# Error caused by tabular environment suddenly started happening on a previously working file

I'm working on a pretty big document with a lot of \usepackage and custom commands. I'm using texlive 2018 on both my laptop with Linux Mint 17 and my desktop with Windows 10. After updating texlive on Linux, the file does not compile anymore, and I get many errors for most of the tables and a forest tree in the document. I completely reinstalled it, but compilation still fails. The file still compiles on my Windows pc, whose texlive installation has been updated a few days ago.

Here is a not-quite-minimal example:

\documentclass{book}

\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[english]{babel}
\usepackage[dvipsnames,table]{xcolor}

\begin{document}

\frontmatter
\tableofcontents

\mainmatter

\begin{table}[h]
\begin{tabular}{lp{8.8cm}}
x & y \\
x & y \\
\end{tabular}
\end{table}

\backmatter
\end{document}


And here is the error log:

Use of \@startpbox doesn't match its definition. \begin{tabular}{lp{8.8cm}}
Extra }, or forgotten \endgroup. \begin{tabular}{lp{8.8cm}}
Use of \@startpbox doesn't match its definition. \begin{tabular}{lp{8.8cm}}
Extra }, or forgotten \endgroup. \begin{tabular}{lp{8.8cm}}
Extra }, or forgotten \endgroup. \begin{tabular}{lp{8.8cm}}
Extra }, or forgotten \endgroup. \begin{tabular}{lp{8.8cm}}
Missing # inserted in alignment preamble. \begin{tabular}{lp{8.8cm}}
Missing { inserted. x & y
Missing } inserted. x
Missing } inserted. x
Missing } inserted. x
Missing { inserted. x & y
Missing } inserted. \end
Missing } inserted. \end
Missing } inserted. \end


I'm using this command to compile:

pdflatex -synctex=1 -interaction=nonstopmode %.tex

I noticed that by replacing the column specification with {ll} I don't get any error. Also, removing the xcolor package solves the problem, at least on this MWE, but it can be it's fault as it is still an old 2016 version. Does anyone know which package may cause this problem?

Finally, here's a truly minimal MWE:

\documentclass{book}
\usepackage[table]{xcolor}
\begin{document}
\begin{tabular}{p{1cm}}
x
\end{tabular}
\end{document}

• There is an error in colortbl (loaded via the xcolor table option), a fix should now be uploaded to ctan and is available via tlmgr within a day or two – daleif Dec 13 '18 at 20:31
• I've taken the liberty of posting a truly minimal MWE that generates the problem behavior. – Mico Dec 13 '18 at 21:42
• Thanks very much @daleif ! You have probably saved me several hours that I would have wasted tracking this down! I can confirm that the patch is now available from ctan and that this solves the problem. Perhaps you should post this as a solution? – Andrew Dec 18 '18 at 2:25

The table option of xcolor load the colortbl package. Unfortunately this package had an error (or was missing a few bits after the array package was updated). The correct version is now available on CTAN and through the latex package managers.