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I am using LaTeX to document a system I am developing. The system is itself a development environment which will be generating documentation. What is the minimum distribution I need to include in my system in order for users to produce documents from the generated LaTeX code. What is the minimum distribution that will meet the first requirement, and satisfy all the license conditions of all distributed material (I assume this will be larger).

In response to comments:

OS Window XP Distribution MikTex + TexNic centre

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Which is your OS? Give us a little more info. – Tomas Nov 5 '10 at 19:17
Also the distribution (in case of Linux OS) and LaTeX system (TeXLive, MikTeX, ...) is of interest to answer your question. – Rupert Jones Nov 5 '10 at 19:29
have you thought about using context instead? probably a lot easier to package the context minimal distro than the latex one. – Mica Nov 5 '10 at 22:01
I will look at context - I was not aware of it. – Chris Walton Nov 5 '10 at 22:07
up vote 5 down vote accepted

As the comments indicate, it would help to know the operating system, but the answer for TeXlive (which is cross-platform), installed via the net installer, would be the "Basic Scheme" (See here for a listing of schemes). There is also a scheme called "minimal", but I think this would only give you support for plain TeX, not LaTeX.

If you're on linux, however, you might be more interested in what package distributed through your distro's repos is smallest. But then we need to know which distro. On mac, you might prefer the BasicTeX version of MacTeX, though this is by no means completely minimal. On Windows you might install the Basic MikTeX, and then not install any additional packages. (I don't think this is completely minimal either: if you really want minimal, TeXlive is probably your best bet anyway.)

Licensing conditions are not much of a factor here. All the basic stuff would be covered under the LPPL; it's only if you went beyond that there would be any issues.

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Although I use MikTex I had not come across the Basic MikTek distribution. I will investigate this. – Chris Walton Nov 5 '10 at 22:08
The several options you describe are useful routes to take. Thanks. – Chris Walton Nov 5 '10 at 22:51
I confirm that the minimal scheme of TeX Live doesn't include LaTeX. Also, it might be a good idea to add collection-latexrecommended and collection-fontsrecommended to sheme-basic which is very minimal. Debian-based Linux distributions offer a "texlive" package which corresponds to scheme-basic plus those two collections. – mpg Nov 6 '10 at 0:14
Have a look at this: wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/TeX_Live – Tomas Nov 6 '10 at 6:39

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