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LaTeX

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LaTeX packages provided by DICE:

  • TexLive 2018 is the default. It includes the Informatics (letter, etc.) classes..
  • partial TexLive 2012 is still available (via /usr/bin) and in some cases might be the default - see below for how to tell. It remains for use by the OS. We do not recommend this version for document preparation.
  • Full Documentation is available for both versions, but due to its large size is only installed on request. contact support to have TexLive documentation added to a PC.
We strongly recommend that everyone use the latest TexLive (2018) where possible.

To determine the default version you can run:

[host]user$ pdflatex --version

and expect to see (TeX Live 2018) amongst the output.

Otherwise you will see an older year (2012 or 2013).

If the older version is default, you should still be able to run:

[sl7host]user$ /opt/texlive/<year>/bin/x86_64-linux/pdflatex --version

and/or make it the default for your current session by adding the above directory to your $PATH - or by running

[sl7host]user$ module add texlive2018

in a shell before running LaTeX commands (disable with module rm texlive2018).

Types of Support

The use of LaTeX, TeX and associated tools is supported within Informatics.

As well as the generic document preparation environment under DICE, LaTeX and its tools form a key part of several Informatics services. However we cannot provide comprehensive support for LaTeX authors, and this document attempts to explain the extent of support available.

1. Distribution and Tools

DICE desktops and compute servers are provided with a full LaTeX distribution (presently TeX Live, as provided by upstream Scientific Linux) and Informatics provides updates and support for its basic operation. We are able to directly support the production of basic documents in formats such as PDF and PostScript and can provide basic assistance in extending the environment.

We also maintain a set of Informatics-specific classes for use within this distribution and provide the packages required to build them. The Informatics files can be found in /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/informatics/. Guidance on using these files can be found within the files themselves and the documentation directory, (/usr/share/texmf/doc/latex/informatics/ on any suitable DICE machine). We also maintain a package of resources for use with our classes, such as logos, on the same set of machines.

On DICE machine you you can see the full (long) list of classes and files packaged by Informatics with the following command:

rpm -ql latex.local.informatics latex.local.informatics.defs

In addition to the system-installed packages installed, up-to-date TeXLive installations support per-user package management via the tlmgr command. See tlmgr --help for details, specifically the USER MODE section. In short:

$ tlmgr init-usertree
$ tlmgr --usermode install pgf
tlmgr: package repository http://mirrors.x.y[...] (verified)
[1/1] install: pgf [10372k]
running mktexlsr ...
done running mktexlsr.
tlmgr: package log updated: ~/texmf/web2c/tlmgr.log

If there's something that you think must be installed centrally, support can generally fulfil requests for updates and additional packages, though this is subject to the usual restrictions on new software. Please see our documentation on software requests for details.

2. Services using TeX

The following Informatics services make direct use of LaTeX:

Computing support covers the distribution, operation and maintenance of the above and will be able to support the generation of documents using the tools (in most cases this is automated), but this support is limited to basic assistance with compilation or system errors. For support beyond this, see below.

3. Document Creation

For those having trouble laying out (or even compiling) your documents, the support we can provide is limited. If the problem is not caused by or related to our environment, it may not be possible for computing support to solve problems with your document (though you should still expect a response, and the usual policies of escalation still apply).

The best way to find LaTeX support in Informatics is from colleagues and peers who have direct experience in writing their own documents. We'd recommend putting your question to our inf-general mailing list, particularly if you're looking for suggestions on how to achieve a particular effect or result. We have started to compile a list of Questions and Answers based on emails sent to this list.

Alternatively, or if you've exhausted our local expertise, there are several popular online resources and indeed communities which might be able to help. A good source of such sites is the UK-TUG website, whose links include:

Last reviewed: 
09/08/2018

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