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gif driver for GCG?

Michael Schmitz schmitz at lcbvax.cchem.berkeley.edu
Tue Apr 29 14:52:13 EST 1997


Martin Senger wrote:
>    W2H interface to GCG (http://industry.ebi.ac.uk/w2h) uses a free
> software package hp2xx (werntges at convex.rz.uni-duesseldorf.de) to
> convert graphics from HP format (this format can be produced by GCG
> programs) to gif file. 

My $.02 worth, as the author of the to_gif module for hp2xx:

As far as I can tell, Heinz Werntges' GPL-ed hp2xx package 
(latest offical version by the author proabably hp2xx-3.2.0 dating
17-Mar-1994)
does _not_ contain the GIF output extensions. To my knowledge, the
package is 
currently not maintained and the GIF extension has never been made
public (for
obvious reasons, and I can only speculate how the source ended up in
your w2h
package). 

The version you are distributing along with w2h (dating 26-Sep-1995) was
never intended for public distribution, simply because the original
author could not be contacted for comments on this extension. If I
recall right, a statement to that effect went with the package when it
was sent to BEN for their www2gcg project. 
Don't get me wrong: I'm not against sharing free software, but this
package
was _not_ put in the public domain for yet another reason: the legal
ramifications of using the GIF format were not clear at that stage (that
was one of the points I would have loked to resolve with the author). 
Careful thought should be given to using and propagating software that
incorporates any GIF code using GIF compression, as you sure know.

So the other possible answer to the original question would be: use
conversion 
PostScript -> GIF as is available through Ghostscript (I think even
HP/GL->GIF
is possible with Ghostscript). 
Ghostscript is a widely available package, it's distributed under GPL
and it's supported. For hp2xx, I've had trouble locating the source on
the once-official ftp server, and the issue of GPL-ed GIF code as well
as the unmaintained status 
is problematic.

If someone wants to take a look at the legal issues, or would like to
maintain the package: I can try to get a recent e-mail address of Heinz
Werntges again.

	Michael Schmitz



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