[Tex/LaTex] Installation of texlive-full on Ubuntu 12.04


If I install texlive-full on Ubuntu 12.04 using apt-get will I have the stable and checked version? or is there any security risk?
should I avoid installing it?

Best Answer

I would like to answer this question in light of my personal experience.

  1. For many years, I have been using the default installation of LaTeX which comes with Ubuntu, and even after being an avid LaTeX user, I did not face any appreciable problem.
  2. In my home machine I am running Ubuntu 12.04 and in my office machine Ubuntu 13.04, both have LaTeX installed using the default Ubuntu installation as outlined below.
  3. When installing LaTeX, you will want to use the command, sudo apt-get install texlive. You may get tempted to use sudo apt-get install texlive-full, but this will want to install so many extra (language) packages, most which will be unnecessary for your purpose.
  4. When the above installation is complete, you will want to install the necessary language and font packages applicable to you. The commands will be in the form of sudo apt-get install texlive-lang-dutch (put your language name here. If unsure, issue command sudo apt-get install texlive-full to see which packages are selected, pick-up your necessary name(s), answer `No' to installation, and then go for installation of that particular package).
  5. You may also want to install IBus (sudo apt-get install ibus), AUCTeX (sudo apt-get install auctex), and Emacs (sudo apt-get install emacs), should you feel the need and/or inspiration to use any of these.
  6. Installing RCS (sudo apt-get install rcs rcs-latex), will help you maintain the versions of your LaTeX documents.
  7. Should you need a package in future, please use the command apt-cache search <package/style name> to find the package and then use the sudo apt-get install command to install the package. See this post for details and other options.
  8. In some rare cases, you will fail to find some package in the above method outlined in the last step. In that case, please visit CTAN, use the Search feature to locate the package, download the .zip file, unzip it (unzip <zip file name>), read the README or INSTALL file to find out any additional steps before installation, and the copy the complete folder to /usr/local/share/texmf/tex/latex/ (sudo cp -vr <folder name> /usr/local/share/texmf/tex/latex/). You may need to create the parent directories if necessary. (mkdir command). After this, run sudo texhash or sudo mktexlsr to update the ls-R databases. Without the last step, LaTeX will fail to find the package.
  9. In the above discussion, I assumed that you will want to run LaTeX from command line, like me. Should you decide to install and use any of the GUI front ends, please see this post for further instructions. I think that Emacs with AUCTeX are more that sufficient. (This setup has also been mentioned in the aforementioned post.)
  10. I understand that as indicated in the above comment from Heiko Oberdiek, you have the moderate or less than moderate (italicized part is my personal opinion) risk of using an old version. But IMHO and based on my experience over more than a decade, the risks are very minimal. But still if you want to take this route, please use the post as indicated in the comment. But unless you are a very matured Linux user (believe me, I am), I would not suggest this path. No offense intended. Setting all the $PATH and environment variables may not be what you are looking for. And occasional conflicts in dependencies may mean some extra (non-LaTeX) hassles for you.