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I am using Ubuntu 12.04, TexLive 2012 from backports, TexLive full installation.

However, when I try to compile via latexmk, I get an error message that biber is missing.

How to get biber working on 12.04 - but please only with packages from the repository, not with manual installation.

marked as duplicate by Joseph Wright Mar 4 '16 at 8:48

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I have no Ubuntu installed so I couldn't try it, but I found the following link to a package http://packages.ubuntu.com/de/quantal/biber. Maybe this helps you, otherwise there is the possibility to install it manually (also you mentioned you don't want to) by getting binaries from http://sourceforge.net/projects/biblatex-biber/.

The third option is to not use Ubuntu's TeX Live but the plain one from tug.org. With this I got biber installed per default in a full installation on my Arch Linux machine.

  • 2
    Well, the above mentioned packages are for 12.10, codenamed Quantal. Seems I have to go for the manual install, despite I don't want to... – mcbetz Jan 27 '13 at 8:59
  • I'm sorry for the wrong version of Ubuntu. I got confused by all these names… Is there a way to backport this package? I don't know, if you can do this with Ubuntu… – Stephan Lukasczyk Jan 27 '13 at 9:52

I am not sure which part in the process is causing the problem. (The most likely cause should be not installing biber.)

Anyway, I will try to give a complete rundown of the process. This is supposed to be a comprehensive answer which should benefit future visitors.


First of all, make it sure that we have all the necessary packages installed.


In a terminal (press Ctrl-Alt-t to get one) execute,

apt-cache search pdflatex

You get something like,

texlive-latex-extra - TeX Live: LaTeX additional packages
texlive-latex-recommended - TeX Live: LaTeX recommended packages


sudo apt-get install texlive-latex-extra texlive-latex-recommended



apt-cache search biber

You get something like,

biber - Much-augmented BibTeX replacement for BibLaTeX users


sudo apt-get install biber



apt-cache search biblatex

You get something like,

texlive-bibtex-extra - TeX Live: BibTeX additional styles


sudo apt-get install texlive-bibtex-extra



apt-cache search latexmk

You get something like,

latexmk - Perl script for running LaTeX the correct number of times


sudo apt-get install latexmk

Now, your software/package installation part should be complete.

Actual Compilation

As our test source files, let us say that we have two files.



% Bibliography
\usepackage[backend=biber, sorting=none, defernumbers=true, style=numeric]{biblatex}


Citing the paper~\cite{entrykey}.



  author =   {Author One and Author Two and Author Three},
  title =    {Paper Title},
  journal =      {Journal Name},
  year =     {2016},
  OPTkey =   {},
  OPTvolume =    {},
  OPTnumber =    {},
  OPTpages =     {},
  OPTmonth =     {},
  OPTnote =      {},
  OPTannote =    {}

Now, let us try individual compilation first (my preferred way of doing anything).


pdflatex biberusage.tex
biber biberusage
pdflatex biberusage.tex
pdflatex biberusage.tex

Please note that in the second step, you should use the name of biberusage.tex without the .tex extension. The name biberusage.bib has nothing to do here.

Or we can try using latexmk.


latexmk -pdf biberusage.tex

Everything should work nice and easy.

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