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I need to install LaTeX on a old MacBook holding a Mac OS Lion 10.7.5 . Apparently the new version of MacTeX distribution require Mac OS 10.10 or higher, and I am not managing to find old versions of the distribution. Some ideas?

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You can simply install texlive directly (https://www.tug.org/texlive/acquire-netinstall.html). It support osx 10.6-10.9 with the x86_64-darwinlegacy binary.

This will give you a complete and up to date tex distribution.

At this point you can stop reading this answer, as you have everything you need to build tex documents.

In comparision to mactex this solution only lacks some additional programs, for example a GUI to update your tex distribution (TeX Live Utility).

If you nevertheless want these program, you have two possibilities:

  • it is indeed possible to use TeXDist control panel (which is slightly buggy under mac os x 10.9.5, each use has to be followed by quitting System Preferences before new use) to switch TeX distribution years, but it is no easy task for general user to update the needed structure for TL2017 for example. – user4686 Nov 15 '17 at 16:05
  • @jfbu I never used the TeXDist control panel, but most of mactex's gui applications let you simply adjust the path to the new vanilla texlive in their preferences, e.g. in the tex live utilities this works without problem. – user36296 Nov 15 '17 at 16:21
  • agreed (the TeXDist functionality into TexLive Utility I think with MacTeX 2016 already), but here we are talking about systems for which no MacTeX install is possible. Very very old systems, completely antiquated like 10.9.5 which was brand new in 2012. – user4686 Nov 15 '17 at 16:44
  • @jfbu Now you lost me. Old systems is all this threat is about. – user36296 Nov 15 '17 at 17:07
  • sorry I probably got unclear. But you referred to MacTeX GUI apps and MacTeX provides no support for pre 10.10 systems. However you can surely install separately apps usually bundled with MacTeX such as TeXLive Utility or TeXShop. I mentioned TeXDist as I got it from some earlier MacTeX, and I am still using it. But the recommended way is TLU which now incorporates its support. However on Mavericks you will have to install TLU directly. – user4686 Nov 15 '17 at 17:46
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There seem to be two possibilities:

  1. Install an old version of MacTeX from the archive on this ftp server: ftp://ftp.tug.org/historic/systems/mactex

  2. Install TexLive 2017 with the unix installer (which egreg managed to do). Instructions are in the answers to this question: New tex live or old MacTeX?

(I'd go with samcarter's answer, which is more elegant and straightforward)

  • But aren't there also a (hidden) build of the latest TL but for older Mac OS X? Build by others. The versions here are just older MacTeX versions. – daleif Oct 30 '17 at 10:39
  • @daleif : that is what samcarter is referring to. – Herb Schulz Oct 30 '17 at 20:15
  • @HerbSchulz that's the one. Strange it is not mentioned explicitly on the mactex page – daleif Oct 30 '17 at 21:50
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    @daleif : not at all. Those versions of TeX Live 2017 are not associated with MacTeX and developed independently. – Herb Schulz Oct 31 '17 at 0:21
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    @HerbSchulz but, the mactex team chose (with good reason) not to support older versions, they could mention that the other solution exist. – daleif Oct 31 '17 at 6:42

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