Installing TeX Live 2011 on Ubuntu

Debian and Ubuntu provide very good packages of Tex Live. But it takes some time untile they switch to newer versions. The current stable Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) comes with Tex Live 2009 and this is not going to change for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

If you’re a version-number-junkie like me and you do not want to wait I have written a little tutorial how to install the latest TeX Live on Ubuntu.

To my knowledge there is currently no ppa available. So the installation has to be done manually.
Doing this, you are additionally able to use the command “tlmgr’, giving you better control of upgrades and which packages will be installed.

Basically, there are two options.

The first is, removing the Tex Live 2009 that comes with Ubuntu, doing the manual installation and then telling the system, that the installation was done manually and dependencies are met for other packages, e.g. Kile or other LaTeX editors. According to the listing, the package is a dummy package whose only purpose is to install a decent selection of dependencies. So it is in principle possible to install the texlive-full package without installing any of its dependencies.

The second, and possibly easier solution is to simply let the one that comes with the system installed and install the new version side by side. This wastes a lot of disk space, but that should not be an issue on modern machines. And if you do this right, you get the new features without running into the risk that the upgrade may break some dependencies from other packages. It is also much easier to go back. If something goes wrong you simply delete the directory where you installed it. And that is what the purpose of the /usr/local directory is. Install TeX Live to /usr/local/texlive using the installer, ensure that /usr/local/texlive…/bin path appears before /usr/bin in your path settings and that TEXMFCNF points to the right place. By doing this you simply ignore the system installation of Tex Live and are able to revert to it if necessary.

Therefore this tutorial goes for the second option.

Installing TeX Live over the Internet

1. Dowload the TeV Live installer.
Open e terminal and type:

2. Extract the installer

tar -zxvf install-tl-unx.tar.gz

3. Run the installer with super user privileges

cd install-tl-20110812
sudo ./install-tl

The installer should automatically detect the correct settings. It wants to do a full installation to /usr/local which is exactly what we want. So press “I” to start the installation. This may now take a while. Don’t worry about some connection errors. It will automatically retry.

4. Path settings

Add the following to your .bashrc if you use the bash or .zshrc file if you use the zshell with your favourite editor:

export PATH=”/usr/local/texlive/2011/bin/x86_64-linux:$PATH”
export MANPATH=”/usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf/doc/man:$MANPATH”
export INFOPATH=”/usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf/doc/info:$INFOPATH”
export TEXMFHOME=”/usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf”
export TEXMFCNF=”/usr/local/texlive/2011/texmf/web2c”

Then source the file or restart the shell and you’re done!

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