I want to compile tex and Sweave documents written on a server that is redhat, but I get errors linked to pgf/tikz. The documents compile fine on my

I have already

  1. used wget to download the expl3 package to ~/texmf on the server and
  2. removed todonotes options since these caused an error
  3. rsync'd (copied) all of /usr/share/texmf-texlive/tex from my desktop to ~/texmf/tex on the server.
  4. texhash on the server (although I can only do this for my home ~/texmf

However, now I am getting an error related to the pgf library:

! Undefined control sequence.
l.15 \usepgflibrary

I tried changing usepgflibrary to usetikzlibary as suggested on help list, but I just got the same error for the different command.

Furthermore, I'd like to tell my the server administrator how to solve this rather than just say "can you please configure the server so that pdflatex foo.tex works" so that I can save him some googling.

  • I removed the pdflatex tag because I failed to see how your question is specifically related to pdfLaTeX in contrast to traditional LaTeX. I have to confess I still fail to see it.
    – lockstep
    Nov 11, 2010 at 17:44
  • 1
    @lockstep - thanks for the clarification. I included the tag for two reasons, neither of which directly implicates pdflatex in the error: first, the error is generated when I use pdflatex file.tex, and second, I found that pdflatex is often associated with pgf and tikz errors. In the same way, sweave is also only guilty by association so I have also removed it. I am unfamiliar with the mechanisms behind these errors. Nov 11, 2010 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


Probably the easiest way is to install a current version of TeX Live on both machines and then remove the package manager version and anything you manually added to texmf. Linux package managers usually have outdated TeX Live versions and different distros have different bugs in their TeX distributions. Manually installing TeX Live is actually pretty easy as it comes with precompiled binaries.


Caramdir is right, and further to what he says, PGF has a particularly complex backend and is particularly likely to run into trouble if things aren't as it expects. Make sure your Tex engine and PGF come together.

Cf. my answer to fresh installation of PGF/TikZ crashes, why? question on SO.

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