ksh, sh), or
        setenv PATH ${PATH}:/usr/local/bin
    of you are using csh or tcsh.
  • configure Makefiles needed to build the latex2html:
       cd /usr/local/tempjkl/latex2html-99.2beta6
       ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/latex2html 
    If you did not get complaints like: not found, or something, you are ready to compile. If it complains, give it what it wants. For example, on one of my boxes it said:
    checking for ghostscript library and font paths... no
    Warning: Could not determine GS_LIB path.
             Ghostscript may not work due to missing startup files.
             You need to set the value of GS_LIB manually in
    Hint:    Search for the file ''. This directory and the 'fonts'
             directory (usually same level) should be set in GS_LIB.
             Separate the entries with the ":" character. The current
             directory "." should be included, too.
    I edited and changed there:
    $cfg{'GS_LIB'} = q'';
    $cfg{'GS_LIB'} = q'/usr/share/ghostscript/5.10';
    and it was happy.
    Note that this will make latex2html reside under /usr/local/latex2html after installation. You may be tempted to put it under /usr/local but be warned that it will clutter it with a lot of strange files.
  • compile and install latex2html:
       cd /usr/local/tempjkl/latex2html-99.2beta6
       make check
    if no horrors, you are ready to install latex2html. First, edit the file in the top directory, by and changing LOCAL_ICONS from 0 to 1, i.e., to be:$LOCAL_ICONS = 1;. While it will waste some disk space (the common icons will be added to each translated document), the advantage is that you are not in any way dependent on where you put your document in the Web tree. Otherwise, you would have to have a special directory for icons, which would hold common icons. If you wanted to give your friend your paper to put on his web site, or view it as a file:///someting on the laptop, there would be unsatisfied images on your pages. Now, put the files where they belong:
       cd /usr/local/tempjkl/latex2html-99.2beta6
       make install

You installed latex2html and now what?

You need to remember to add latex2html and other programs which it uses to the PATH. It is a good idea to check what is actually your PATH, since you really should not add the same directory twice in PATH. Just do:
  echo ${PATH}
You usually do not have problems under Linux with the library search path LD_LIBRARY_PATH. On Linux the libraries are usually dumped into /usr/lib.
If you are the Bourne type shell fanatic, you need to edit your .profile:
   if [ "$PATH".r = ".r" ]; then
   export PATH
   if [ "$LD_LIBRARY_PATH".r = ".r" ]; then
or in your .cshrc add:
   if ( ${?PATH} == 1 ) then
     if ( ${PATH} == "" ) then
       setenv PATH /usr/local/bin/:usr/local/latex2html/bin
       setenv PATH ${PATH}:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/latex2html/bin
     setenv PATH /usr/local/bin:/usr/local/latex2html/bin
   if ( ${?LD_LIBRARY_PATH} == 1 ) then
     if ( ${LD_LIBRARY_PATH} == "" ) then
       setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH /usr/local/lib
       setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH ${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}:/usr/local/lib
     setenv LD_LIBRARY_PATH /usr/local/lib

Of course, you can be nice, and do it for everybody by adding it to the end of /etc/profile, and /etc/.login; respectively (but make them simpler, since here you know what is set an what is not set in these files by looking at them).

Now try it...
If LATEX document is called mypaper.tex, you just do:

   latex mypaper.tex
   latex mypaper.tex
   latex2html mypaper.tex
(you can skip extensions .tex). As a result, in the directory mypaper you will have your paper converted to HTML.

This is a version which does not use GIF images by default, but uses a new (better) format, called PBM (Portable BitMap). While this format is supported by all newer browsers, you may still want to use GIFs to by portable. In this case, you may force latex2html to produce transparent GIFS as output:

   latex2html -image_type gif -transparent mypaper.tex
If your images representing equations, etc. come white, and the rest of the page is blue or gray, you need to find the <BODY> tag at the beginning of your newly created HTML file and change it to:
<BODY BGCOLOR="white"> and your background will also become white.

I think, it is time to print
Modified: Mon Jun 26 00:12:20 2000 GMT
Page accessed 19429 times since Wed Apr 19 02:34:54 2000 GMT