I am a beginner level user of Ubuntu (18.04 LTS virtual machine). I have installed the TeXLive 2019 via command line:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jonathonf/texlive-2019
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install texlive

Now, I need the \usepackage{biblatex} which lives in the TeXLive package texlive-bibtex-extra. Also, I need another TeXLive package biber.
But when I come to install biber, it's asking to uninstall texlive-bibtex-extra.
What can I do now?

  • Though it's not helping me, but seems it's the same issue with the previous versions of Ubuntu and TeXLive: askubuntu.com/questions/761985/…
    – raf
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 14:15
  • 2
    I would recommend to ask jonathonf directly using special contact form on launchpad as he is responsive about packaging texlive in his PPA.
    – N0rbert
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 16:06
  • @N0rbert, okay, let's see. I have emailed him,
    – raf
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 17:02

1 Answer 1


Your problem is probably better handled by the PPA author, as commented by @N0orbert. I offer an alternate option here.

Another possibility is to install a "portable" TeXLive instance in a directory under your home (I have several TeXLive instances installed in my system; I use them to check my package under several version of the main packages --- TeX/LaTeX is a very active community, and 3 years of development is a lot of changes). The advantage is that your installation is in parallel to the system one, the disadvantage is that it is not easily integrated in the desktop (you have to use a lot of command line instruction [note 1]).

Do everything as a normal user, so you will not touch the standard installation.

Basically you follow the instructions to acquire a network TeXLive installation.

  1. download the TeXLive network installer
  2. follow the instruction to install the network version of TeXLive https://tug.org/texlive/acquire-netinstall.html --- be sure to select a "portable installation" under a personal directory, like $HOME/texlive2020 or similar.
  3. You now have to change your PATH to find the new directories before the system ones. I use this script from AlexG to have a shell using the portable one.

Notice that this is a sort-of advanced setup, so you need to understand things as the environment variables, startup scripts, PATH and similar thing, otherwise do not do it.

The downside is that you will need an extra 6-8 Gbyte for every TeXLive version you have (more if you do not disable backups[note 2]) and all of this will need to be downloaded from your internet link.

[note 1] Well, you can change your startup scripts to add the new directories in front of the standard ones. It will be only for your user and I never did it, so I do not guarantee that it will work ok.

[note 2] You have to keep your new repository up-to-date, running tlmgr update --all --self (with the correct PATH!) manually from time to time. That will keep old package versions as backups; you can remove them/avoid them if you want, but by default it will do backups.

  • Thank you! But I guess the procedure is quite advanced for me as a beginner level user. I have emailed the PPA author, thinking of waiting to get a reply from him.
    – raf
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 16:59
  • 1
    And just an another option I forgot before - we can use special Docker container with any texlive version inside - see hub.docker.com/r/raabf/texstudio-versions .
    – N0rbert
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 17:43
  • @N0rbert --- really interesting! Thank you.
    – Rmano
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 17:45
  • 1
    Thank you guys! I got a reply from the PPA author. He has updated the package biber. My problem is solved now.
    – raf
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 18:25

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