I'm on Ubuntu 16.10 and using TexLive from the default Ubuntu repo. I'm trying to use the package sansmath. Looking with kpsewhich comes back blank. So I try tlmgr install sansmath and (with/without sudo) get

Cannot determine type of tlpdb from /home/hercynian/texmf!
cannot setup TLPDB in /home/hercynian/texmf at /usr/bin/tlmgr line 5713.

Looking around this site, I see older posts giving dire warnings of using the default Ubuntu repo versions of TexLive, as it is very out of date. If this is still true (I've installed texlive full) should I uninstall then hand-install from latest-greatest? Please advise.


I am using Ubuntu 16.04, and found that the distro TeXlive was indeed out of date. Don't know about 16.10.

It is easy to install TeXlive directly, without the Ubuntu package manager. First uninstall the distro version, but be careful: There are some non-TeX programs that expect TeX to be there. Pay attention to what you are removing. You can leave TeXworks in place, if the package manager lets you do that.

Get the TeXlive installer directly from them. Best if you install it without sudo, in a folder somewhere in your home directory. You can save a lot of space if you do not install the source code, or languages you won't use, or documentation. You can grab per-package documentation on a need basis, later.

Works great. I believe I have the latest and greatest TeX has to offer, possibly excepting "developer" files.

  • How can I find out what state/version of TeXLive I have? How can I find out definitively what version the Ubuntu repo is serving? – 147pm Dec 28 '16 at 13:25
  • Do you have the "Synaptic Package Manager" installed? If not, get it. sudo apt-get install synaptic is probably the code. Launch synaptic. It will download the list of packages available. Then search for texlive. On my Ubuntu 16.04, the distro version is 2015.02160320. That's too old (2015 is the key). There were substantial changes in TeXlive 2016. – user103221 Dec 28 '16 at 15:38
  • You don't need synaptic. Finding version number can be done within a shell. Usually, a command utility should have some options are displaying version number (ususally -v/ --version or version). You may seek --help` if needed. Maybe the utility's man page contains the version number. To be certain, you may use dpkg -l texlive to check it out. – GNUSupporter 8964民主女神 地下教會 May 14 at 14:51

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