[tex-live] TeX Live versus teTeX

Sebastian Rahtz sebastian.rahtz at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Wed Jan 11 20:32:51 CET 2006

Donald A Pellegrino wrote:

>I do not feel that I have a good understanding of the relationship between 
>TeX Live (http://www.tug.org/texlive/) and teTeX 
>(http://www.tug.org/tetex/).  It would seem that these are both 
>distributions of TeX and that I should choose between them when 
>considering adding TeX to a new system.  How should I decide between TeX 
>Live and teTeX?
teTeX and TeXLive are based on the same source tree;
at any given time they may vary a little in which version
of a program or library is included, but there is no
separate development.

they differ mainly in the accompanying support tree
of fonts and macros. teTeX is really only divided into a
base collection and a set of extras; TL is divided into a
set of several dozen collections, each comprising a set
of packages. The TL packages and collections are very much
larger than what is teTeX; teTeX is a rational choice of what
a sensible setup is, whereas TL is simply more or less
everything available (under the conditions that it be on
CTAN and have a free licence).

> Is TeX Live more 
>official or supported by TUG than teTeX?
TUG and the other LUGs do put direct  effort and money
into TL. But Thomas Esser (teTeX) is part of TL too, so it
is not really favouring TL over teTeX.

The main glory of TL is its metadata about packages and
collections, which made it possibly to automatically
derive Debian packages for each of the separate

How do you decide? depends on what you want a TeX
setup for. teTeX will be perfect for the vast majority
of mainstream users. TL will be a better starting point
if you intend to maintain a complete setup for a very wide
variety of users.

Sebastian Rahtz      
Information Manager, Oxford University Computing Services
13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN. Phone +44 1865 283431

OSS Watch: JISC Open Source Advisory Service

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