Pretesting TeX Live 2021

The entire TeX Live community greatly benefits from all testing 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. Please give it a try if you can.

As distributed, the pretest will not interfere with any existing installations of TeX, either native TeX Live or operating system distributions.

On this page: downloading - installing - testing - updating - reporting - migrating - 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:

64-bit Windows binaries are not included in TL. You can get them as either the natively-compiled binaries from Akira Kakuto (has its own instructions), or the mingw-compiled binaries from Luigi Scarso plus his auxiliary programs (install as a custom binary set).

The pretest build runs nightly, ending by 4am Copenhagen time unless something goes wrong. The mirror hosts should all be up to date within a few hours after that.


After downloading as above, you can run the script install-tl (Unix) or install-tl-windows.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. If third-party packages have changed incompatibly, their maintainers should be contacted directly.


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.

Migrating from the pretest to the release

The last pretest build is usually close to the official release. If you are using the standard directory setup, you can rename your pretest installation (say, /usr/local/texlive/pretest) to the per-year directory (/usr/local/texlive/2021) and change your search path. The other change you will likely have to make is to take updates from CTAN again: tlmgr option repo ctan.

Then, after the release is made, a normal update (tlmgr update --self --all) should sync with whatever changes were made after the last pretest. The result should be equivalent to doing a full installation.

Notable changes

The main TeX Live documentation and translations are not yet fully updated.

As always, there are pervasive updates to packages and programs. We can't list them all, but here are the major user-visible changes in the principal programs:


Nothing major; see full Kpathsea news for details.

The Aleph-based LaTeX format, named lamed, has been removed. The aleph binary itself is still included and supported.

eptex, euptex
Nothing major; see full ChangeLogs for details.

luatex (full LuaTeX news)

metapost (full MetaPost news)

pdftex (full pdfTeX news)

ptex (full pTeX news)
Nothing major.

xetex (full XeTeX news)
Fixes for math kerning.

dvipdfmx (full dvipdfmx news)

dvips (full dvips news)

tlmgr (full tlmgr news)

MacTeX and its new binary folder universal-darwin now require macOS 10.14 or higher (Mojave, Catalina, and Big Sur); the x86_64-darwin binary folder is no longer present. The x86_64-darwinlegacy binary folder, available only with the Unix install-tl, supports 10.6 and newer.

This is an important year for the Macintosh because Apple introduced ARM machines in November and will sell and support both ARM and Intel machines for many years. All programs in universal-darwin have executable code for both ARM and Intel. Both binaries are compiled from the same source code.

The additional programs Ghostscript, LaTeXiT, TeX Live Utility, and TeXShop are all universal and are signed with a hardened runtime, so all are included in MacTeX this year.

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

$Date: 2021/02/27 18:53:56 $; TeX Live;
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