I have installed TeX Live 2011 vanilla and I have trouble setting the TeX Live path for root (in Ubuntu 11.10).

The problem is that when I run sudo tlmgr I get:

sudo: tlmgr: command not found

To fix the path for non-root it was sufficient to add


to /etc/profile.

I have tried adding this same line to /root/.bashrc and I have also tried to add it to /etc/profile.d/zzz-texlive.sh like Herbert suggest in https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/26624/tlmgr-inaccessible/26626#26626 but it does not help.

  • Indeed this question is unrelated to TeX, but answered on SO. – DevSolar Oct 14 '11 at 7:14

Quick fix: since you already have the correct $PATH set in your environment (via the /etc/profile modifications) you can use:

sudo env PATH="$PATH" tlmgr

Basically, sudo resets the value of $PATH (the whole environment, indeed) to a "known good" one, and is thus ignoring any changes you made to your local environment. The env command above sets the PATH variable in the environment of the tlmgr it executes, so it runs with the value of $PATH you specify on the command line.

To avoid typing all that for each TeXlive command, you can define an alias in your shell: add the following line to the .bashrc file in your home:

alias psudo='sudo env PATH="$PATH"'

and then you can simply issue this at a command prompt:

psudo tlmgr

In addition, sudo does not run a login shell to execute the command, which is why your "profile.d" tricks did not work for root. You can force sudo to execute a command in a shell, which is an alternate way of achieving the same effect:

sudo sh -l -c tlmgr

Again you can define a shell command alias to shorten this:

alias shsudo='sudo sh -l -c'

which can be used as:

shsudo tlmgr
| improve this answer | |
  • Do you mind including a full description of how to set $PATH in my environment? Also, so I have to do env for every command in the TeX Live path that I want to enable for sudo? There's quite a lot of binaries in /usr/local/texlive/2011/bin/x86_64-linux that you might want to run as root. – N.N. Oct 15 '11 at 10:05
  • @N.N. I've updated the answer with more details; hope it's clearer now. – Riccardo Murri Oct 15 '11 at 11:00
  • Cheers! Appreciate your explanations. – N.N. Oct 15 '11 at 11:05

If you add the symlinks then you won't need to make a script. You can do this two ways:

Using the GUI:

  1. sudo env PATH="$PATH" tlmgr --gui.
  2. Click 'Actions -> Handle symlinks in system dirs'.
  3. Click 'Update symbolic links'.

Using the command line (untested, since I used the GUI):

  1. sudo env PATH="$PATH" tlmgr path add. (find more information at tlmgr documentation)
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What worked for me: I started tlmgr in gui mode with

sudo env PATH="$PATH" tlmgr --gui

and then in the third menu chose the last item but one (in my German menu, that is menu "Aktionen" (actions?) and item "Verwaltung der symbolischen Links" (administration of symbolic links?). In the ensuing dialogue window I clicked the button "Symbolische Links erneuern" (renew symbolic links?). Now

sudo tlmgr --OPTIONS

works without problems. I'm sure there's also a command line way of doing this ;)

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To pass the user's $PATH to sudo I modified /etc/sudoers file using the visudo command and add the following line:

Defaults        exempt_group=<group that I belong to>

Now I can execute (e.g.)

sudo tlmgr update all


sudo texhash

and everything works perfect.

I would greatly appreciate any comments on this approach.

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You really don't have to add the directory of tlmgr to the path. A simple quick solution is using which, e.g.:

sudo $(which tlmgr) update --list
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It is not good practice to install and manage TeX Live using "root" privileges. Instead, create the /usr/local/texlive directory, e.g, using sudo, and then change the ownership to the user that will be managing TeX Live. After that, TeX Live can be installed and updated without using "root" privileges.

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