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TeX Live on FreeBSD

TeX Live 2018 Notes for FreeBSD users

1. Prerequisites[top]

TeX Live 2018 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 >= 10.0, 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).
  • For asy binary you need a 3D-rendering .......................
From 2009 to 2012 I used to provide full TeX Live support for systems older than 7.1, and from 2013 to 2017 for systems older than 10.0. 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 2018[top]

  • This is the first clang-compiled TeX Live.
  • asy (Asymptote) binary is reincluded.

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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