[tex-live] problem installing/configuring biber

Clea F. Rees reescf at gmail.com
Tue Jul 24 03:13:11 CEST 2012

My apologies if this has been covered. I lost access to this list due
to email issues and have resubscribed under a different account. I
searched the archives and found one report of a problem but that
thread suggested that that issue had already been fixed.

Essentially, biber does not work for me. In TL 2011 this wasn't too
much of a problem. I just used bibtex8 with biblatex. The new 2012
release seems to be more of an issue - I can't get bibtex8 to work
well with biblatex and biber still fails.

I'm not quite sure what information to provide. I installed TL 2012
through the net-install and tlmgr tells me no updates are available.
I'm using 64 bit Arch Linux but I did not install texlive through the
package manager but using the installer provided on the texlive site.

biber --help

produces no output. The exit code is 255.

 I don't know if the following is useful. Somebody told me to try this
recently for a problem I was having with firefox:

$ strace -e trace=open biber
open("/etc/ld.so.cache", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/lib/libnsl.so.1", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/lib/libdl.so.2", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/lib/libm.so.6", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/lib/libcrypt.so.1", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/lib/libutil.so.1", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/lib/libpthread.so.0", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/lib/libc.so.6", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/etc/nsswitch.conf", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/etc/ld.so.cache", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/lib/libnss_files.so.2", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/etc/passwd", O_RDONLY|O_CLOEXEC) = 4
open("/usr/local/texlive/bin/biber", O_RDONLY) = 4
O_WRONLY|O_CREAT|O_EXCL, 0755) = -1 EEXIST (File exists)
O_WRONLY|O_CREAT|O_EXCL, 0755) = -1 EEXIST (File exists)
+++ exited with 255 +++

I get fairly similar output (with a different cache directory) if I
switch back to the 2011 version. I've never managed to get any output
from biber. (But I didn't try very hard for the 2011 - just stuck to

Note: I have semi-copied MacTeX's setup in a simplified form. So that
/usr/local/texlive/bin and /usr/local/texlive/current are symlinks:

 bin -> 2012/bin/x86_64-linux
 current -> 2012

ldd on biber gives:

        linux-vdso.so.1 (0x00007fffc5f27000)
        libnsl.so.1 => /lib/libnsl.so.1 (0x00007f6595205000)
        libdl.so.2 => /lib/libdl.so.2 (0x00007f6595001000)
        libm.so.6 => /lib/libm.so.6 (0x00007f6594d07000)
        libcrypt.so.1 => /lib/libcrypt.so.1 (0x00007f6594ad0000)
        libutil.so.1 => /lib/libutil.so.1 (0x00007f65948cd000)
        libpthread.so.0 => /lib/libpthread.so.0 (0x00007f65946b1000)
        libc.so.6 => /lib/libc.so.6 (0x00007f659430d000)
        /lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 (0x00007f659541d000)

perl is version 5.16.0-2 (-2 is a distro release number)

Note that the texlive installation is entirely under
/usr/local/texlive (apart from personal stuff under ~/texmf) and is
owned by a dedicated non-privileged user (name: texlive, group:

Could somebody point me in the right direction? I'm sure that I'm
missing something obvious but I just can't see it. I'm happy to
provide further information. I will appreciate any help.

System: Linux 3.4.6-1-ARCH #1 SMP PREEMPT Fri Jul 20 08:21:26 CEST
2012 x86_64 GNU/Linux
System is fully up to date.

More information about the tex-live mailing list