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This question already has an answer here:

Which LaTeX compiler supports best writing a thesis? Which one provides the best compatibility with commonly used classes and packages?

The compilers that I frequently use are:

  • latex
  • pdflatex

Examples of classes I use to write a thesis are:

  • memoir
  • report
  • scrrprt

The packages I most frequently used are:

  • environ, etoolbox, calc
  • geometry, changepage
  • amsmath, amsthm, amssymb, bbm, mathtools
  • colorx
  • longtable, multicol
  • graphicx, graphics, placeins, grffile, epstopdf, psfrag
  • wrapfig
  • tikz, pstricks, pgfplots
  • pdfpages
  • siunits
  • glossaries
  • hyperref

marked as duplicate by Alan Munn, cmhughes, Red, Claudio Fiandrino, Heiko Oberdiek Oct 30 '13 at 16:23

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    Isn't this the same question: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/13593/… – jonalv Oct 30 '13 at 15:29
  • There are three engines in common use: LuaTeX, pdfTeX, and XeTeX. They can be used to work with different macro formats like plain TeX, ConTeXt, and LaTeX. pdfTeX may be the 'most commonly used', but I'm not sure. If using ConTeXt, then you are (now) really using LuaTeX as the engine. I often use pdfTeX while drafting the document, but then switch to LuaTeX for the final version(s), so compatibility is not really an issue except for how you load fonts (and that is easily taken care of via the package ifluatex; there is also ifxetex for the same purpose). – jon Oct 30 '13 at 15:32