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.

This page is for people who wish to use the binary installer to provide the programs, the scripts, and a lot of supporting files and documentation. 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 2018/ directory.

There are two reasons why you may wish to install the binaries in BLFS: either you need a smaller install (e.g. at a minimum plain TeX without LaTeX2e, ConTeXt, etc), or you wish to use tlmgr to get updates whilst this version is supported (typically, until April of the year after it was released). For the latter, you might prefer to install in your /home directory as an unprivileged user, and to then make corresponding changes to the PATH in your ~/.bashrc or equivalent.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-8.3 platform.

Package Information


Recommended (at runtime)

As always with contributed binary software, it is possible that the required dependencies may change when the installer is updated. In particular, these dependencies have only been checked on x86_64.

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.

As with any other package, unpack the installer and change into its directory, install-tl-<CCYYMMDD>. This directory name changes when the installer is updated, so replace <CCYYMMDD> by the correct directory name.



The distribution binaries installed below may 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.

With all contributed binary software, there may be a mismatch between the builder's toolchain and your hardware. In most of TeX this will probably not matter, but in uncommon corner cases you might hit problems. e.g. if your x86_64 processor does not support 3dnowext or 3dnow, the 2014-06-28 binary failed in conTeXt when running LuaTeX, although lualatex worked, as did the i686 binaries on the same machine. In such cases, the easiest solution is to install texlive from source. Similarly, the x86_64 binary version of asy runs very slowly when creating 3-D diagrams.

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 4.9 gigabytes of disk space. The time to complete the download will depend on your internet connection speed and the number of packages selected.

Command Explanations

./install-tl --location use a variation of this if you wish to use a different mirror, e.g. because you are in New Zealand but the installer chooses to use an Australian mirror. The list of mirrors is at


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

Short Descriptions

TeX programs

The programs included in TeX are too numerous to individually list. Please refer to the individual program HTML and PDF pages in the various html, man, or pdf files within the subdirectories of 2018/texmf-dist/. Using texdoc pdflatex ( replace pdflatex with the command name ) may also be useful.

Last updated on 2018-08-27 14:18:12 -0700