# Installing (a lightweight version of) latex on an external hard drive

I have a netbook which has about 3-4 gigs of space on it. Since it is a netbook, I didn't want to perform a full install of latex (~1gig) on it. It runs linux.

I was wondering if I could install latex on an external hard drive or perhaps have a light version (quite barebones) of latex which would need me to place packages in my compile directory without having them all.

I have read LaTeX for netbook OSes. However, most of the options available are for compiling in the "cloud" which I don't want as internet access, whilst travelling, is sketchy at best.

This forum post on Installing/running MikTeX on an external harddrive doesn't inspire too much confidence either.

What are my options? Are there any lightweight distributions of latex that I should `sudo apt-get` with my netbook?

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How big is too big? If you cut out documentation and languages you don't use then you can get TeXLive down to about 300-400Mb. –  Loop Space Nov 7 '12 at 15:51

You mentioned `apt-get`, so if we're talking about Debian here,

``````sudo aptitude -R texlive-latex-base
``````

should get you a pretty lightweight selection; `-R` means don't install (merely) recommended packages.

Have a look here for which Installed sizes to expect (you'd have to add the dependencies' sizes, though).

Also, the TeX Live installer apparently has a `-portable` option, but I can't comment on that.

Edit The easiest solution would be to dissociate writing and compiling your document. (The most lightweight TeX setup is the one that is not there.)

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that sounds reasonable at around 9MB. Thanks. I'll try to get this done and update here soon. Yes "The most lightweight TeX setup is the one that is not there", however creating documents and presentations on the go without regular access to a network to sftp figures etc and to compile is rather difficult without a tex installation. –  drN Nov 7 '12 at 15:45
You didn't check the dependencies...actually (with 1 level of dependencies), it's roughly 9.9+1.5+30.8+17+0.2. `aptitude` will tell you how much space would be needed and ask you to confirm the installation. –  sr_ Nov 7 '12 at 15:48
My Edit should indicate that in some cases it might be feasibly to write the `.tex` document on the go and compile it at home/work. –  sr_ Nov 7 '12 at 15:50
181 MB apparently! –  drN Nov 7 '12 at 16:27