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✻ LaTeX on DICE SL7

Certain common packages were removed from the default (TexLive 2012) LaTeX distribution for SL7, so we have built an alternative, more fully-featured TexLive 2017 installation in /opt/texlive/2017. Instructions for use are below but in general you should not need to change anything to use it.

Which LaTeX am I using?

  • TexLive 2017 will be default as of Semester 1, 2017. It should be functionally identical to 2015 and includes the Informatics (letter, etc.) classes..
  • TexLive 2015 is the outgoing default on DICE SL7 across desktops and most multi-user servers. It includes the Informatics (letter, etc.) classes.
  • TexLive 2012 is still available (via /usr/bin) and in some cases might be the default - see below for how to tell. It is used by other parts of SL7 so we've left it in situ but would consider removing it if possible; we do not recommend you use this for document preparation.
  • TexLive 2007 was the version available on DICE SL6.

We strongly recommend that all users choose TexLive 2017 where possible.

To determine the default version you can run:

[sl7host]user$ pdflatex --version
pdfTeX 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.18 (TeX Live 2017)

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

If 2017 has been installed on your machine but isn't the default, you should still be able to run:

[sl7host]user$ /opt/texlive/2017/bin/x86_64-linux/pdflatex --version
pdfTeX 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.18 (TeX Live 2017)

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 texlive2017

in a shell before running LaTeX commands (disable with module rm texlive2017).

The same procedure applies for 2015:

[sl7host]user$ module add texlive2015
[sl7host]user$ latex --version
pdfTeX 3.14159265-2.6-1.40.16 (TeX Live 2015)
module rm texlive2015

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 packages installed, 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:

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