I just updated to latest version of texlive (2011) for mac and suddenly I don't have the floatflt.sty any longer. It seems it has changed license and is no longer shipped with the distributions. (A bit of a shock considering I have been told that LaTeX is not like MS Word in that it is very backwards version compatible but I guess that discussion is for another day...)

Problem is though that I have a lot of old documents using it, so now I wonder the following:

  1. What are the alternatives that I can use instead and how complicated is the conversion of my old document?

  2. Given that my usage is okey okey according to this new license, how do I install it on my tex live system on my mac?

EDIT: When I try to download the DTX and INS files from http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/floatflt and run tex floatflt.ins I get:

$ tex floatflt.ins
This is TeX, Version 3.1415926 (TeX Live 2011)
! Undefined control sequence.
l.25 \NeedsTeXFormat
  • 2
    Simply use latex floatflt.ins instead then. INS file use docstrip which only uses PlainTeX. It shouldn't contain \NeedsTeXFormat{LaTeX2e}... But it is OK to use LaTeX instead. – Martin Scharrer Aug 3 '11 at 13:19

Update: floatflt is now again part of TeX Live (2011) after the license issue which lead to its removal from it has been solved. An update of the existing installation will install it, e.g. try tlmgr install floatflt or even tlmgr update --self --all for a complete update.

LaTeX itself tends to be very well backwards compatible and most of its package (written by different people) are it as well. However, a (La)TeX distribution like TeX Live might decide to not include older packages any longer. You should differ between these three things.

You can still get the floatflt package from CTAN: http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/contrib/floatflt. Just download the DTX and INS file and run latex floatflt.ins with both files in one folder. It will unpack the floatflt.sty package file. Copy this file to $TEXMF/tex/latex/floatflt/floatflt.sty (where $TEXMF is your local TEXMF structure, like $HOME/texmf for Linux). You might also need to update the package database (e.g. using texhash). You can also just place the package file in (all) your document folder(s) instead.

About the license: It can be found in the floatflt.ins file and states:

You may use the `floatflt' package freely, but at your own
risk.  The authors of floatflt.dtx and floatflt.ins (the
complete `floatflt' package distribution) can not be held
responsible for any consequence of your using any of these
files, or files created from these, including hardware,
software, and data damage.  You may not make any changes to
the files floatflt.dtx or floatflt.ins.  You are allowed to make 
changes to the `\documentclass' and/or `\usepackage' commands 
of the file `floatexm.tex'.  You may incorporate
the code from these files in other files under different
names, provided the original authors are given full credit for
their work and that you yourself take the complaints from the
user(s) of your file(s).  You may freely distribute the
files floatflt.dtx and floatflt.ins, provided that you
always distribute `floatflt.dtx' and `floatflt.ins' together
at the same time. 

So in fact it is a free license at least for the version which is on CTAN, despite that it is listed there as "Other nonfree licenses".

As a replacement for in-paragraph floats you can use the wrapfig package.

  • Any thoughts on alternatives? – jonalv Aug 3 '11 at 13:09
  • 2
    What features are you using exactly? wrapfig comes to mind for the in-paragraph figures. – Martin Scharrer Aug 3 '11 at 13:21
  • Yea that's mostly it. – jonalv Aug 3 '11 at 13:31
  • 1
    After some more investigation, it appears the package was removed from TL in January 2008 due to a "no commercial use" clause. In March 2008 (probably because someone contacted the author about that) the licence of the package was updated, removing this clause. For some reason, this modification went unnoticed. The package will soon be reintegrated in TL. – mpg Aug 3 '11 at 22:32
  • 1
    By the way, custom licences (and to a lesser extent, additional clauses to well-known licences) are a nightmare for distribution maintainers at every level (TL, Linux distros). Authors should avoid them unless they have very strong reasons. – mpg Aug 3 '11 at 22:38

I don't know where you got your tl2011 from, but the current version (as available through tlmgr updating) does contain floatflt.

It was removed, once it was realized that its original license forbade distribution. Someone tracked the author down, and he said to change the license to lppl. So we did, and the package is back in tl, ready for tl2012.

So try:

tlmgr update

with the names of packages you need up-to-date. (Personally I would add the flag --all, but that would involve an awful lot of updating.)

  • 2
    When this question was posted (Aug 3rd '11) the package wasn't part of TL. The OP got his TL most likely from CTAN. Your first sentence sounds a little harsh to me. – Martin Scharrer Mar 16 '12 at 15:36

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