[tex-live] TeXstudio: candidate for TeX Live 2014?

Nelson H. F. Beebe beebe at math.utah.edu
Fri Aug 16 19:44:31 CEST 2013

Yesterday, the sourceforge newsletter carried this announcement:

>> ...
>> TeXstudio Is the August Project of the Month
>> The August Project of the Month is TeXstudio, which is a fully
>> featured LaTeX editor. Some of the outstanding features of TeXstudio
>> are an integrated PDF viewer with (almost) word-level synchronization,
>> live inline preview, advanced syntax-highlighting, live checking of
>> references, citations, latex commands, spelling and grammar.
>> ...

It is available here:


I spent considerable time yesterday and today trying to build it
on various flavors of Unix.

The main problem is dependencies on large complex systems:

	% ldd /usr/local/bin/texstudio | awk '{print $1}' | sort | pr -c4 -w80 -f

	/lib64/ld-linux-x86 libX11.so.6         libfreetype.so.6    libpoppler-qt4.so.4
	libICE.so.6         libXau.so.6         libgcc_s.so.1       libpoppler.so.26
	libQtCore.so.4      libXdmcp.so.6       libglib-2.0.so.0    libpthread.so.0
	libQtDBus.so.4      libXext.so.6        libgobject-2.0.so.0 librt.so.1
	libQtGui.so.4       libXrender.so.1     libgthread-2.0.so.0 libstdc++.so.6
	libQtNetwork.so.4   libbz2.so.1         libjpeg.so.8        libtiff.so.3
	libQtScript.so.4    libc.so.6           liblcms2.so.2       libuuid.so.1
	libQtSvg.so.4       libdl.so.2          libm.so.6           libxcb.so.1
	libQtTest.so.4      libexpat.so.1       libphonon.so.4      libz.so.1
	libQtXml.so.4       libffi.so.6         libpng14.so.14      linux-vdso.so.1
	libSM.so.6          libfontconfig.so.1

The three critical, and large, components are Qt4, poppler, and
optionally (for videos inside PDF), phonon.  The latter is disabled by
default at build time, but you can select it, and I successfully did
so on some systems. 

Those libraries tend to be available only on bleeding-edge GNU/Linux
distributions, and of the 25 or so flavors of Unix in my test lab,
only Fedora 17 has texstudio in the yum binary package system.  So,
there is no hope on Solaris, *BSD, and Red Hat 5 and 6.  On Gentoo,
texstudio is known to the emerge build system, but is masked on Alpha,
PowerPC, and SPARC because of unavailable package dependencies; those
are the only CPU architectures that we currently run Gentoo on.

The texstudio distribution .tar.gz files has a different name than the
directory that it unpacks into, and does not use standard autoconf.
Instead, you run ./Build.sh and answer a few questions, and then if
you are lucky, it continues to completion.  On some systems, I had to
manually adjust CFLAGS and CXXFLAGS in the generated Makefile so that
the C and C++ compilers could find needed header files.

I finally got successful builds and installation on these systems (all

	Debian 6.0.7
	Slackware 14.0
	Ubuntu 12.04

A build on Fedora 17 failed because of missing symbols in the final link:

	/usr/lib/libQtCore.so: undefined reference to `g_main_context_push_thread_default'
	/usr/lib/libQtCore.so: undefined reference to `g_main_context_pop_thread_default'

However, there I have the yum download installed.

The bulk of our local users are now on Red Hat 5 thin-client
workstations, so texstudio remains unavailable for them.

Although I do not myself use GUI-based systems for typesetting,
because I much prefer the power of GNU Emacs and Unix make for
handling the job reliably and without error, I was nevertheless
interested in trying out texstudio for our users who prefer such

The texstudio display takes advantages of wide monitors, and puts up
the DVI/PDF output window to the right of the input file windows.

Its configuration for switching between DVI and PDF output is somewhat
tedious, because you have to follow about three levels of menus to
change your output choice.  Some people might not mind this, but I
certainly do.

On startup on some, but not all systems, it insists on launching a
test suite (EVERY TIME!) that takes several minutes to run, during
which time it is impossible to get the File -> Open menu to work to
get to the file that you want to typeset.

texstudio stupidly, and wrongly, strips your filename suffix and
appends .tex.  I discovered that serious misfeature when I tried to
typeset my own test file, story.ltx, which is my own LaTeX version of
Don Knuth's famous story.tex from the TeXbook.  texstudio converted my
typesetting request to running latex on the story.tex file that it
found in the TeX Live tree, instead of my own.  Curiously, it does not
by default support plain TeX: just {pdf,,lua,xe}latex.  Perhaps that
can be fixed by further menu-based configuration.  The workaround was
to copy my file and typeset it under a unique name that is absent from
the TeX Live tree.

Perhaps other members of the TeX Live development team have personal
experience with TeXstudio, and could offer advice about whether it
should be considered for inclusion in the next year's TeX Live 2014
distribution on those platforms where it can be built.

In the source tree, and its sourceforge Web site, I could not quickly
spot information about its license.  However, its Help menu puts up a
panel that says GNU GPL version 2.

Comments and feedback from list members are welcome, including reports
of ports to other O/S and CPU platforms.

- Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
- University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
- Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe at math.utah.edu  -
- 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe at acm.org  beebe at computer.org -
- Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe/ -

More information about the tex-live mailing list