The package microtype claims that it cannot disable ligatures because that would require pdftex version 1.30 or newer:

! Package microtype Error: Disabling ligatures of a font is only possible
(microtype)                with pdftex version 1.30 or newer.
(microtype)                Ignoring \DisableLigatures.

pdftex -v gives

pdfTeX 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.16 (TeX Live 2015/Debian)

So which pdftex version is this?

Additional information: The first line of the log is

This is XeTeX, Version 3.14159265-2.6-0.99992 (TeX Live 2015/Debian) (preloaded format=xelatex 2017.1.15)  25 APR 2017 11:04

(I need to compile with xelatex as required by the fontspec package.)

  • 3
    It's a newer version. But what version is used by your document? What does the first line of the log-file says? – Ulrike Fischer Apr 25 '17 at 8:56
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    microtype provides only protrusion for XeLaTeX. – Schweinebacke Apr 25 '17 at 9:07
  • The version of pdftex you are looking at is 1.40.16, the 3.14.. is the underlying tex version. – Andrew Swann Apr 25 '17 at 10:28
  • Thanks, @AndrewSwann -- as the problem turned out to be unrelated to the version, I'll make this a different question. – fuenfundachtzig Apr 25 '17 at 10:32

If you have a look at the microtype manual you will find:

enter image description here

The box with the information "pdfTeX 1.30.0|LuaTeX 0.30" tells you, that disabling ligatures with microtype does only work for pdfTeX from version 1.30.0 or LuaTeX from 0.30. You are using XeTeX not pdfTeX, so microtype does not provide disabling ligatures. But fontspec does also provide features for ligatures, e.g., font option Ligatures=NoCommon. See Removing ligatures when using fontspec.

  • Thanks for solving my actual problem. Hmmm, I wonder whether I should edit the question to match the answer... – fuenfundachtzig Apr 25 '17 at 9:24
  • I was extremely confused by the question, because as it stands now, the title has nothing to do with the question. I suggest either a rollback or that the content of the question is changed. – Sverre Apr 25 '17 at 9:46
  • @Sverre: If you think so, do the rollback. But the title just repeats the first sentence as an question. So it shouldn't be confusing. And the tags now are much more convenient than before. – Schweinebacke Apr 25 '17 at 9:51
  • 1
    btw: I have added the actual error message. As it stands now, title and question look consistent. – fuenfundachtzig Apr 25 '17 at 10:04

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