I have a fresh install of a dual boot system with Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10. They live in separate partitions of the hard drive, invisible (unmounted...) to eachother, but have a common data partition which they can both reach.

Now, I want to be able to use LaTeX regardless of which OS I've booted. I've previoulsy used MiKTeX and TeXWorks on Windows, and been pretty satisfied with it, but I'm new to LaTeX on Ubuntu, so I have no prejudice on editors etc for this half. What I liked most about TeXWorks was the ability to compile the document without leaving the program, and the split view (source code on one half of the screen, output from latest compile run on the other), so if that's available in an Ubuntu IDE that's a plus.

The most important thing is that they share a package repository. In MiKTeX, packages I hadn't used before were automatically downloaded from CTAN when used the first time, which made things a lot simpler. I also had my own little collection of packages, in a separate root folder. Any setup that doesn't share all packages between the two operative systems, makes my life harder than it has to be =)

How do I best set up this? On which OS should I install what, and how? Does the installation order matter?

Any tips are welcome!

  • IMO MikTex is simply superior. I would just find a way to run that from Ubuntu. – The Dude Apr 17 '11 at 16:41

I would recommend you to install the full TeXLive manually (i.e. not using the Ubuntu packages) with both Linux and Windows binaries to the shared drive. The full TeXLive is about 2.6GB in size and should contain every package which is also available in MikTeX, except brand-new packages not yet included. Installing everything avoids any issues with missing packages. TeXWorks is available for both Windows and Linux.

The manual installation is important to get recent versions of the LaTeX package and to be able to run tlmgr to update the packages. The 2.9GB should be ok for modern harddrives. If you deselect foreign languages and special fonts as well as e.g. XeTeX if not required you will be able to save a GB or so. The Ubuntu packages are largely outdated (still using TeXLive 2009 for example) and should not be used. One pain here is that Ubuntu will install its own TeXLive if you try to install anything TeX specific. One way to avoid this is to install TeXLive first using Ubuntu and then again manually. Both should use different paths and you should be able to delete the texmf tree of the Ubuntu version without any problem afterwards.

  • What's the "again manual"? I think it's a typo, I couldn't infer the right idea. – Kit Apr 18 '11 at 0:39
  • "then again manually" perhaps? – David Z Apr 18 '11 at 1:48
  • @Kit: Sorry. I fixed the spelling. – Martin Scharrer Apr 18 '11 at 6:42

Although TeXworks is available for Linux as well as Windows, TeX Live does not ship with TeXworks Linux binaries as these would involve too many libraries (though it ships with the Windows ones).

To install TeXworks on Ubuntu without pulling in Ubuntu TeX Live dependencies, use

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends texworks.

Similarly use

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends texmaker

to install TeXmaker without unnecessary dependencies.

Note that this works because the TeX Live dependencies are classified as recommended and not as required in the Ubuntu TeXworks and TeXmaker packages. Even if this is not the case, there is no harm in pulling in some Ubuntu TeX Live packages as long as you set your path to use the manually installed ones.

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