I followed this answer like a parrot and installed Texlive on my Ubuntu. However, I don't understand why I have to create a fake package to trick Ubuntu into thinking that texlive is installed. What is the point? I thought that simply having texbin on the path is sufficient for other programs to find texlive.


Having the path to the TeX Live binaries in your path is indeed sufficient for other programs to find TeX Live. It is more of a question of installing the same thing twice (or rather a newer version and an older version).

apt is the package manager of Ubuntu and it has no idea that you installed TeX Live unless you used apt to install it. Thus, if you don't use apt to install TeX Live, you need to tell apt that TeX Live is already installed or it will think that TeX Live is not installed. Why is it a problem if it thinks that TeX Live is not installed? Well, if you install a package that depends on TeX Live, it will think that it needs to install TeX Live. Many people want to avoid this extra installation.

You might be interested also in the information at https://github.com/scottkosty/install-tl-ubuntu/

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  • Adding to this, it would greatly help to understand that the GNU/Linux world is different from Windows. While in Windows you have to download/buy/clone every piece of software from a separate location and install each with its own installer, shipped with their own versions of the libraries (often duplicates), in GNU/Linux, e.g. with apt, you can almost always avoid doing that by having the package manager handle all the process for you. – Shahbaz Sep 2 '14 at 12:23
  • Does this apply if you install and update packages with tlmgr? Does it too need a fake package to think texlive is installed? – Sverre Sep 2 '14 at 14:04
  • @sverre if you update packages with tlmgr you do not need to do any additional changes to notify apt. This is because the Debian control file that is used does not allow for specifying versions. If you install new packages with tlmgr and you did not have the equivalent packages in the control file, then you could add them. For an example of the control file, see github.com/scottkosty/install-tl-ubuntu/blob/master/… – scottkosty Sep 2 '14 at 18:12

suppose you have installed the TeXLive version from http://tug.org/texlive/ and now you want to install the editor Texmaker with apt-get install texmaker. Then Ubuntu's package manager tells you that you also have to install the TeXLive. This doesn't happen when faking the package manager of Ubuntu.

If your Ubuntu uses the latest TeXLive version from Debian (2014) then you already can use the one from Ubuntu, it comes with the program tlmgr which allows updates of TeXLive without using apt-get. Older versions of Ubuntu's TeXLive had no update mechanism.

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