Introduction to TeX Live from source

Most of TeX Live can be built from source without a pre-existing installation, but xindy (for indexing) needs working versions of latex and pdflatex when configure is run, and the testsuite and install for asy (for vector graphics) will fail if TeX has not already been installed. Additionally, biber is not provided within the texlive source.

All of those packages are dealt with on their own pages and can be built after installing this package and proceeding to Setting the PATH for TeX Live.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-7.7 platform.

Package Information

Required Additional Download

Much of the texlive environment (including scripts, documentation, fonts and various other files) is not part of the source tarball. You must download it separately. This will give you all of the additional files which are provided by a full install of the binary version, there is no realistic way to restrict which parts get installed.

Because of the size of this package, it is unlikely to be mirrored by BLFS mirrors. In case of difficulty, go to http://www.ctan.org/mirrors/ to find a more-accessible mirror.

TeX Live from source Dependencies



The source ships with its own versions of several libraries which are either not under active development, or only used for limited functionality. If you install these, as with some other optional dependencies in this book you will need to tell configure to use the system versions. GD, t1lib, ZZIPlib, TECkit

Runtime dependencies

User Notes: http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/texlive

Installation of TeX Live

Install TeX Live by running the following commands:

TEXARCH=$(uname -m | sed -e 's/i.86/i386/' -e 's/$/-linux/') &&
mkdir texlive-build &&
cd texlive-build    &&

../configure                                        \
    --prefix=/opt/texlive/2014                      \
    --bindir=/opt/texlive/2014/bin/$TEXARCH         \
    --datarootdir=/opt/texlive/2014                 \
    --includedir=/usr/include                       \
    --infodir=/opt/texlive/2014/texmf-dist/doc/info \
    --libdir=/usr/lib                               \
    --mandir=/opt/texlive/2014/texmf-dist/doc/man   \
    --disable-native-texlive-build                  \
    --disable-static --enable-shared                \
    --with-system-cairo                             \
    --with-system-fontconfig                        \
    --with-system-freetype2                         \
    --with-system-graphite2                         \
    --with-system-harfbuzz                          \
    --with-system-icu                               \
    --with-system-libgs                             \
    --with-system-libpaper                          \
    --with-system-libpng                            \
    --with-system-pixman                            \
    --with-system-poppler                           \
    --with-system-xpdf                              \
    --with-system-zlib                              \
    --with-banner-add=" - BLFS" &&
unset TEXARCH &&


To test the results, issue: make -k check One test in each of web2c, dvipng and ttf2pk2 will SKIP because kpathsea has not yet been installed.

Now, as the root user:

make install &&
make texlinks

And now, install the additional files as the root user:

mkdir -pv /opt/texlive/2014 &&
tar -xf ../../texlive-20140525-texmf.tar.xz -C /opt/texlive/2014 --strip-components=1

Now proceed to Setting the PATH for TeX Live.

Command Explanations

--prefix=, --bindir=, --datarootdir=, --infodir=, --mandir= ... : these switches ensure that the files installed from source will overwrite any corresponding files previously installed by install-tl-unx so that the alternative methods of installing texlive are consistent..

--includedir=, --libdir= ... : these switches ensure that the libraries will be found at runtime, and that programs can be compiled against them.

--disable-static: This switch prevents installation of static versions of the libraries.

--enable-shared: Use shared versions of libkpathsea and libptexenc.

--with-system-...: Unless this parameter is used, the included versions of these libraries will be statically compiled into the programs which need them. If you decided not to install a recommended library, omit the corresponding switch.

--with-system-xpdf: Uniquely, this parameter has a non-standard meaning, it tells configure to use the system-installed poppler headers and library. Again, omit this if you have not installed poppler.

--without-x: use this if you do not have Xorg installed.

make texlinks : this runs the texlinks.sh script to create (or recreate) symbolic links from formats to engines. In practice, several of the targets such as xetex are now separate binaries and for these it will report "file already exists".

tar -xf texlive-20140525-texmf.tar.xz -C /opt/texlive/2014 --strip-components=1: the tarball contains the files for the texmf-dist directory, and because of its size we do not want to waste time and space untarring it and then copying the files.


Installed Programs: Over 300 binaries and symlinks to scripts
Installed Libraries: libkpathsea.so, libptexenc.so
Installed Directories: /opt/texlive/2014/bin, /opt/texlive/2014/texmf-dist, /usr/include/kpathsea, /usr/include/ptexenc

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 installation directory's 2014/doc.html file, or the various html, man, or pdf files within the subdirectories of 2014/texmf-dist/.


(kpathsearch) exists to look up a file in a list of directories.


is a library for Japanese pTeX (publishing TeX).

Last updated on 2015-02-27 16:25:31 -0800