tex live 2021 installation question

Bob bobabc at bellsouth.net
Wed Aug 18 15:34:18 CEST 2021

Hi All,

I want to thank Zdanek, Vladimir, and a third person who replied 
privately.  Vladimir, I have to confess that the warm welcome you 
extended may not be completely deserved; I'm installing Tex Live on 
fedora 34 not Archlinux.  I only ended up looking at some Archlinux 
documentation since I was confused by the tug.org installation instructions.

Let me summarize my what I think I have learned from the instructions 
and the discussion.  Please let me know if any of the the following is 
incorrect, especially the paragraph with the asterisks since that's my 

For linux, tug.org recommends installing Tex Live as a normal user---not 
as root.  Similarly, tug.org recommends using their installer---not the 
linux distribution's package manager.

**If Tex Live is being installed on a workstation used by one person 
with sudo rights, then the person could use sudo mkdir 
/usr/local/texlive to create the directory and then use chown to 
transfer ownership of /usr/local/texlive from root to the regular user 
account.  After that the regular user account would be used to install 
and maintain Tex Live.**

If the person using the workstation does not have sudo rights, then the 
person can install Tex Live into their home directory by resetting TEXDIR.

If more than one person would be using the workstation, then a separate 
user account could be created for the purpose of installing and 
maintaining Tex Live.  (Even if only one person is using the workstation 
that person might prefer to have a separate user account for installing 
and maintaining Tex Live.)

All of the above assumes that there is sufficient space in the 
installation directory.

Thank you, again!


On 2021-08-18 5:05 a.m., Zdenek Wagner wrote:
> Hi,
> TeX Live should preferably be installed by a regular user but
> /usr/local is writable by root only. When making the very first
> installation you must create directory /usr/local/texlive as root and
> change its ownership to the user who will the run installation.
> Zdeněk Wagner
> http://ttsm.icpf.cas.cz/team/wagner.shtml
> st 18. 8. 2021 v 4:19 odesílatel Vladimir Lomov <lomov.vl at yandex.ru> napsal:
>> Hello,
>> (from TeX Live and Archlinux user here ;)
>> ** Bob <bobabc at bellsouth.net> [2021-08-17 16:15:01 -0400]:
>>> Hi All,
>>> I am attempting to do a new installation of tex live 2021 on a new
>>> installation of fedora 34.  When running the installer, I received the msg:
>>> Enter command: I
>>> Installing to: /usr/local/texlive/2021
>>> install-tl: mkdir(/usr/local/texlive/) failed for tree
>>> /usr/local/texlive/2021: Permission denied at tlpkg/TeXLive/TLUtils.pm line
>>> 999, <STDIN> line 4.
>> How do you used to install TeX Live earlier? What did you run to install TeX
>> Live this time?
>>> What is the best solution?  Should I just mkdir /usr/local/texlive and give
>>> write permission to all?
>> It depends on your experience, how you plan to use and maintain TeX Live
>> installation.
>>> I found something from archlinux at:
>>> https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=183146
>> Which has following topic name: "'Best' way to install programs?" dates 2014
>> and has very good answers:
>>    Even if you compile from-source, you should still install using pacman.
>>    PKGBUILDs are your friends.
>>    I'd highly recommend staying away from compiling from source. If you don't
>>    know how to make a PKGBUILD for whatever it is you're compiling by hand,
>>    you'll probably regret doing it.
>>    Wether you build packages from source or use binary packages from the repos
>>    you should install using pacman. If you want a package that is not in the
>>    repos nor in the AUR find the source and write PKGBUILD for it. After that
>>    feel free to submit it to AUR.
>> And even this one
>>    TeX is an exception. There are two good ways to install TeX Live. One is to
>>    use pacman. The other is to use the upstream installer....
>> I use both: I install TeX Live packages provided by distribution (thank
>> goodness I'm using Archlinux not RPM/DEB based distributions).
>>> that recommends creating a new user:
>> If you don't understand why you need a new user why would you bother go that
>> way?
>> Quote from 'cfr' user (which advice you want to follow):
>>    I also recommend *not* installing as root. This is also in line with
>>    upstream's recommendation.
>> That's not entirely true. Quoting from http://www.tug.org/texlive/quickinstall.html
>>    You do not need to be root (administrator on Windows) to install, use, or
>>    manage TeX Live. Indeed, we recommend installing it as a normal user, except
>>    perhaps on MacOSX, where it's conventional to install as administrator.
>>    (Some information about shared installations.) As always, you need to have
>>    permission to write into the destination directory, but TeX Live itself does
>>    not care if you are root or not.
>> You have option: either to install as root or as ordinary user but in that
>> case you have to have write permissions to installation directory.
>> Just run as an user (if there is no such directory)
>> $ mkdir /usr/local/opt/texlive
>> If you don't have root rights then you don't have write permissions to
>> /usr/local/opt directory and that command would fail.
>>> ==============
>>> I also recommend *not* installing as root. This is also in line with
>>> upstream's recommendation. What I did was create a new user and group
>>> (texlive:texlive). As root, I also created the directory /usr/local/texlive
>>> and made sure it was owned by the texlive user. Then I logged in as that
>>> user to install. This works well. Neither the installer nor later use of the
>>> utilities can touch your home directory or system files. There is no
>>> downside to this - it is no less convenient than having the installation
>>> owned by root. So you gain a security benefit for no cost. (Or minimal cost:
>>> you have to create a single user and group, make one new directory and chmod
>>> that directory appropriately.)
>>> # adjust options as desired
>>> useradd -d /usr/local/texlive -m -g texlive -r -s /bin/sh texlive
>>> Set a password for the new account, and check ownership and permissions on
>>> the new directory:
>>> drwxr-xr-x   7 texlive texlive 4.0K Meh  26 02:14 .
>>> Then log in as texlive and install.
>>> =================
>>> What is the recommended way to solve this permission problem?
>> Follow three top answers: use your distribution package manager and your
>> distribution packages.
>>> --Bob
>> P.S. If you really want to install TeX Live (TUG, not distribution packages)
>> you have some options. There are many ways depending on context: what kind of
>> system you have, how many free space you have, what is your daily tasks, how
>> much you experienced are, do you want to understand how your system work and
>> etc. Due to these many factors the TeX Live manual doesn't describe any
>> particular way because that would be treated (by someone) as "recommendation".
>> And of course it's impossible to cover all possible variants.
>> Nevertheless, I'll try to describe two possible ways.
>> 1. Install as root. When this applicable: you have root rights (you could run
>>    commands through sudo), have enough free disk space and you don't mind to do
>>    administration task, for example, to update TeX Live packages.
>>    I won't tell you how to check if you able to run commands through sudo, you
>>    could check that yourself.
>>    I suppose that you want to install TeX Live into /usr/local/opt/texlive/2021
>>    because /usr/local (or /, or /usr, or /usr/local/opt) has plenty of space,
>>    at least 9Gb.
>>    You downloaded install-unx.tar.gz, unpacked it, changed current directory to
>>    install-2021XXXX and now run 'install-tl' as root:
>>      $ sudo ./install-tl
>>    You will be asked to where install TeX Live. You could either change path in
>>    menu and installer will create necessary directory itself or create it
>>    separately, for example, before you run 'install-tl'
>>      $ sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/opt/texlive/2021
>>      $ sudo ./install-tl
>>    Also you could choose either to make symbolic links in /usr/local/bin
>>    (actually I don't remember to where the links are created) or not but then
>>    you have to know how to add /usr/local/opt/texlive/2021/bin/x86_64-linux to
>>    PATH variable.
>>    In general, it is very simple. But there are pitfalls.
>>    a) The installation will be owned by root user so to make any changes, for
>>    example, to update packages, you have to run commands as root. For instance,
>>    to update installed packages:
>>      $ sudo tlmgr update --self
>>      $ sudo tlmgr update --all
>>    b) If you chosen to make symbolic links in /usr/local/bin you couldn't use
>>    several TeX Live installations in parallel in simple way (see below) and you
>>    have to remove previous TeX Live installation if you want to upgrade (2021
>>    -> 2022) (I don't use symlinks so I actually don't check correctness of
>>    this).
>>    c) If you don't use symlinks in /usr/local/bin, for example, you have
>>    several TeX Live installation in parallel, say /usr/local/opt/texlive/2020,
>>    /usr/local/opt/texlive/2021, /usr/local/opt/texlive/2022 (in future) you
>>    should know how to append 'bin/x86_64-linux' path to PATH variable (or
>>    change it). Details depend (a bit) on what shell do you use: bash, zsh,
>>    tcsh, fish...
>> 2. Install as ordinary user. There are two variants here: you either have root
>>    rights but still want to install TeX Live as ordinary user or you don't have
>>    root rights but have enough free space, say in your home directory.
>>    a) If you have root rights just run
>>        $ sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/opt/texlive/2021
>>        $ sudo chown $(id -un).$(id -gn) /usr/local/opt/texlive/2021
>>        $ ./install-tl
>>      Note that you should run last command as ordinary user. Then you have to
>>      add /usr/local/opt/texlive/2021/bin/x86_64-linux to your user PATH
>>      variable (see 1.c) above).
>>    b) If you don't have root rights but have free space in $HOME directory. Run
>>    installer but choose $HOME/texlive/2021 as installation directory. Don't
>>    forget to add $HOME/texlive/2021/bin/x86_64-linux to PATH variable!
>> As you see there are many ways to install TeX Live and they vary by details
>> depending on context.
>> ---
>> WBR, Vladimir Lomov
>> --
>> Artistic ventures highlighted.  Rob a museum.

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