[tex-live] Problem in updating texlive-2009

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Thu Jul 29 12:55:33 CEST 2010

On Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 2:51 AM, S. venkataraman <svenkat at ignou.ac.in> wrote:

> As George said, I have installed texlive from scratch.
> Earlier, I had a fairly up to date installation of texlive 2009.
> I have formatted my hard disk and installed texlive 2009, CTAN  DVD
> version, not the Ubuntu version.  So, I know that updates do exist .

Well, updates did exist, but will likely be lost at TL2010 release.

> [...]
> As George said, I have a few long running tasks and I am a bit
> wary of updating to 2010 just now.

Understandable, but unless you have some very specific needs,
it will be less painful to use the current 2010 version because
the developers are actively working to ensure that TL2010 works
properly, while problems with TL2009 are less likely to be
fixed (especially problems stemming from an OS that is newer
than 2009!).

It seems that you are not "close" to CTAN mirror site.   I was
in the same position until quite recently, when 1) a local
university created a mirror site, and 2) my office got a
direct connection to a research network.   With the old
setup I found network installs unworkable, so I created
a local mirror that was updated during off-peak hours.
If you are "close" to Ubuntu or Debian mirrors, you may
be better off using texlive as provided by a linux distro.

The design of CTAN TL means that if you have the disk
space you can easily have both a distribution texlive and
your own texlive (just don't use the symlinks option in CTAN
TL).    You can try:

sudo apt-get install texlive

I don't know how well the distro packages track updates, but
in the event of a problem you can file a bug with the distro.

> [...]

> George, how does one install from the backup?
> Is it that, all you have to do is to put back the
> links to the executables or does it involve anything more?
> Aren't there any environment variables set by texlive that we
> have to set by hand again?  Can you elaborate a bit?

Sure.  CTAN TL resides entirely in the tree you chose
(in your case, I recall seeing /opt/texlive/2009).   There is
an option to create symbolic links (e.g., in /usr/bin), but
you can add those after you have the TL tree.   I use this
routinely -- I do one install on linux for all the <archs> and
then copy the tree to each machine that will be running

If you have a backup of your old system, simply copy the
tree to the new system, e.g.,

sudo mkdir -p /opt/texlive
sudo chown <yourself>{<your group> /opt/texlive
rsync -a <backup location>/opt/texlive/2009/ /opt/texlive/2009/

If you want symbolic links, "tlmgr --help" mentions:

        sys_bin    (directory to which executables are linked by the
path action)
        sys_man    (directory to which man pages are linked by the path action)
        sys_info   (directory to which Info files are linked by the path action)

path [--w32mode=user|admin] [add|remove]

       On Unix adds or removes symlinks for binaries, man pages, and info
       pages in the directories specified by the respective options (see

Note that if you have TL2009 installed on a system with different <arch>,
you can add binaries for the new <arch>, copy the tree, and remove the
unwanted <arch> from both systems.   I prefer something like:


because I can easily switch between, e.g., TL2009 and TL2010 pre-prelease
for testing, but this does create some difficulties with tools/packages
that require /usr/bin/<program>.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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