Ubuntu 12.04 still includes the outdated and obsolete 2009 version of TeX Live. Other than installing manually from the TeX Live website, is there any alternative to install the latest 2012 version on Ubuntu Precise 12.04?

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    At first you may have to apt-get install python-software-properties and in step 2 you have to call add-apt-repository instead of apt-add-repository.
    – user92319
    Sep 23, 2012 at 20:33
  • @grrbytes, I ran into this thread and had the same problem. That is, my texlive install remained at 2009. The solution for me was to use the apt-get dist-upgrade command after following all other instructions (given in the response above by izx). This is because apt-get upgrade is a bit too cautious and 'held back' the texlive upgrade. Using apt-get dist-upgrade solved the issue.
    – user101133
    Oct 26, 2012 at 17:01
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    Note for 12.10 users: No need to install the PPA from the answers below. 12.10 includes the 2012 version of TeXLive just from the main repositories. This may sound superfluous to say, but I've seen two questions about 12.10 and TeXLive pointing to this question already.
    – gertvdijk
    Feb 3, 2013 at 11:02
  • I just want to point out that a manual installation of recent TeX Live versions is actually very convenient thanks to the install-tl script. You can find my brief how-to of the manual install here.
    – bluenote10
    Mar 23, 2015 at 12:58

3 Answers 3


TeX Live 2012 is available for 12.04 in an official "backports" PPA

TeX Live 2012 is scheduled for inclusion in the next Ubuntu release (Quantal 12.10). Meanwhile, Ubuntu's TeX Live maintainer, Jeremy Bicha, has created an official "backports" PPA to allow 12.04 users to easily install/upgrade to the new version.

To install/upgrade to TeX Live 2012:

  1. Open a terminal with Ctrl+Alt+T
  2. Add the texlive-backports PPA by typing the below (enter your password when prompted):

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:texlive-backports/ppa
  3. Then type:

    sudo apt-get update
  4. Installation:

    • If you are installing TeX Live for the first time, type:

      sudo apt-get install texlive
    • If you already have TeX Live installed and are upgrading, type:

      sudo apt-get upgrade

      Warning: this will also upgrade all other packages on your Ubuntu system for which upgrades are available. If you do not wish to do this, please use the previous sudo apt-get install texlive instead.

  • Wow, this is great news!
    – jon
    Jul 26, 2012 at 19:41
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    @izx Does this PPA installation still allow to use tlmgr to update TeX packages as I described in a related question?
    – JJD
    Sep 29, 2012 at 12:06
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    I had already had texlive 2009 on Ubuntu 12.04. Using the sudo apt-get upgrade command didn't result in (TeX Live 2012/Debian) after running tex --version. Running sudo apt-get install texlive did the trick though.
    – Sicco
    Dec 18, 2012 at 14:06
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    This is because the package names are not complete overlaps. If you installed the complete texlive from the Canonical repos as sudo apt-get install texlive-full, then doing an upgrade will not touch it, because that is not how it is called in the texlive backports PPA. Jan 18, 2013 at 1:29
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    I also need to run sudo apt-get install texlive-latex-extra to get all the packages I wanted Apr 16, 2013 at 11:26

The directory listing linked on the page you linked does not show the available backports for 12.04 (precise).

In order to get the "2012 (quantal)" version of texlive, you will need to add the backport PPA.

Before adding a PPA you should be aware of some of the risks involved:

Always remember that PPAs are provided by the community, you should be aware of the possible risks before just adding a PPA.

From Synaptic Package Manager:

  1. Select Settings --> Repositories --> Other Software --> Add and enter:

    deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/texlive-backports/ppa/ubuntu precise main
  2. Select Add source. Next, select the Reload button on the menu to re-index your package list
  3. Finally, in the Quickfilter field, enter "texlive" and you will see the 2012 versions of the packages available for installation.
  4. Mark the packages that you are interested in, and click the Apply button.

From the command line (Ctrl+Alt+T), enter the following commands:

sudo apt-add-repository http://ppa.launchpad.net/texlive-backports/ppa/ubuntu
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install texlive-base

This will also install the following dependencies:

lmodern luatex texlive-binaries texlive-common texlive-doc-base texlive-luatex
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    It's merged now apparently. An even better solution! :)
    – gertvdijk
    Jan 16, 2013 at 8:42

I don't think I have the reputation points to comment, so I am answering in response to Alexander Schleifer above: On Ubuntu 12.04 in order for the upgrade to work, I had to use:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:texlive-backports/ppa

Not "apt-add" as the answer suggested. It didn't give me an error with "apt-add" but didn't work until I tried "add-apt."

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    > ls /usr/bin/apt-add-repository -l outputs lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 18 sept. 28 2012 /usr/bin/apt-add-repository -> add-apt-repository
    – Mmmh mmh
    Aug 25, 2013 at 22:40

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