I just installed texmaker in Ubuntu through Software Central as it was recommended by a youtube channel I was checking for learning latex.

Now the thing is that as I thought texmaker is just an editor in this regard, I will need to install latex separately. So I used "sudo apt-get install texlive-full".

But before the installation is complete, I decided to run texmaker out of curiosity, and it already works and produces the output as shown in the tutorial.

Am sorry if this is stupid of me to ask something like this, but how does texmaker work already if I don't have latex installed as of yet? and if texmaker installs it alongside the editor, what did I just do by installing texlive?

Can someone please enlighten me. am really confused!

PS: I am completely new to this, so please ignore my stupidity.

  • 1
    This is a guess, but if the TexLive installation had already installed the executables (binaries) and a few of the most basic data files in the correct directories, that is probably all texmaker needed to create your first document. Most of the contents of texlive are "optional" in the sense that any single user is unlikely to ever use most of it, but different users will use different subsets of it depending on what sort of documents they want to produce.
    – alephzero
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 11:07
  • @alephzero thanks for the comment. The installation was only complete about 5-10% when I checked if it works. Do you think it might be possible? and anyway, I do need texlive right? I didn't just install something unnecessary or replace something which was needed for texmaker? Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 11:10
  • Well, I don't use texmaker, but according to Wikipedia it is (only) a tex editor, so you need some tex system to make it work - not necessarily texlive. Thinking about it, maybe you already had some version of Tex installed as part of Ubuntu, without realizing it - but the tex versions bundled with Linux are notoriously out of date, so you will be better off with the latest version of texlive even if you already had "some version of tex".
    – alephzero
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 11:15
  • 1
    I don't know in what order texlive installs things, but if it installs the "core tex system" first, I would certainly expect that to only take 5% of the total installation time, and that is probably all you need for the first steps in the tutorial.
    – alephzero
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 11:20
  • 1
    you can use which tex to see where the tex executable is and check its date. If it is in /usr/bin it would have come from unbuntu if it is in /usr/local/texlive/2018 it would have come from tug's texlive. either way it won't have come with texmaker/ Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 17:35

1 Answer 1

  1. What is what.

TeX distribution:

  • TeX Live
  • MiKTeX
  • MacTeX
  • ... and the list goes on.


  • Texmaker
  • Kile
  • TeXstudio
  • TeXworks
  • ... and the list goes on.


  1. When you installed Texmaker (an Editor) via Software Center, Software Center automatically installed TeX Live (a TeX distribution) along with Texmaker.

Software Center did not install MiKTeX (a TeX distribution) on your Ubuntu because:

MikTeX is available also for Linux, but it is not packaged in any way. So you are 99.99% using TeX Live from Debian/Ubuntu. [...] How can I tell which Latex (MikTex or TexLive) I have installed on Ubuntu?


  1. There is the texlive package, and then there is the texlive-full package.

I believe when you installed Texmaker (referring to #2), Software Center installed the texlive package.

Then when you used sudo apt-get install texlive-full then ran Texmaker before installation was complete, Texmaker was using texlive, hence it was able to compile an output.


  1. About the texlive and texlive-full package description in Synaptic Package Manager:

    • texlive package:

      [...] This metapackage provides a decent selection of the TeX Live packages which should suffice for the most common tasks. [...]

    • texlive-full package:

      [...] metapackage pulling in all components of TeX Live

enter image description here enter image description here


  1. In the Terminal, enter the command line: apt list texmaker texlive miktex kile texlive-full and you will see the installation status (and more) of each package on your Ubuntu.

Example: enter image description here

  • Background Terminal: Ubuntu 16.04
  • Foreground Terminal: Ubuntu 18.04
  • Note: I use Kile, which is why you see it [installed].

[...] When the package is installed, [installed] appears prominently at the end of the line. [...] In addition to [installed] at the end, now in the list of repository components indicates that the package is currently installed. [...] Sometimes you'll see [installed,automatic], which means the package was installed as a dependency of some other package. [...] https://askubuntu.com/a/880138

  • The Face does not need a Mask. You can compile a .tex file without an editor.
    – Sigur
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 18:50
  • 1
    So, if you want to explain for beginners, why to use so complicated words? Why Mask and Face. Simply use Editor, Compile, and so on...
    – Sigur
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 19:08
  • 1
    @Sigur Coz I didn't understand it myself in the first place, hahaha XD (and didn't care which is which). But now that you've pointed it out... what was I thinking! facepalm
    – Gula Kapas
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 19:21
  • 1
    I would add to tex distribution w32tex.org (CJK) because its widely used in the west. I would elevate TeXworks (as its usually bundled along with tex in some distros) I would mention there are many variant sizes of packaged distro (though in this case its usually old verse full) I would emphasise there are dozens if not more editors with tex enhancement and not forgetting web based editors that may even include background package downloads for use with ios etc.
    – user170109
    Commented Oct 21, 2018 at 22:01
  • 1
    I agree it can cloud the OP issue. However the headline WHY do I need TeX live will attract all sorts of noobs to look and compare their own needs against recent answers.
    – user170109
    Commented Oct 22, 2018 at 12:35

You must log in to answer this question.

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