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I am currently having massive issues getting TeX Live to run on Ubuntu 12.04, so I am considering running a VM on VirtualBox with another Linux distribution that has better support for the latest TeX Live (2012).

I want to have automatic package manager installation a la apt and synaptic and don't want to interfere with the system.

What would you recommend to me?

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Use Ubuntu 12.10... – Paul Gaborit Jan 27 '13 at 11:46
I assume you've already tried installing through the official backports PPA. Also see "How do I install the latest TeX Live 2012?". – Silke Jan 27 '13 at 13:12
Yes, I did that already. However, I had a problem using biber with the backports... – mcbetz Jan 27 '13 at 13:38
This is an issue that is presently unsolved in other contexts as well: should smaller language-oriented package managers exist in Linux, or should everything go through the distribution's general-purpose package manager? For instance, the Debian and Ruby communities had some disagreement on this exact issue: wiki.debian.org/Teams/Ruby/RubyExtras/OnRubygems. – Federico Poloni Jan 27 '13 at 14:57
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Practically all big distributions have already switched to TL2012 or their upcoming release includes 2012. Debian/wheezy (currently testing, will be released soon) ships 2012, and I have already more uptodate packages of current tlnet in Debian/experimental.

Ubuntu from 12.10 onward includes TL2012 by default (same packages as in Debian). For 12.04 you need to use the mentioned PPA.

For Fedora 16,17,18 there are TL2012 packages, in 18 it is included (unsure here!)

openSuSE 12.2 has TL2011 package and TL2012 from an additional repository, openSuSE dev contains TL2012 by default.

FreeBSD and OpenBSD has TL2012 in the ports

NetBSD is in progress

Mac has MacTeX which is a repackaged TL2012, so you always get the latest updates, plus a nice integration.

Hope that gives a small overview on what is available.

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I would indeed install it "manually"; here is a guide on how to do it. If it is not an option at all, there is another guide here but I haven't tried it.

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And on TeX.SX is How to install “vanilla” TeXLive on Debian or Ubuntu?. – Speravir Jan 27 '13 at 4:33
I do all my LaTeX stuff in Kile on Sabayon (Gentoo based). They have TexLive 2012 and a very convenient package management system. – vaettchen Jan 27 '13 at 6:27
It is very easy to install manually, but you will need to know your way around Linux to do so. Also remember to add the new path to /etc/environment not just to bashrc. I'd also suggest not using the "create symlinks" feature in the installer. After installation, remember the equiv stuff (see the comment about vanilla debian), by installing that, Ubuntu is told that something similar to Ubuntu tl is installed and thus editors will not install Ubuntu tl – daleif Jan 27 '13 at 8:16

I use ArchLinux and it works very well for me. TeXLive is available in the official repository, which usually follows the upstream releases (of all packages) very quickly. (The package manager of ArchLinux is called pacman.)

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