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Every time I install a new TeX Live version (the "full" one) on Ubuntu, I encounter some lack of backward compatibility (e.g. missing packages or changed commands in existing packages) and some of my LaTeX projects stop working. Sometimes it takes a lot of time to understand how to fix the problem.

What is a proper way of dealing with such issues? Is there a list of packages that were removed in a new "full" TeX Live version, compared to the previous one?

To be more concrete, this time I have a problem with enumitem package, which is not included TeX Live 2018 and cannot be installed with tlmgr.

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    Erh, enumitem is included in TeX Live 2018. Are you sure you do not have two latex installations and is thus using the wrong one? Look in the log file. – daleif Mar 11 at 15:03
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    IIRC, the enumitem package might be included in texlive-latex-extra, which is a different package than texlive in some Linux distributions. – campa Mar 11 at 15:03
  • @daleif I am sure, I have only one installation. If I do "ls /usr/local/texlive/2018/texmf-dist/tex/latex/*/*.sty", I don't see enumitem there – demitau Mar 11 at 15:07
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    enumitem should be installed in a full TeX live (and it should be possible to install it with tlmgr if it is not present already). Occasionally, packages are removed from TeX live (often for legal/license reasons), but I wouldn't have thought that that would create such an issue (as many of those packages don't seem to be used all that much). Compatibility issues are much more likely to arise from changes within a package and those are indeed hard to keep track of. – moewe Mar 11 at 15:13
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    You might have gotten a really bad repository. Care to tell which one? But enumitem should have been there at the beginning, unless you did not install a full one to begin with. – daleif Mar 11 at 15:18
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Backup old texlive versions!

You asked how to deal with different versions and developments of texlive over the years, especially changing or later deprecated packages. We found out that you got your texlive installation from an unreliable server and you simply installed the missing package.

But texlive 2019 will come soon with changes that may or may not break some documents. How to deal with that?

If you have enough space on your HDD / SDD / whatever, then keep some older installations. I will install texlive 2019 beside texlive 2018 and at a later date delete the really old texlive 2016. All texlive installations reside in .../texlive/year, while my local packages on the level of the machine (not on user-level) reside in .../texlive/texmf-local and remain untouched from the installation of a new texlive.

If texlive 2019 breaks something, I just change the path and am back on texlive 2018 / 17 / 16 for this document.

And to be really on the safe side, I became a member of my local TUG (tex-user-group) and enjoy every year receiving a DVD providing texlive and CTAN. I'm keeping them dry and clean, you never know. OK, I'm not sure texlive 2009 would even run, but at least I could import an old package, just in case...

  • I don't think his download was necessarily from "an unreliable server", it is often an issue of glitching between servers and happens more frequently than a scratched dvd. Your suggestion to keep 2019 2018 2017 and ditch 2016 once happy is sensible and good industry practice, however most of us live on the edge of the copper precipice so download piecemeal bits as required . – KJO Mar 11 at 18:13

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