I have just installed texlive 2014 on a machine running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS at work. When I enter tlmgr update --self to the terminal for example, it returns the following:

tlmgr: package repository http://mirror.switch.ch/ftp/mirror/tex/systems/texlive/tlnet
You don't have permission to change the installation in any way,
specifically, the directory /usr/local/texlive/2014/tlpkg/ is not writable.
Please run this program as administrator, or contact your local admin.

as expected.

When I use sudo, however, the answer is as follows:

sudo: tlmgr: command not found

Interestingly enough though, when I enter sudo su, the command is well known. Moreover, when I enter sudo -i and then echo $PATH, the output is:


As well as the output for echo $PATH when entered without sudo -i:


Does anybody have a solution to this?

  • 1
    It seems the super user (root) doesn't have the installation directory of tlmgr in its PATH. If the OS should be able to find tlmgr for root, then use PATH=${PATH}:<installation directory of tlmgr>. (You may have to add export PATH too.) If I had to do this, I'd put the PATH=... statement in the root's login file, which I suspect is .bashrc in the root's home directory.
    – user10274
    Sep 30, 2014 at 13:38
  • 3
    My advice is to place the path to TeX binaries at the head of PATH and not at the tail. Usually I make an alias or shell function sutlmgr that does sudo /path/to/tlmgr explicitly.
    – egreg
    Sep 30, 2014 at 14:06
  • the super user does indeed not have the installation directory, when I enter sudo su and then echo $PATH the directory is not printed. I added the line export PATH=/usr/local/texlive/2014/bin/x86_64-linux:$PATH to the /root/.bashrc file, but sudo will still not find the command. sudo su still works. If possible, I would like to change the root's PATH variable instead of writing an alias or shell function, though... Sep 30, 2014 at 14:22
  • I usually make a pseudo sudo called psudo: in .bashrc or a file sourced by it, I use: alias psudo='sudo env PATH="$PATH"' # usage: psudo tlmgr <whatever>. (This assumes your paths are set up normally according to the installation directions.
    – jon
    Sep 30, 2014 at 15:41
  • 1
    Just an other way that works for me: sudo -i tlmgr update --all.
    – cjorssen
    Sep 30, 2014 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


This is a more general UNIX sysadmin question, but you can use visudo to add

Defaults secure_path="/usr/local/texlive/2014/bin/x86_64-linux:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin"

Edit that path for your environment! See https://wiki.debian.org/sudo or https://www.google.com/search?&q=sudo+secure_path on the web, and the manual page for sudoers(5).

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