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I've been reading a lot of sites to see the best way to get the packages in Texlive installed in my Ubuntu based system.

So far, these are the texlive packages I've seen recommended:

texlive-full
texlive-latex-base
texlive-latex-extra
texlive-latex-recommended
texlive-generic-extra

each one to be installed via sudo apt-get install <package>.

The first one, texlive-full is clearly the largest one containing (I assume) everything that can be found in the others. But, what do the others meta-packages contain? What are the differences between them and which one should I install to get a working LaTeX environment under Ubuntu as fast and as lean as possible?

  • Do not use apt get to install texlive. Packages are usually outdated by at least one year. Texlive country with its own package manager. Install ist from the installer provided by the Texlive page – MaxNoe May 21 '15 at 14:13
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    @MaxNoe that is not true. Debian jessie ships with packages based on the tlnet repository of around december 2014, and relativy recent binaries. Why do you recommend that unconditionally? I as TeX Live maintainer and Debian Developr of TeX Live use the Debian TL packages daily. If you don't have updatitis or really need a critical new pkg or fix, the Debian packages are fine! – norbert Jun 7 '15 at 4:40
  • We were talking about ubuntu – MaxNoe Jun 7 '15 at 6:54
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To get more information about the packages on a Debian/Ubuntu/Linx Mint system I would use apt-cache show package which gives you the description of the package, and what it will install. A very short summary of all the texlive packages can be found with apt-cache search texlive

As for which package to install, this depends very much on what you are planing on using them for. In my case I installed texlive-full as I'm writing articles in several fields, making presentations, etc. and didn't want to spend the time individually installing packages. You can always just start with texlive-latex-base and then just install the collections you need. (To find a collection with a package in use apt-cache search package) There is no good way yet to install individual packages in Ubuntu, as tlmgr will run in user mode (installing packages only for one user). There are ways of fixing this, but this requires the installation of texlive from source or a ppa. See this question.

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