I am using Ubuntu 16.04 and installed Tex Live following this link on official site and it showed it is version 2018.

But when I use tex --version I get the following output :

TeX 3.14159265 (TeX Live 2019/dev/Debian) kpathsea version 6.3.1/dev Copyright 2018 D.E. Knuth. There is NO warranty. Redistribution of this software is covered by the terms of both the TeX copyright and the Lesser GNU General Public License. For more information about these matters, see the file named COPYING and the TeX source. Primary author of TeX: D.E. Knuth.

Why is it showing 2019 ? Is this version of TexLive stable in my Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or should I install an older version of TexLive for ?

Thanks in advance for helping

  • it seems the website hasn't been updated since $Date: 2018/09/18 21:53:38 $. You're probably doing fine, as developers tend to work more on productive software and care about documentation later ;).
    – thymaro
    Mar 16, 2019 at 8:39
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    @thymaro That's not how TeX Live in general works. Currently TL2019 is in pretest, so it is not considered the "stable" version of TeX Live which is still TL2018. The TUG site is also not really "documentation" (although it has some user guides) but basically only a download page where updates are not relevant because they are independent from what is shipped.
    – TeXnician
    Mar 16, 2019 at 9:06
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    If you are on ubuntu, the simplest way to get tex would be to sudo apt-get install texlive. You might not always get the latest versions but it's usually up-to-date enough to work unless you use exotic packages
    – sheß
    Mar 16, 2019 at 9:40
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    @thymaro The label says "TeX Live 2019/dev/Debian", so maybe he has installed some Debian package which has a more recent version and is prioritized. However, the basic answer to the OP's question would be "No, it's not the stable version of TeX atm".
    – TeXnician
    Mar 16, 2019 at 10:53
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    @sheß That's a rather bad suggestion. First of all, the Debian/Ubuntu TeX Live is strangely split into some arbitrary packages. And most importantly, it is mostly very outdated and not easy to update. That's not always a problem, but bug fixes won't reach you and (as we do often on this site) when suggested to update to fix a problem you will have to install the vanilla version anyway. So the usual recommendation would be to install vanilla TeX Live right from the beginning (which is very easy as well btw).
    – TeXnician
    Mar 16, 2019 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


ATTENTION: This answer is focused on debian based systems (such as all Ubuntu/Linux Mint and much more distributions) and it contains the procedure to find the packages you need that are offered by your distribution's package manager. If your distribution is an LTS (actually if it is not a rolling or testing or "small life" distribution), it is supposed to be stable by using packages by it's own repository and you should not (at least not often) add packages found in other repositories than your distro's official repositories. If for some specific reason you have to use the newer or a new version of a package (especially for TeX Live check this answer) that is not offered by your repositories, you should know that you take the risk to can't name your installed OS "stable" after that and you should make your research before do it with possible errors that could arise depending on your choice. ALSO, it is important that you should consider to upgrade to a more recent LTS (or rolling or even testing) release if you usually need more resent versions for more that one or two packages

To search where a (user's) file named <name> is located you could type the command (check the next command first that will need much less time)

find /usr/ -name <name> 

This command on my debian for <name> replaced by tex (ubuntu will return something similar) returns:


From all these files, I could know that the binary I am looking for is the /usr/bin/tex and I could search inside the /usr/bin/ as a real first try to avoid waiting for the above search (binaries -like commands- are always inside a /bin -or an /sbin if they are for root user- directory).

Now that you know the exact location of the file, you can find the package that offers this command by the command

dpkg -S /usr/bin/tex

This command returns on my system:

texlive-binaries: /usr/bin/tex

The next step is to find the details of this package (and if this is installed in your system)

dpkg -l texlive-binaries

will give an output like :

| Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
|/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name           Version      Architecture Description
ii  texlive-binari 2016.2016051 amd64        Binaries for TeX Live

Where the ii means installed. (for more details about the installed version you could try dpkg -s texlive-binaries)

In your case (if you need just the "stable" version of the package that provides the tex command), you possibly have to remove the installed version (but this depends on the way you installed) and then just give the command:

apt install texlive-binaries

(A suggestion would be to install texlive-base instead that will offer more tools and documentation too... and after that you could use tlmgr to add or remove packages and have a minimal installation -as it seems you possibly looking for-)

PS: I know this is more about debian based linux but if the question is on-topic the answer is on-topic too and if not, I hope that helped anyway.

PS2: You may need to add a sudo in front of the most of these commands or to give them after taking admin privileges first.

PS3: 16.04 will be usuable for one more year and some months, but 18.04 have left "Unity" and uses "Gnome" desktop environment. If you want to get a smoother way to pass to the next desktop environment you could dual boot with the 18.04 and if you don't really like you could look for other desktop environments or even other distros that fit your needs.

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