TeX Live and Debian/Ubuntu

Page written by np&mp&rt


This page contains information on the Debian packaging of the TeX Live system, and on how to install “vanilla” TeX Live on your Debian/Ubuntu system.

Versions of TeX Live in Debian and Ubuntu

See what version of TeXLive is shipped in:

For changes between versions please see the Debian QA page for the relevant source package: texlive-base, texlive-bin, texlive-extra, texlive-lang.

Packaging TeX Live takes a lot of work, so the latest version is often not packaged. However, the world of TeX changes slowly, so this shouldn't be a problem for most users. However, if you really want or need vanilla TeX Live, we provide instructions to integrate it with Debian.

Support and bug reports

TeX Live is packaged for Debian by the Debian TeX Task Force. Please use the Debian Bug Tracking System to report bugs in the packages and to request new features; for general comments and suggestions about Debian packaging and this page, and most particularly to offer help, write to debian-tex-maint@lists.debian.org. For TeX Live problems that are not related to the Debian packaging, please write to the tex-live mailing list.

You can check out the Subversion (till 2012) or git (from 2013 on) repositories for the Debian packaging:

Some Documentation

The Debian TeX Task Force has written two documents on TeX on Debian, available in the tex-common package, or online (but be warned, these documents are slightly outdated):

There is also a talk given at EuroBachoTeX 2007: TeX (Live) on Debian.

Installing the Debian/Ubuntu packages

To install the Debian/Ubuntu packages, just install the package texlive, e.g. from the Software Center or synaptic, or with the command:

        apt-get install texlive
This will install texlive-latex-recommended, texlive-fonts-recommended, texlive-latex-base and texlive-base. You can go on and install additional packages (e.g. texlive-latex-extra) and additional languages (e.g. texlive-lang-german).

If you want to have a system closely mirroring a TeX Live DVD, install the package texlive-full, which pulls in the full set of TeX Live packages.

Integrating vanilla TeX Live with Debian

To install vanilla TeX Live so that it replaces the Debian packages, perform the following steps:

  1. Install vanilla TeX Live as root, system-wide.
  2. Ensure that the only Debian TeX Live packages installed are tex-common, texinfo, and perhaps lmodern
  3. Add TeX Live's bin directory to ENV_PATH in /etc/login.defs.
  4. Tell APT about your TeX Live installation by building a dummy package using equivs:
    $ aptitude install equivs # as root
    mkdir /tmp/tl-equivs && cd /tmp/tl-equivs
    equivs-control texlive-local
    # edit texlive-local (see below)
    $ equivs-build texlive-local
    $ sudo dpkg -i texlive-local_2016-1_all.deb

    At the step "edit texlive-local", edit the Maintainer field and the list of the packages provided by your local TeX Live installation as appropriate. If you installed scheme-full except collection-texinfo as recommended, the file should look like the following example file for TL 2016. For older releases use one of the following examples files: for TL 2015, for TL 2014, for TL 2013, for TL 2011.

Problems with evince and local TeX Live installations

The following information is due to Gernot Salzer and was originally written on tex.sx:

The document viewer evince may exhibit two problems when trying to view dvi files in this arrangement:

Solution of the apparmor problem

If the package apparmor-utils is installed, you can switch off apparmor-supervision of evince completely with the command

sudo aa-disable /usr/bin/evince


If you don't want to install apparmor-utils, you can do it manually:

sudo ln -s /etc/apparmor.d/usr.bin.evince /etc/apparmor.d/disable/usr.bin.evince

Then you have to reboot your computer, or a bit more elegantly, you can issue the commands

sudo service apparmor teardown
sudo service apparmor start


Third possibility: If you want to keep evince under the supervision of apparmor, you have to adapt the supervision rules. For this, add the following lines to /etc/apparmor.d/abstractions/evince:

# TeXlive 2016
/usr/local/texlive/2016/bin/x86_64-linux/mktexpk Cx -> sanitized_helper,
/usr/local/texlive/2016/bin/x86_64-linux/mktextfm Cx -> sanitized_helper,
/usr/local/texlive/2016/bin/x86_64-linux/dvipdfm Cx -> sanitized_helper,
/usr/local/texlive/2016/bin/x86_64-linux/mkofm Cx -> sanitized_helper,
/usr/local/texlive/** r,

and the following lines to /etc/apparmor.d/abstractions/ubuntu-helpers:

# TeXlive 2016
/usr/local/texlive/2016/texmf{,-dist}/web2c/{,**/}* Pixr,
/usr/local/texlive/2016/bin/x86_64-linux/* Pixr,

(insert the lines near similar-looking rules for Ubuntu-TeX). For these changes to take effect without reboot, issue the command

sudo service apparmor restart


Solution of the configuration file problem

Put a link to the new configuration file into the folder /usr/local/share/texmf/web2c:

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/share/texmf/web2c
sudo ln -s /usr/local/texlive/2016/texmf-dist/web2c/texmf.cnf /usr/local/share/texmf/web2c/texmf.cnf

Tested for


I would like to thank Frank Küster, Sebastian Rahtz and Karl Berry for their support.

That's all folks; happy TeXing!

$Date: 2016/10/23 04:56:41 $;
TUG home page; contact webmaster; (via DuckDuckGo)