I have been using LiveTeX since 5 years ago. I have always used TeX Live utility to keep up-to-date my LaTeX distribution. Today I woke up with this question:

I want to know if there is an un-official MacTeX (or TeXLive) repository?

  • 3
    What do you mean by "un-official"?
    – egreg
    Sep 7, 2014 at 23:08
  • Please clarify your question: what are you actually trying to achieve? TeX Live Utility will work with any TeX Live repository, but the only unoffical one I know of is TLContrib. Sep 7, 2014 at 23:10
  • Not CTAN supported. I mean "un-official" because you can get packages that are not fully accepted for CTAN or that are independently developed.
    – Mauramz
    Sep 7, 2014 at 23:12

2 Answers 2


TLContrib is for packages not accepted by TeX Live, usually due to licensing restrictions. In the case of TeX Live Utility, you would drag the URL http://tlcontrib.metatex.org/2013/ to its address bar, or add it to the list of repositories. It appears to only be available for TL 2010-2013, though.

  • (+1) for remembering TLContrib.
    – cfr
    Sep 8, 2014 at 17:04

Supplementary Repositories for TeX Live's Package Manager

It is possible to use additional repositories which provide software not distributed as part of TeX Live (or MiKTeX). norbert explains in a comment that it is possible to configure additional local repositories using these instructions, and that there are a number of supplementary repositories designed to be used by tlmgr, TeX Live's package manager, as supplements to the main repos. These supplementary repos offer packages which are not included in TeX Live. While these may include packages not available from CTAN, many packages will be available from CTAN.

TLContrib is one example of such supplementary repository.

CTAN vs. TeX Distributions

CTAN publishes many packages and resources which are not included in TeX Live. Some of them are not included in MiKTeX either. These exclusions may be for licensing reasons but they may also be for a number of other reasons:

  • The package includes files which would create name conflicts with the files of other packages which are included e.g. exams is incompatible with exam (as well as having a no-distribution licence).
  • The package is considered obsolete e.g. some of the packages, at least, in the obsolete directory.
  • The package is not self-contained in the sense that it is only of much use if other things are available and those are not on CTAN or cannot be distributed with TeX Live e.g. AcroTeX.
  • The author does not consider the software ready for general use. biblatex was in this category for a long time: many people used it but it was not included in TeX Live because the author considered it not ready for production.
  • The software cannot be used readily on all of the platforms TL supports. (There are some complications here.)

Note that some packages are partially included in TeX Live. For example, the documentation of both chessboard and chessfss is missing from TeX Live because the author elected not to supply the source for the PDF. Note that this does not prevent the documentation being available on CTAN.

CTAN itself includes software published under a variety of free and non-free licences. Many of these would not be acceptable to TeX Live and some would not be acceptable to MiKTeX. Obviously, CTAN will not sell software on authors' behalf so it will not host commercial software. But shareware is acceptable, as are a number of 'free-as-in-beer but not free-as-in-freedom' licences. (Since TLContrib is free-as-in-beer as far as I can tell, I assume it is not in the business of selling software, either. Moreover, licensing restrictions would prevent TLContrib from including some software available from CTAN.)

  • 1
    Just one comment: there are other additional repositories: tlcritical to test new tlmgr, tlptexlive for additional Japanese support, and I don't know what else. It is not trivial but doable to set up local repos, and I have documented it.
    – norbert
    Sep 9, 2014 at 17:53
  • @norbert Could you provide a link I could add to my answer? (Or feel free to edit if you prefer.) I don't think tlcritical answers this question specifically (but still interesting). tlptexlive definitely is on-topic, though, and the documentation for setting up local repos sounds useful as part of a general response to what is quite a generic question.
    – cfr
    Sep 9, 2014 at 17:56
  • 1
    setup repos: tug.org/svn/texlive/trunk/Master/tlpkg/doc/… Is it this what you wanted? Anything else?
    – norbert
    Sep 9, 2014 at 19:43
  • @norbert Nope. Thanks for the link. I just thought it might be useful as a pointer.
    – cfr
    Sep 9, 2014 at 22:01

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