TeX Live 2019 released

After a few days of testing of the gold images of the DVDs, we have now officially announced the release of TeX Live 2019.

The DVDs are already being burnt and will soon be sent to the various TeX User groups who ordered. The .iso image is available on CTAN, and the net installer will pull all the newest stuff. Currently we are working on getting those packages updated during the freeze to the newest level in TeX Live.

Before providing the full list of changes, here a ew things I would like to pick out:

  • New frontend based on Tcl/Tk for the installer: The tlshell did already provide a frontend for tlmgr, and Siep has now also provided a new GUI frontend for the installer, which is the default on Windows and Mac. Due to using Tcl/Tk we get better visual integration into the environment, and the installer has been also simplified and streamlined. Thanks a lot to Siep for her great work!
  • Selectable downloader program: If the default LWP module does not work, we have been using wget to download the necessary files. This stopped working on MacOS due to SSL problems. We have now added support for selectable downloader programs, and prefer curl over wget if available.
  • Speedup of the update procedure: During the last year we introduced selectable compressor program for the backups made during updates or manual backups. Till now we used xz which has excellent compression rates, thus we continue using it as main distribution format, but is computationally intensive. We now ship the lz4 compressor for supported architectures, and use it instead of xz when creating backups. lz4 is extremely fast, and the compression rates are still quite good, so this is an excellent compromise.

Most of the above features have been available already either via tlpretest or via regular updates, but are now fully released on the DVD version.

Finally, here are the changes as listed in the master TeX Live documentation:

  • Kpathsea: More consistent brace expansion and path splitting; new variable TEXMFDOTDIR instead of
    hard-coded . in paths allows for easily searching additional or sub-directories (see comments in
  • epTeX, eupTeX: New primitives \readpapersizespecial and \expanded.
  • LuaTEX: Lua 5.3 now used, with concomitant arithmetic and interface changes. The homegrown library pplib is used to read pdf files, thus eliminating the dependency on poppler (and the need for C++); Lua interface changed accordingly.
  • MetaPost: r-mpost command name recognized as an alias for invocation with the –restricted option, and added to the list of restricted commands available by default. Minimum precision now 2 for decimal and binary mode. Binary mode no longer available in MPlib but still available in standalone MetaPost.
  • pdfTEX: New primitive \expanded; if new primitive parameter \pdfomitcharset is set to 1, the /CharSet string omitted from the PDF output, since it cannot feasibly be guaranteed correct, as required by PDF/A-2 and PDF/A-3.
  • XeTEX: New primitives \expanded, \creationdate, \elapsedtime, \filedump, \filemoddate, \filesize, \resettimer, \normaldeviate, \uniformdeviate, \randomseed; extend \Ucharcat to produce active characters.
  • tlmgr: Support curl as a download program; use lz4 and gzip before xz for local backups, if available; prefer system-provided binaries over binaries provided with TeX Live for compressor and download programs, unless the environment variable TEXLIVE_PREFER_OWN is set.
  • install-tl: New option -gui (with no argument) is the default on Windows and Macs, and invokes a new Tcl/TK GUI (see sections 1.3 and 3.1.6).


  • cwebbin (https://ctan.org/pkg/cwebbin) is now the CWEB implementation in TeX Live, with support for more language dialects, and including the ctwill program to make mini-indexes.
  • chkdvifont: report font information from DVI files, also from tfm/ofm, vf, gf, pk.
  • dvispc: make a DVI file page-independent with respect to specials.

MacTeX: x86_64-darwin now supports 10.12 and higher (Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave); x86_64-darwinlegacy still supports 10.6 and newer. The spell checker Excalibur is no longer included, since it requires 32-bit support.

Platforms: removed sparc-solaris.

That’s all, let the fun begin!

3 Responses

  1. Matt Ballard says:

    I am unable to locate the 2019 installer for Linux (install-tl.zip) The one that you referenced in the article above is dated at 4-30-2019 however it is still the 2018 installer.

  1. 2019/05/09

    […] one week ago we have released upstream TeX Live 2019, and after a few iterations fixing packaging bugs, the Debian experimental suite now has TeX Live […]

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