Everytime I run tlmgr to install packages, I get the following messages:

$ sudo tlmgr install xetex
(running on Debian, switching to user mode!)
tlmgr: package repository http://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/ctan/systems/texlive/tlnet
Package luatex is not relocatable, cannot install it in user mode!
Package pdftex is not relocatable, cannot install it in user mode!
Package xetex is not relocatable, cannot install it in user mode!

So no package gets installed and although I already use sudo, the tlmgr switches back to user mode automatically, which I don't even want (afaik).

How do I fix this behavior and install packages?

Additional Information

$ tlmgr --version
tlmgr revision 39298 (2016-01-07 03:44:29 +0100)
tlmgr using installation: /usr/local/texlive/2015
TeX Live (http://tug.org/texlive) version 2015

The tlmgr was installed using the install-tl script from here, using:

sudo ./install-tl-ubuntu

The output of which:

$ which tlmgr

The output of sudo which:

$ sudo which
  • Was this installed via apt-get? I think that was the cost Debian made the users pay to allow for tlmgr in their packages. I typically install the TUG texlive (advisable to install it as a special user, not root, and then maintain it as that user)
    – daleif
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 18:23
  • @daleif Added information to my question answering your questions. Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 20:21
  • 1
    Pass, (1) never used that script, prefers to know what is being done, (2) no idea why your system behaves like this. (3) that tlmgr placement is a little strange, but I'm guessing texbin is a symlink. Is the tlmgr path the same for the sudo?
    – daleif
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 20:26
  • 2
    Try sudo /opt/texbin/tlmgr install xetex... Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 0:20
  • @Zelphir Rather thank norbert who has found the cause of your problem in its answer. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 7:09

1 Answer 1


You have two installations of TeX Live. One from the distribution (in /usr) and one installed from the TUG installer (in /opt). The problem is that when you use sudo the path is reset and the tlmgr in/usr/bin is used, and thus does not work on the TUG installation.

You need to adjust the PATH variable also for the root user, or - better in my opinion - if it is a single user system, change the ownership of the files in/opt/texlive to your user ID, then you can use tlmgr without sudo.

  • 1
    To call the correct tlmgr, you can specify the method I suggested in my comment. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 7:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .