Using Apt And Yum For Simple Latex Package Management

The Problem - Juggling LaTeX Packages

LaTeX, as a sophisticated document preparation system, provides access to a vast collection of packages that enhance features and functionalities. However, with over 4000 packages available from the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network (CTAN), managing all these add-ons can be a complex endeavor. New LaTeX users often struggle to determine which packages to install for their needs and how to obtain them easily. They also grapple with keeping track of different package versions, dependencies, and updates. This article demonstrates how Linux package managers like Advanced Packaging Tool (apt) and Yellowdog Updater Modified (yum) can be utilized to seamlessly install and manage LaTeX packages.

Searching for Packages

The first step towards effective LaTeX package management is identifying and finding the right bundles to install. apt and yum provide powerful search functionalities using the command line to lookup available TeXlive packages in their respective software repositories. Some examples of search commands are:

apt search latex-beamer
yum search texlive-collection-fontsrecommended  

Here, "apt search" queries all the available apt repositories for packages with names or descriptions matching "latex-beamer". This allows users to find relevant TeXlive packages like texlive-latex-extra which provides the latex-beamer class. Similarly, "yum search" looks up yum repositories for matches containing "texlive-collection-fontsrecommended", showing the user this particular LaTeX font package.

By effectively utilizing these search tools, LaTeX users can explore the diverse collection of community packages to discover those that meet their typesetting and document preparation needs.

Installing Packages

Once the required TeXlive packages have been identified, the next step is installation. Both apt and yum provide simple commands to automatically download and set up LaTeX bundles from their respective software repositories. For example:

sudo apt install latexmk 
sudo yum install texlive-pdfx

Here "sudo" invokes administrative privileges to allow package installation. The "apt install" command fetches the latexmk bundle from apt repositories and configures it on the system. Similarly, "yum install" acquires texlive-pdfx from yum repositories and sets it up for the user.

By leveraging these install mechanisms, LaTeX users can easily obtain all the packages they need for their documents without having to manually download and configure each one.

Updating and Removing Packages

As new versions and updates of TeXlive packages are released periodically, an effective package management workflow needs to account for tracking these changes. Luckily, both apt and yum provide flexible commands to seamlessly upgrade installed LaTeX bundles. Some examples include:

sudo apt upgrade texlive-latex-extra
sudo yum update texlive-collection-fontsrecommended

Here "apt upgrade" would fetch the latest version of texlive-latex-extra and update the existing installation. Similarly, "yum update" would refresh texlive-collection-fontsrecommended to the newest release. By routinely applying these commands, users can easily keep all their LaTeX packages up-to-date.

Additionally, sometimes installed LaTeX bundles may no longer be needed. apt and yum allow cleanly removing unwanted packages from systems with commands like:

sudo apt remove latexmk
sudo yum erase texlive-pdfx

This helps declutter LaTeX package installations by getting rid of those that have become obsolete or are no longer utilized.

Managing Package Dependencies

One complex aspect of LaTeX package management is resolving dependencies. Packages often have installation requirements and rely on other complementary bundles. Manually tracking and installing all these interdependent add-ons can be challenging.

Fortunately, apt and yum automatically identify and fetch any required dependent LaTeX packages. For example, when installing the popular hyperref bundle using:

sudo apt install texlive-latex-recommended

apt will automatically pull in other required LaTeX packages like pdftex, etoolbox, and more that hyperref depends on. This alleviates users from having to independently source and set up these complementary add-ons.

By reliably handling dependencies, apt and yum simplify the management overhead and enable hassle-free utilization of complex LaTeX packages.


LaTeX package management using native Linux tools like apt and yum provides an efficient workflow for document authors. Powerful functionalities to search, install, upgrade and remove packages across central software repositories solves many challenges users face. Dependency resolution ensures even complicated bundles can be set up with minimal efforts. With robust package management capabilities, LaTeX users can truly focus on writing great documents rather than wrestling with package configurations.

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