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10 July 2012, 10:20

# TeX Live 2012 released

Over the weekend, the TeX Users Group (TUG) released a new 2012 edition of the TeX Live distribution. New features this year include many detailed improvements. For instance, the MetaPost program can now be called by default when compiling a file in the \write18 primitive's restricted execution mode. Output files from the pdftex TeX extension and the dvips driver can now be larger than 2GB, and dvips automatically embeds the 35 default PostScript fonts in the output file to ensure that typesetting is consistent on all systems.

Another new feature is that the updmap updater for mapping files now reads its configuration on a per tree basis. For security reasons, the developers have changed updmap-sys so that the tlmgr TeX Live package manager uses the configuration file of the administrator account, not that of the user account, when updating under Mac OS X. Tlmgr also now supports multiple network repositories.

Those who use the XeTeX TeX engine should note that the \XeTeXdashbreakstate parameter has been modified to allow line breaks after em and en dashes. While this is consistent with the default behaviour of other TeX engines, it means that line breaks in documents will be modified when recompiling. To prevent this from happening, the parameter must explicitly be reset to zero.

The upgrade to the open source typesetting system is available from the Comprehensive TeX Archive Networks. All users are advised to install the upgrade as TeX Live 2011 was frozen in May and will no longer be updated. The new distribution can be downloaded as an ISO image or installed via a net installer. Gradual upgrading via a shell script such as the one offered on an experimental basis with last year's release is not on offer this year. A new edition of the TeX Collection has been released this month.

TeX Live 2012 is available for most popular platforms. New additions include Linux variants for embedded systems with ARM and MIPS processors. SPARC Linux and NetBSD/i386 have been discontinued. While the TeX Live binaries can be compiled and used on these and other platforms, the users of such TeX Live implementations will also need to install their updates manually. Windows is officially supported from XP, but the distribution is also thought to be functional under Windows 2000. The developers have not provided any special 64-bit binaries, but the 32-bit binaries work on 64-bit architectures.

For Mac OS X, the project recommends installing the MacTeX meta package with its various supplementary applications that can be seamlessly incorporated into the system. For example, users can switch between multiple Tex installations on the same system via the system preferences during operation. All platforms from Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard are supported. Those who want to use the 32-bit universal binaries instead of the 64-bit Intel software can make the necessary changes in the system preferences. The XeTeX TeX engine and the xdv2pdf converter are only available as 32-bit versions because Apple uses old libraries. MacTeX 2012 is a signed meta package that has already been tested with Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion). Unlike previous versions, it was created using Apple's PackageMaker.

(Dr. Jürgen Fenn / djwm)

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