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TeX Live on FreeBSD

TeX Live 2017 Notes for FreeBSD users

1. Prerequisites[top]

TeX Live 2017 fully supports FreeBSD (i386 and amd64). To install it, you need just Perl. To use its graphical user interface (recommended), you need x11-toolkits/p5-Tk.
  • All binaries are compiled to work on every FreeBSD >= 7.1, including 12-CURRENT.
  • The following binaries need the basic X.Org and font-related libraries, which should be present on your system if you have any graphical environment: mf (symlinked to it: inimf), mflua (symlinked to it: mflua-nowin), mfluajit (symlinked to it: mfluajit-nowin), pdfclose, pdfopen, xdvi-xaw (usually accessed via xdvi) and xetex (symlinked to it: xelatex.
From 2009 to 2012 I used to provide full TeX Live support for systems older than 7.1. Please follow the links in the header for more info if you use such a system or need them for any other purpose.

2. FreeBSD-specific changes in 2017[top]

There is no FreeBSD-specific changes this year.

3. Official TeX Live release vs. FreeBSD TeX Live port[top]

Since 2013, TeX Live is available through FreeBSD ports system. You can choose what suits you better. However, there are several advantages of using the original TeX Live distribution:
  • the official TeX Live release remains the only way to easily install and use biber (the next-generation Unicode-aware biblatex backend ‒ relies on many newer-than-ported and not-yet-ported Perl modules) and xindy (the next-generation Unicode-aware indexing system);
  • you can maintain multiple versions of TeX Live in parallel;
  • you can keep TeX Live installation decoupled from other ports, and thus untouched after major FreeBSD releases;
  • you can maintain your TeX packages independently of ports and install updates immediately after they are released.
  • at the time of TeX Live 2017 release (the beginning of June 2017), the port lags behind significantly, offering TeX Live 2015.

4. Technical details[top]

  • TeX Live 2017 sources (SVN r44338) are built with --disable-dvisvgm --disable-dialog in clean jail(8)s (__FreeBSD_version 702106), with a minimal number of ports installed with their dependencies; these are devel/gmake, x11/libX11, x11-toolkits/libXmu, x11-toolkits/libXaw and x11-fonts/fontconfig.
  • The sources are built using gcc-4.2.1 and clisp-2.49.
  • upmendex is built with -DU_IS_BIG_ENDIAN=0 in order to make it working on i386 (cf. this thread on TeX Live mailing list).
  • xdvi-xaw is built with static library linking in order to make it portable.
  • dvisvgm is not updated this year and TeX Live 2016 version (1.15.1) is shipped. The new version has C++11 requirement, so we had to choose between an absolute portability of all binaries (and thus keeping the old building system one more year) and a close-to-zero risk of using a slightly outdated dvisvgm.

5. Feedback[top]

Please report any FreeBSD-related problem with official TeX Live release to mailing list and/or to me.
Last updated: 04 June 2017
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Никола Лечић :: Nikola Lečić ::
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