[Tex/LaTex] Auto Package download for TeXLive


I use MiKTeX on Windows and quite satisfied with it. Recently I started switching all my tasks toward open-source alternatives, and in the course I would love to use Linux. In Linux TeXLive is available as alternative to MiKTeX. The thing I really like about MiKTeX, is its ability to install packages automatically. Can I do the same in TeXLive too? Is there a way I can enable such or install some plugins for it?

I am using Fedora 18, if that's needed.

Best Answer

While in MiKTeX an installation process is automatically triggered if you have, say, \usepackage{beamer} in a document preamble without the corresponding package installed, there is no such feature on TeX Live.

The last statement is not true actually, as pointed out by wasteofspace in the comments there is the texliveonfly package that implements the on demand installation in TeX Live 2010 and later. I never tested it and don't know if it has drawbacks.

However, if you install the full (or almost full) TeX Live collection of packages (~2400) you will not need to add new packages, a periodic tlmgr update -all will take care of everything, including the installation of packages added to the TeX Live collection after you first full installation. This feature is explained in the tlmgr manual.

Analogously, if a package has been added to a collection on the server that is also installed locally, it will be added to the local installation. This is called auto-install and is announced as such when using the option --list. This auto-installation can be suppressed using the option --no-auto-install

The manual has lots of info on useful commands and it is a recommended reading for every user.

The downside is of course that you need the full set of packages installed in your machine, which may be a problem if you don't have enough free space. If you really can't spare 2GB from your HD, it is also possible to install TeX Live in a, say, 4GB USB key and live happily ever after :)

Everything I just wrote requires that you install TeX Live with one the methods described here. If you decide to use the TeX packages from your distro you are forced to follow their update policy, which is different for different distros