Pretesting TeX Live

All of the TeX Live community greatly appreciates all testing of TeX Live before the official release. The more people who test in advance, the better the final release can be. It is also the best opportunity to influence and improve the behavior of TL.

So please try it if you like, but not with the expectation that “everything should work perfectly” (it won't), but rather “I'll try this out and see if I can help improve it”. As distributed, the pretest will not interfere with any existing installations of TeX.

On this page: downloading - installing - testing - updating - reporting - news.


You can retrieve the pretest files from one of these hosts: copy-paste an http or ftp url when running the installer directly, or use an rsync url for mirroring, as described below. (Our thanks to these sites for making their space and bandwidth available.)

You can either do a network installation of TL or mirror the whole directory:

The pretest build runs nightly, ending around 5am Paris time unless something goes wrong. The mirror hosts should all be up to date within a couple of hours after that.


After downloading as above, you can run the script install-tl (Unix) or install-tl-windows.bat (Windows) or install-tl-advanced.bat (Windows) to perform the installation. We just use install-tl as the command name in these examples:

If you are performing a network installation, the pretest repository location from which to install must be specified, as shown in these examples (see downloading above for the location urls). The location must be an ftp or http url (not rsync).

But in the case of installing from your own mirrored repository, you should omit -repository location from the given command lines.

For information on all of the installer options, run install-tl --help, or see the install-tl documentation page.


After a successful installation, please first try simple test documents, such as latex small2e and pdflatex sample2e. If that works, even more useful is to try your real-life documents, to check that they still work as expected.


After a successful installation, you can update from the tlpretest repository using tlmgr from time to time, if you wish. In the event of unusually drastic changes during the pretest you may have to reinstall.

Reporting problems

Please email bug reports, suggestions, comments on TeX Live itself (the installation process, tlmgr, etc.) to (archive). Bugs about specific packages should be reported to the package maintainers; TeX Live's basic job is to install (some of) what is on CTAN, not make changes on top of it. Resources for general questions and help using TeX are available separately.

Notable changes

The main TeX Live documentation and translations are not yet fully updated. Meanwhile, aside from the pervasive updates to new releases of packages and programs, here is a terse list of major user-visible changes:

luatex (full LuaTeX news)
More callbacks, more typesetting control, more access to internals; ffi library added on some platforms.
pdftex (full pdfTeX news)
Environment variable SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH_TEX_PRIMITIVES from last year renamed to FORCE_SOURCE_DATE, with no changes in functionality; if the \pdfpageattr token list contains the string /MediaBox, omit output of the default /MediaBox.
xetex (full XeTeX news)
Unicode/OpenType math now based on HarfBuzz's MATH table support; small bug fixes (development commit log).
dvips (full dvips news)
Make last papersize special win, for consistency with dvipdfmx and package expectations; the -L0 option or L0 config setting restores the previous behavior of the first special winning.
eptex, euptex
New primitives \pdfuniformdeviate, \pdfnormaldeviate, \pdfrandomseed, \pdfsetrandomseed, \pdfelapsedtime, \pdfresettimer, from pdfTeX.
As of this year, only MacOSX releases for which Apple still releases security patches will be supported in MacTeX, under the platform name x86_64-darwin; currently this means Yosemite, El Capitan, and Sierra (10.10 and newer). Binaries for older MacOSX versions are not included in MacTeX, but are still available in TL (x86_64-darwinlegacy, i386-darwin, powerpc-darwin).
The TEXMFLOCAL tree is now searched before TEXMFSYSCONFIG and TEXMFSYSVAR (by default); the hope is that this will better match expectations of local files overriding system files.
Also, tlmgr has a new mode shell for interactive and scripted use.
updmap and fmtutil
These scripts now give a warning when invoked without explicitly specifying either so-called system mode (updmap-sys, fmtutil-sys, or option -sys). or user mode (updmap-user, fmtutil-user, or option -user). The hope is that this will reduce the perennial problem of invoking user mode by accident and thus losing future system updates. Details and documentation.
Other utilities
texosquery-jre8 is a new cross-platform program for retrieving locale and other OS information from a TeX document; it is included in shell_escape_commands by default for restricted shell execution. (Older JRE versions are supported by texosquery, but cannot be enabled in restricted mode, as they are no longer supported by Oracle, even for security issues.)
See MacTeX entry above; no other changes.

If you find other changes that should be noted, please report them. Such documentation improvements are among the most important things pretesters can help with.

$Date: 2017/04/20 20:48:11 $; TeX Live;
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