Introduction to TeX Live and its installer

The TeX Live package is a comprehensive TeX document production system. It includes TEX, LaTeX2e, ConTEXt, Metafont, MetaPost, BibTeX and many other programs; an extensive collection of macros, fonts and documentation; and support for typesetting in many different scripts from around the world.

It is necessary to use a binary installer for the first install. This will provide the programs, the scripts, and a lot of supporting files and documentation. After that, you can rebuild the programs from source by following the instructions for texlive-20130530. The installer is updated frequently, so its md5sum will change if it is newer than what is shown below. Newer versions of the installer are expected to work with these instructions, for so long as they install to a 2013/ directory.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-7.5 platform.

Package Information

Recommended (at runtime)

ghostscript-9.10 is dynamically loaded by (at least) asy.

libdrm-2.4.52, Freeglut-2.8.1 and GLU-9.0.0 are needed for asy.

Xorg Libraries and libxcb-1.10 are needed for asy, inimf, mf, pdfclose, pdfopen and xdvixaw.

the optional non-wide-character ncurses libraries (for "some binary-only application") from the bottom of the Ncurses page in LFS are needed for asy and

Ruby-2.1.0 is used by many scripts, Tk-8.6.1 is used by epspdftk

User Notes:

Binary Installation of TeX Live

The TeX Live set of programs with its supporting documents, fonts, and utilities is very large. The upstream maintainers recommend placing all files in a single directory structure. BLFS recommends /opt/texlive.

First, unpack the installer and change into the installer's directory, install-tl-<CCYYMMDD>. This directory name changes when the installer is updated, so replace <CCYYMMDD> by the correct directory name.

tar -xf install-tl-unx.tar.gz &&
cd install-tl-<CCYYMMDD> 


The distribution binaries installed below use static linking for general linux system libraries. Additional libraries or interpreters as specified in the dependencies section do not need to be present during the install, but the programs that need them will not run until their specific dependencies have been installed.

Now, as the root user:

TEXLIVE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/opt/texlive ./install-tl

This command is interactive and allows selection or modification of platform, packages, directories, and other options. The full installation scheme will require about 3.8 gigabytes of disk space. The time to complete the download will depend on your internet connection speed and the number of packages selected.

After the package download is complete, the next step is to make sure that the system can properly find the files. If you set up your login scripts as recommended in The Bash Shell Startup Files, update the needed paths by appending to the script. The programs are always installed in an <ARCH>-linux subdirectory. If you are not using x86_64, always change that to your actual installation location.

cat >> /etc/profile.d/ << "EOF"
pathappend /usr/share/man                        MANPATH
pathappend /opt/texlive/2013/texmf-dist/doc/man  MANPATH
pathappend /usr/share/info                       INFOPATH
pathappend /opt/texlive/2013/texmf-dist/doc/info INFOPATH
pathappend /opt/texlive/2013/bin/x86_64-linux


The standard MANPATH and INFOPATH path are specified above to ensure they are included. If they are already set in the boot script procedure, the pathappend function will ensure duplicates are removed, so including them here will do no harm.

The new paths can be immediately activated by running source /etc/profile.

At this point the binary installation is complete.


Installed Programs: Over 300 binaries and symlinks to scripts
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: /opt/texlive

Short Descriptions

TeX programs

included in the TeX Live package are too numerous to individually list. Please refer to the individual program man and html pages in the installation directory's 2011/index.html directory, or the various PDF files within the subdirectories of texmf-dist.

Last updated on 2014-02-22 17:33:15 -0800