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 The installer is updated frequently, so any published md5sum will soon be out of date. Newer versions of the installer are expected to work with these instructions, for so long as they install to a 2023/ 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 12.1 platform.

Package Information


Recommended (at runtime)

The binary version of asy is linked to from libglvnd, but installing that will break future updates of BLFS packages such as Mesa-24.0.1. Work around that by creating a symlink as the root user:

ln -sv /usr/lib/


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.

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.



If you have installed any of the luatex programs (luatex, luahbtex, luajitex, luajithbtex) or ConTeXt with the luametatex backend there was a security issue fixed by the introduction of luatex v1.17.0. You should check the version with 'luatex --version' and if it is less than 1.17.0 you can use tlmgr to update.



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. For example, 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.

It has been established by Debian that the python scripts in latex-make will work with python3, so update them to invoke that by running the following command as the root user:

for F in /opt/texlive/2023/texmf-dist/scripts/latex-make/*.py ; do
  test -f $F && sed -i 's%/usr/bin/env python%/usr/bin/python3%' $F || true

Command Explanations

test -f $F && sed ...: in a small install these files might not be present, so test if they exist and if not return 'true' to avoid any error if this command has been copied into one of your own install scripts.

./install-tl --location use a variation of this if you wish to use a different mirror, for example, 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 2023/texmf-dist/. Using texdoc pdflatex ( replace pdflatex with the command name ) may also be useful