[tex-live] TeX Live 2016 binaries status, and TeX Live 2016 reaches some Linux distributions

Nelson H. F. Beebe beebe at math.utah.edu
Mon Jun 13 15:09:36 CEST 2016

Martin Schr{\"o}der <martin at oneiros.de> asks on Sun, 12 Jun 2016 18:38:40 +0200:

>> but I have to ask: Do you know what "Long-Term Support" means?
>> I doubt it - otherwise you wouldn't imply that 16.04 should update to TL2016.
>> ...
>> > CentOS 7 (and thus, Red Hat 7 and Scientific Linux 7), the latest
>> > version in that popular distribution family, still has only TeX Live
>> > 2013.
>> Small wonder: RHEL7 was released on 2014-06-10.
>> OTOH Fedora currently has TL2015.
>> ...

The shelf-life of most Linux (and BSD) distributions is fairly short,
especially in comparison to Solaris where I can still run binaries
build in 1990 (and IBM mainframe O/Ses can sometimes run 60-year-old

For Ubuntu, releases appear twice a year, and according to


every fourth release is labeled long-term support (LTS), and since
version 12.04 LTS (on 26 April 2012), support is guaranteed for five

Fedora's major releases seem to appear every few months: according to


major version 1 appeared in 2003, and version 24 in 2016.

Because many Linux distributions drop previously-released shared
libraries, user-produced executables often fail to run after major
version upgrades.  That is a HUGE problem at many sites, commercial,
government, and academic, and is a strong reason for the commercial
success of companies like Red Hat and SUSE who offer customers support
for more than a decade on each release.  See


As an indication of the size of the problem, on the CentOS 7 desktop
on which I'm writing this letter, I have 23,667 executables in my
PATH, and 60% of those are not from the CentOS channel.

It has never seemed to me that the release of an O/S major version
should mean that all additional software should be frozen at the
levels available sometime before the date of version n.0 of the kernel
of that O/S.

- Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
- University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
- Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe at math.utah.edu  -
- 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe at acm.org  beebe at computer.org -
- Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe/ -

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