I would like to install LaTeX on a Uberstudent (Ubuntu) distro. The problem is that I only have a USB drive and the Uberstudent machine doesn't have internet access due to a lack of a wifi card. I do however have a USB drive but I can't figure out how to get LaTeX on it so that I can simply install it on the other machine. Any tips?

  • 2
    Download an .iso from a link on this page, and then use a program like usb-creator-gtk (on Ubuntu), or the equivalent on your OS. I remember using something like 'daemon tools' on Windows many years ago....
    – jon
    Jun 21, 2012 at 1:23
  • Welcome to TeX.SE. I removed 'thanks' from your post since we usually omit this. Instead, you should up-vote and accept the answers, giving the answerer the site reputation.
    – yo'
    Jun 21, 2012 at 7:26
  • 2
    No need to use the usb creator, ubuntu is able to mount .iso. Jun 21, 2012 at 7:43

3 Answers 3


This sounds more like a Ubuntu problem than a TeX problem. As far as I can tell from the limited information you give, there are two ways to get TeX onto that machine, both of which require root access:

  1. Download TeXlive on some other computer (for example the iso from the TeXlive site), mount it on the offline machine (using sudo mount -o loop filename.iso /mnt) and then install it from there, following these directions.
  2. To install packages offline in an apt-based distribution such as Ubuntu or Debian, you can download the .deb package files on another machine. If your offline machine has halfway up-to-date package information, you can run sudo apt-get install texlive-full, note the packages that it wants to install, and then cancel it. Then go the a machine with internet access and run apt-get download $PACKAGES, replacing $PACKAGES with the names of the packages noted on the other machine (separated by spaces). This will download a lot of .deb files to the current directory. Copy them all to a USB drive and install them on the offline machine using dpkg -i *.deb in the directory containing the .deb files. For more details have a look at this article by Andrew Stacey: Updating Ubuntu Offline.
  • A while ago (when Ubuntu was still Edgy), I was in the situation you describe in Method 2 and cludged together a working system for keeping the offline machine up to date. My method is described at math.ntnu.no/~stacey/HowDidIDoThat/Ubuntu/Edgy/… Somethings might have gotten easier since Edgy, but I don't think anything will be harder. Jun 21, 2012 at 9:33
  • @LoopSpace I have internet access and I want to install the texlive in my USB portable usage. How can I do that? I am using Ubuntu 14.04.
    – alhelal
    Oct 8, 2017 at 10:10

I usually just rsync the entire tlnet from one of the mirrors that support rsync, and then place the tlnet folder onto the USB, then I simply run install-tl from that folder on the USB. Works like a charm

plus you get the latest TL (when it is not frozen), the ISO is only created once every year.


I've done such an offline installation successfully following instructions from http://milindpadalkar.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/installing-texlive-2010-in-ubuntu-10-04-10-10-and-11-04/ :

  • Uninstall any tex-live packages that maybe were already installed on the system using synaptic.
  • Download the TeXLive ISO image from http://www.tug.org (about 2.5Gig)
  • Put in on a USB Stick, mount the stick on your offline PC
  • become root
  • mount the iso file:

    mkdir /media/iso
    mount -o loop /media/mystick/TeXLive2011.iso /media/iso
  • run the installer from the iso image:

    cd /media/iso
  • Add the following lines to your system wide profile, or your users profile:

    export MANPATH
    export INFOPATH
    export PATH
  • start a new shell or re-login to make the changes happen

Now you have an offline installation. If you take any other Version (e.g. TeXLive 2012 when it is released), then use "2012" accordingly. The iso covers both 32bit an 64bit version. On a 64bit System, you need to write x86_64-linux instead of i386-linux when fixing your profile.

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