All of the TeX Live community greatly appreciates all testing of TeX Live before the official release. The more people who test in advance, the better the final release can be. It is also the best opportunity to influence and improve the behavior of TL. For dates and deadlines, please see the TeX Live home page.
So please try it if you like, but not with the expectation that “everything should work perfectly” (it won't), but rather “I'll try this out and see if I can help improve it”. As distributed, it will not interfere with any existing installations of TeX.
On this page: downloading - installing - testing - updating - reporting - news.
You can retrieve the pretest files from one of these hosts: copy-paste an http or ftp url when running the installer directly, or use an rsync url for mirroring, as described below. (Our thanks to these sites for making their space and bandwidth available.)
You can either do a network installation of TL or mirror the whole directory:
You can use wget or other tools to mirror via http or ftp if rsync is not available. Regardless of the method, do not fail to exclude the mactex* file or you will be doubling the (already large) transfer.
On the other hand, if you are only interested in MacTeX, you might choose just to mirror/download that one mactex* file, which is self-contained.
The pretest build runs nightly, ending around 5am Denmark time unless something goes wrong. The mirror hosts should all be up to date within a couple of hours after that.
After downloading as above, you can run the script install-tl (Unix) or install-tl.bat (Windows) to perform the installation:
If you are performing a network installation, the pretest repository location from which to install must be specified, as shown in these examples (see downloading above for how to find the value for location). The location must be an ftp or http url (not rsync).
But in the case of installing from your own mirrored repository, you should omit -repository location from the given command lines.
For information on all of the installer options, run install-tl --help, or see the install-tl documentation page.
After a successful installation, please first try simple test documents, such as latex small2e. If that works, even more useful is to try your real-life documents, to check that they still work as expected.
After a successful installation, you can update from the tlpretest repository using tlmgr from time to time, if you wish. In the event of unusually drastic changes during the pretest you may have to reinstall.
Please email bug reports, suggestions, comments on TeX Live itself (the installation process, tlmgr, etc.) to email@example.com (archive). Bugs about specific packages should be reported to the package maintainers; TeX Live's basic job is to install (some of) what is on CTAN, not make changes on top of it. Resources for general questions and help using TeX are available separately.
The main TeX Live documentation and translations are not yet fully updated. Meanwhile, aside from the pervasive updates to new releases of packages and programs, here is a terse list of major user-visible changes:
Internally, LaTeX2e now includes Unicode-related engine configuration (what characters are letters, naming of primitives, etc.) which was previously part of TeX Live. This change is intended to be invisible to users; a few low-level internal control sequences have been renamed or removed, but the behavior should be just the same.
If you find other changes that should be noted, please report them. This sort of documentation improvement is one of the most important things pretesters can help with.