[tex-live] Installing latest TeX Live on Ubuntu

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Tue Feb 28 01:22:15 CET 2012

On 2012-02-26 at 16:22:44 +0100, Zdenek Wagner wrote:

 > 2012/2/26 Nickolai Leschov <nleschov at gmail.com>:
 > > Hello,
 > >
 > > I have trouble installing latest TeX Live on Ubuntu. I need the latest
 > > version of TeX Live, so I install with the install-tl installer, not
 > > from repositories.
 > >
 > > I try to follow the instructions "TeX Live and Debian/Ubuntu"
 > > (http://www.tug.org/texlive/debian.html), section "Integrating
 > > vanilla TeX Live with Debian". First, how do I install "as root,
 > > system-wide"?  I do "sudo ./install-tl" Is this right? Then, how
 > > do I "ensure that the only Debian TeX Live packages installed are
 > > tex-common, texinfo, and perhaps lmodern"?
 > >
 > First, I never install TeX Live as root, you may have problems
 > later when updating (sudo may not find the right PATH for tlmgr
 > unless you configure TL even for use by root). Instead (as root) I
 > create /usr/local/texlive and change the owner so that a normal
 > user, who is supposed to take care of the TL installation, is the
 > owner with write permission. After installation you have to set
 > PATH properly. The TL path must be at the beginning. There are
 > several places where it can be set, e.g. /etc/environment,
 > /etc/bashrc, or user's ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile. For
 > system-wide settings /etc/environment is probably the best choice.

Well, I agree that it's not necessary to install TL as root.  I don't
recommend it either, but actually there is nothing wrong with it.

/usr/local is usually owned by root and I don't understand why one
wants to change ownership of /usr/local/texlive only, instead of the
whole /usr/local tree.  Is TeX Live more dangerous than other programs
you install yourself?  I doubt.  I'm the owner of /usr/local simply
because I'm too lazy to log in as root again and again.  But I'm
absolutely convinced that running tlmgr as root is safe.  Even
installing software with "configure/make/make install" as root never
caused any trouble, though you have to be more careful about the
origin of the software.

I personally dislike the sudo command.  It's probably fine for people
who don't [want to] know much about the operating system they are
using but have to use the package manager or a configuration tool
occasionally.  But for those who install their own software, sudo is a
pain and it's better to run "sudo passwd" and then log in as root as

Sure, it's better not to be root all the time, but TeX Live is
certainly reliable enough and there is nothing wrong installing it as

Regarding symlinks: They are not recommended.  But the TL installer
adds TL to PATH on Windows already.  This can't be done sensibly on
Unix for several reasons.  Since we can't expect anymore that Linux
users know more about the system they are using than Windows users,
the symlink option of the installer can be regarded as a last resort.


Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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