TeX Live

Since release 15.09 there is a new TeX Live packaging that lives entirely under attribute texlive.

User's guide

  • For basic usage just pull texlive.combined.scheme-basic for an environment with basic LaTeX support.

  • It typically won't work to use separately installed packages together. Instead, you can build a custom set of packages like this. Most CTAN packages should be available:

    texlive.combine {
      inherit (texlive) scheme-small collection-langkorean algorithms cm-super;
  • There are all the schemes, collections and a few thousand packages, as defined upstream (perhaps with tiny differences).

  • By default you only get executables and files needed during runtime, and a little documentation for the core packages. To change that, you need to add pkgFilter function to combine.

    texlive.combine {
      # inherit (texlive) whatever-you-want;
      pkgFilter = pkg:
        pkg.tlType == "run" || pkg.tlType == "bin" || pkg.hasManpages || pkg.pname == "cm-super";
      # elem tlType [ "run" "bin" "doc" "source" ]
      # there are also other attributes: version, name
  • You can list packages e.g. by nix repl.

    $ nix repl
    nix-repl> :l <nixpkgs>
    nix-repl> texlive.collection-[TAB]
  • Note that the wrapper assumes that the result has a chance to be useful. For example, the core executables should be present, as well as some core data files. The supported way of ensuring this is by including some scheme, for example scheme-basic, into the combination.

Custom packages

You may find that you need to use an external TeX package. A derivation for such package has to provide the contents of the "texmf" directory in its output and provide the appropriate tlType attribute (one of "run", "bin", "doc", "source"). Dependencies on other TeX packages can be listed in the attribute tlDeps.

Such derivation must then be listed in the attribute pkgs of an attribute set passed to texlive.combine, for instance by passing extraPkgs = { pkgs = [ custom_package ]; };. Within Nixpkgs, pkgs should be part of the derivation itself, allowing users to call texlive.combine { inherit (texlive) scheme-small; inherit some_tex_package; }.

Here is a (very verbose) example where the attribute pkgs is attached to the derivation itself, which requires creating a fixed point. See also the packages auctex, eukleides, mftrace for more examples.

with import <nixpkgs> {};

  foiltex = stdenvNoCC.mkDerivation (finalAttrs: {
    pname = "latex-foiltex";
    version = "2.1.4b";
    passthru = {
      pkgs = [ finalAttrs.finalPackage ];
      tlDeps = with texlive; [ latex ];
      tlType = "run";

    srcs = [
      (fetchurl {
        url = "http://mirrors.ctan.org/macros/latex/contrib/foiltex/foiltex.dtx";
        hash = "sha256-/2I2xHXpZi0S988uFsGuPV6hhMw8e0U5m/P8myf42R0=";
      (fetchurl {
        url = "http://mirrors.ctan.org/macros/latex/contrib/foiltex/foiltex.ins";
        hash = "sha256-KTm3pkd+Cpu0nSE2WfsNEa56PeXBaNfx/sOO2Vv0kyc=";

    unpackPhase = ''
      runHook preUnpack

      for _src in $srcs; do
        cp "$_src" $(stripHash "$_src")

      runHook postUnpack

    nativeBuildInputs = [ texlive.combined.scheme-small ];

    dontConfigure = true;

    buildPhase = ''
      runHook preBuild

      # Generate the style files
      latex foiltex.ins

      runHook postBuild

    installPhase = ''
      runHook preInstall

      mkdir -p "$path"
      cp *.{cls,def,clo} "$path/"

      runHook postInstall

    meta = with lib; {
      description = "A LaTeX2e class for overhead transparencies";
      license = licenses.unfreeRedistributable;
      maintainers = with maintainers; [ veprbl ];
      platforms = platforms.all;

  latex_with_foiltex = texlive.combine {
    inherit (texlive) scheme-small;
    inherit foiltex;
  runCommand "test.pdf" {
    nativeBuildInputs = [ latex_with_foiltex ];
  } ''
cat >test.tex <<EOF

\title{Presentation title}

  pdflatex test.tex
  cp test.pdf $out