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** New Features in MacTeX-2021 and TeX Live 2021 **

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The major change in 2021 is full support for both Arm and Intel processors. Arm binaries are compiled on a machine with an Arm processor and Intel binaries are compiled on a machine with an Intel processor. Then these binaries are combined into a single "universal binary" file. In 2021, these binaries are in /usr/local/texlive/2021/bin/universal-darwin.

The same sources are used on both machines, so Arm and Intel are on a completely equal footing. This will remain true for many years to come.

The only exceptions are biber and xindy, which only have Intel code but run fine using Rosetta. The program biber is compiled by its author rather than by TeX Live volunteers, and is expected to become universal later in the year. The program xindy requires CLisp, and we had trouble compiling CLisp for Arm machines.

Ghostscript now has universal code. The four GUI programs we distribute --- TeXShop, TeX Live Utility, LaTeXiT, and BibDesk --- also have universal code and full support for Big Sur. These programs are all signed, and thus can be included in MacTeX, which is signed and notarized.

X11 is a windowing system created at MIT and used in the Linux world. There is a third party open source project to provide X11 on the Macintosh; see This project was updated to support both Arm and Intel in late February, 2021. The previous version only supported Intel.

Four binaries in TeX Live require X11: pdfopen, pdfclose, xdvi-xaw. If you want to use them, install xQuartz. Users with Arm must install the new February version.

Ghostscript is compiled twice, once with X11 support and once without. Thus we provide two binaries for Ghostscript in /usr/local/bin, called gs-X11 and gs-noX11. At install time, we create a link in this location named gs. It points to gs-X11 if the user installed xQuartz, and to gs-noX11 otherwise. If users on Arm machines want to use gs-X11, they should upgrade to the latest xQuartz before installing Ghostscript (or update to the latest xQuartz and then install Ghostscript again).

TeX Live 2021

The following list of TeX Live changes is taken directly from a TUG pretest web page. The TUG page has relative links into the documentation which we removed. Read below for a brief overview. For details, go to

Notable changes

The main TeX Live documentation and translations are not yet fully updated.

As always, there are pervasive updates to packages and programs. We can't list them all, but here are the major user-visible changes in the principal programs:


Nothing major; see full Kpathsea news for details.

The Aleph-based LaTeX format, named lamed, has been removed. The aleph binary itself is still included and supported.

eptex, euptex
Nothing major; see full ChangeLogs for details.

luatex (full LuaTeX news)

metapost (full MetaPost news)

pdftex= (full pdfTeX news)

ptex (full pTeX news)
Nothing major.

xetex (full XeTeX news)
Fixes for math kerning.

dvipdfmx (full dvipdfmx news)

dvips (full dvips news)

tlmgr (full tlmgr news)