Which is the best way to preserve files downloaded by install-tl (e.g. install-tl-20140417) to skip their download the next time install-tl is invoked and told to download from a mirror (this might include invokation with a command line argument, linking directories, etc.)? It would be nice if different versions of packages are preserved (very similar to the apt cache). I don't care about the space used/wasted by old versions on the local system, but about the internet traffic. The download of newest versions of the packages should occur automatically during installation though.

EDIT 2: http://www.tug.org/texlive/doc/install-tl.html doesn't say anything about storage of downloaded binaries. I assume they are moved from /tmp/xzy/ to the installation destination as they are. One option might be using -in-place from the SVN repository.

EDIT 1: Currently the invokation of install-tl with --help is buggy (at least in my case after a failed previous installation). I reported this to [email protected] (see http://tug.org/pipermail/tex-live/2014-May/035206.html).


1 Answer 1


There is a very easy way, if you don't care for disk space, and are on a Unix like system: use rsnapshot to rsync the tlnet archive from one of the rsync capable CTAN servers. This way you can adjust everything to your liking:

  • how many versions are kept
  • rotation patterns
  • free interval selection (daily, weekly, monthly, all together with independent rotation)
  • automatic purging of old copies

etc. In addition, rsnapshot is nice to the disk space in the sense that it makes only hard links for unchanged files, so that unchanged .tar.xz will not make up disk space.

If there is enough interest, I can come up with a rsnapshot configuration file for this purpose.

Finally, if someone would be so nice to run this on a daily basis and provide the archives via web interface, then people could go back arbitrarily far.

  • I'm not so much interested in keeping multiple versions, but I prefer this solution to downloading the whole stuff of all the time (proxy safes something, but not enough in my eyes). I'd very much appreciate a rsnapshot configuration file :) May 13, 2014 at 22:25
  • Examples for synchronization with mirror can be found at tug.org/texlive/acquire-mirror.html May 18, 2014 at 13:19
  • @KarlRichter no need for providing the full config file. You can take the default config file, and only do the following 2 changes: (1) change interval (hourly interval not needed, rest to your liking, these are the retain ... lines) (2) change backup locations to an rsync server (these are the backup... lines, here for tlnet one would use backup rsync://your.rsync.ctan.mirror/ctan/systems/texlive/tlnet/ tlnet/ - the second tlnet is the local directory under the backup root as specified in snapshot_root). Hope that helps.
    – norbert
    May 23, 2014 at 23:59
  • Due to the enormous traffic because of missing zsync support (see also tex.stackexchange.com/questions/184159/…) the solution might become unpractical for certain users over the time while building from source (tug.org/texlive/build.html) with TL_MAKE_FLAGS='-j 16' is a valuable alternative to syncing the mirror (might even count as an answer to the question...) Jun 10, 2014 at 15:58
  • One might also try passing the --no-whole-file option to rsync (but it doesn't come to close to zsync with all files in the same directory as input files (might be even extended depending on client resources)) Jun 16, 2014 at 11:15

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