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According to http://www.tug.org/texlive/ TeXLive 2011 is almost released, so it's a good moment to initiate some early reports about it, especially:

  • what it brings new to the table - e.g. killer features (packages?),
  • what it takes from us - e.g. if you heavily depend on this or that, know that you'll have to go the other way,
  • upgrade pitfalls - e.g. if you're XYZ distro user, as I, you must be aware of ...

It will help others to make their minds about upgrading or delaying such decision for reasons stated in answers, e.g. describing some (hopefully they will be only minor) bothering problems.

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To summarize: The main reason to have the current version of TeXLive is to be able to update all packages to the newest version. Older versions are not updated at all. The binaries might also be improved, but in the case of (La)TeX which is mostly stable this doesn't matter much. If people really depend on a specific package/class version they should keep it in their local TEXMF tree. See How to install “vanilla” TeXLive on Debian or Ubuntu? about the distro part. –  Martin Scharrer Jun 30 '11 at 15:27
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One thing to be aware of if you're using the debian packaged version of texlive (2009) currently and are planning on upgrading is that you will be moving from pgf 2.00 to pgf 2.10. (This was true of TL2010 also). This means some commands will break. Like the bizarre 2.00 syntax for intersections is replaced with a more sensible syntax... –  Seamus Jun 30 '11 at 15:29
    
Are there big changes in XeTeX/LuaTeX for example? –  ℝaphink Jun 30 '11 at 15:39
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@Raphink: LuaLaTeX will work even better, ConTeXt MKiV is much improved. –  Martin Schröder Jun 30 '11 at 21:55
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@Seamus: Debian has a separate pgf package. Currently wheezy has 2.10. –  Faheem Mitha Aug 14 '11 at 9:02

6 Answers 6

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The TEX Live Guide for TeX Live 2011 has in section 9 Release history following information about present version (page 39):

2011 saw relatively few changes.

The Mac OS X binaries (universal-darwin and x86_64-darwin) now work only on Leopard or later; Panther and Tiger are no longer supported.

The biber program for bibliography processing is included on common platforms. Its development is closely coupled with the biblatex package, which completely reimplements the bibliographical facilities provided by LaTeX.

The MetaPost (mpost) program no longer creates or uses .mem files. The needed files, such as plain.mp, are simply read on every run. This is related to supporting MetaPost as a library, which is another significant though not user-visible change.

The updmap implementation in Perl, previously used only on Windows, has been revamped and is now used on all platforms. There shouldn’t be any user-visible changes as a result, except that it runs much faster.

Now for the packages the tkz collection arrives. :)
I think this is not very important because if you use tlmgr on unix or TeX live Utility on OS X, packages can be updated day after day with TL2010 or 2011.
(my english is not good; when TL2011 is in pretest TL2010 has been frozen, so we need TL 2011 to update with tlmgr or TeX live Utility)

I think it is important to use TL2011 to help the texlive community to continue releasing new and better versions. We can send corrections and suggestions.

It's possible to have two distributions (2010 and 2011) during several weeks and then you can make a choice. Actually I work only with TL2011 and pgf 2.1 cvs. I test every day.

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The new updmap works really much faster than before! –  egreg Jun 30 '11 at 15:43
    
Is it really true that tlmgr/TeXLive Utility can update TL2010 after it has been frozen? I don't think that's how it works. –  Alan Munn Jun 30 '11 at 16:19
    
@Alan No tlmgr/TeXLive Utility updates only TL2011. You have only access at something like :http://mirror.hmc.edu/tlpretest/ –  Alain Matthes Jun 30 '11 at 17:30
    
@Altermundus : tlpretest is now over, you should use normal mirrors. –  meduz Jul 26 '11 at 7:27
    
@meduz Now, yes you are right ! –  Alain Matthes Jul 28 '11 at 6:59

TeX Live has added a managing program since 2008, tlmgr. This program can't be used for updating from a release to a new one, up to now. But this is not a disadvantage in all respects.

The TeX Live trees are rooted in /usr/local/texlive (changeable at installation time) and each release is put in a "year" directory: /usr/local/texlive/2010 for the last one, /usr/local/texlive/2011 for the next.

My suggestion is always to avoid the option to create symbolic links for the binaries in the system directories (/usr/bin or /usr/local/bin) and to prefer adding

/usr/local/texlive/2011/bin/<...>

(where <...> stands for the architecture) to the PATH variable.

Suppose one is working to a major project which is compiling well on TeX Live 2010, but breaks with 2011 because of some updates to important packages (it happens). In this case it's very easy to go back to 2010: all it's needed is to change the PATH.

I actually suggest to make a symbolic link, say /opt/texbin pointing to the binaries

ln -s /usr/local/texlive/2011/bin/<...> /opt/texbin

and adding /opt/texbin to PATH. Thus going from a release to another becomes simply redefining the symbolic link (this is, more or less, the approach taken by MacTeX). When we're sure that the new release is working well, we can delete the old one with a single command.

Welcome additions to tlmgr would be the possibility to have this (but there are so many variants in the operating systems to cope with) and also the possibility of seeing with tlmgr(2010) the presence of tlmgr(2011) offering the option to install the new release. But not simply changing 2010 into 2011 and overwriting the old release: disk space is quite cheap, nowadays.

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A few old packages are removed for lisence reason. For example, slashbox, which has no proper copyright announcement at all, is removed from TeX Live. But they are still available in CTAN.

You cannot upgrade from TeX Live 2010 to 2011 through tlmgr (TeX Live Manager) directly. We have to uninstall TL10 and install TL11. It is bad news, maybe worst.

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tlmgr was added to TeX Live in 2008; it has never been possible to upgrade through it. –  egreg Jun 30 '11 at 23:15
    
@egreg: I know that. It's really unsatisfied. In fact one can try to use tlmgr to upgrade from old one to new one (09->10, 10->11), and it works somewhat 'fine', except that the install directory /some/dir/texlive/2010/ cannot be turned to /some/dir/texlive/2011. It's not very wise to use a year number in the path name for TeX Live. –  Leo Liu Jun 30 '11 at 23:33
    
On the contrary! I'll write an answer for explaining my point of view. –  egreg Jul 1 '11 at 7:35
    
I read here that it is possible to keep different versions (TL2010 and TL2011) installed at the same time (see "System-weites Wurzelverzeichnis") –  panny Jul 1 '11 at 9:05
    
@Leo: as I think I've already commented elsewhere, no, you don't have to uninstall TL10. The recommended way (unless short on disk space) is to keep both versions for some time and uninstall the old one only when you are satisfied that the new one works for you. –  mpg Jul 4 '11 at 18:22

TeX Live includes the editor TeXworks, which will also be updated. TL 2010 came with TeXworks 0.2.3, 2011 will have 0.4.x.

For more information see Release 0.4.3 News.

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The "-recorder" option to pdflatex/pdftex will write a ".fls" file named after the job on Windows (i.e., pdflatex -recorder foo.tex will produce foo.fls). Prior versions output a file name based on the PID of the process. From: http://tug.org/pipermail/tex-live/2011-June/029483.html.

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For upgrade from TeX Live 2010 to 2011, check out the following link:

http://www.tug.org/texlive/upgrade.html

In my case (Ubuntu 11.04 Natty 32 bit) I did it successfully.

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