Talk:ConTeXt Standalone

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Debian & Derivatives

I had trouble installing ConTeXt Standalone under LMDE, a Debian derivative. At the end, I solved my problem by adopting and adapting part of the ConTeXt Standalone instructions for Ubuntu. What I did, is explained at TeX.SE [1]. Considering the popularity of Debian, I would like to see this information also here. Furthermore, there is no link from this page to the Ubuntu Standalone instructions page.--Serge 21:44, 9 September 2013 (CEST)

Maybe I'm dense, but what speaks again using "#apt-get install context"? Seems to run fine. Using Debian sid it installs version 2014.05.21 22:04.

Binary versions

Mojca, what is the linux kernel version? There is a difference between binaries for 2.4.x and 2.6.x kernels. If ldd reports, then it is a 2.6 binary and will not run on 2.4 kernels, regardless of glibc version. Taco

Garden uses kernel 2.6. If anyone starts complaining about too new kernel, we should start seeking an older machine (or maybe create a virtual machine somewhere). --Mojca 11:42, 21 April 2008 (CEST)

older content

Installation is done by the mtx-update.lua which is already part of ConTeXt. If you already have a working installation, you should be able to use it through the generic mtxrun: [actually this is a little lie for the moment; even the most recent mtx-update.lua needs to be updated itself in order for the process to work].

 mtxrun --script update --platform=<your platform> --engine=<a TeX engine> --texroot=<install dir> --update

Platform (default is win) can be:

  • win
  • linux
  • linux-64
  • osx-ppc
  • osx-intel
  • sun

Engine (default is all) can be any of the following, or a comma-separated combination (such as --engine='xetex, luatex'):

  • pdftex
  • xetex
  • luatex
  • all

TeX root is the location of your installation (the directory where texmf trees like texmf, texmf-local, etc. are to be found), default: tex (relative to the current directory).

Most of the task of mtx-update is to run rsync to synchronize your local installation with the repository. It is assumed that Unix users (including Mac OS X) would have an rsync client installed by default on their system; for Windows an rsync binary is provided as part of the initial setup (see next paragraph).

If you don't have an installed ConTeXt distribution, you must download from the appropriate zip archive for your system, and run the shell / batch script in the top-level directory (which should be called context); it is a very simple script that sets the necessary environment to run mtx-update, and it accepts exactly the same switches as mtx-update. By default it will install a ConTeXt distribution suitable for pdfTeX on your system; the top-level directory for that distribution will be context/tex until you tell it otherwise (with the --texroot switch).

More older content


The minimals contain:

  • ConTeXt: current, beta + some older releases
  • Fonts: most important TeX-aware ones
  • Binaries: latest version of pdfTeX, XeTeX, LuaTeX, Metapost
  • Formats (need to be generated by user) for
    • ConTeXt, mptopdf and plain TeX for pdfTeX/XeTeX/LuaTeX
    • metafun and plain for Metapost

See ConTeXt Minimals/Contents.


What to install

  • --platform=name-of-platform (see supported platforms; default: the one we are working on)
  • --engines=list-of-engines (options: luatex, xetex, pdftex, all; default: all)
  • --context=version (options: current, beta, alpha,; default: beta)

What to do

  • --force (as opposed to --dryrun; do the real thing; this is needed) needs to be fixed
  • --update (update minimal tree)
  • --make (make formats and generate file databases)
  • --state (update tree using saved state) needs to be implemented/fixed
  • --keep (as apposed to --delete; don't delete unused or obsolete files) needs to be improved

Where to install

  • --texroot=path (installation path; default: tex)

Rsync Server

(currently there's only one anyway)

  • --server=repository-url (default: rsync://
  • --module=string (default: minimals)
  • --rsync=name-of-rsync-binary (default: rsync) Why do we need this?

See also ConTeXt Minimals/Implementation.

script cleanup

line 5 in tells me:

# feel free to suggest a more elegant solution

so i do.

if which rsync &> /dev/null; then
  echo "OK" > /dev/null
  echo "You need to install rsync first."

can be replaced with

if [ ! -x "`which rsync`" ]; then
  echo "You need to install rsync first."
  exit 1

or (as there is another such test below):

check_and_complain () {
  if [ ! -x "`which $1`" ]; then
    echo "You need to install $1 first."
    exit 1
check_and_complain rsync
check_and_complain ruby

Tobias Florek (w/o user account)

Ruby version

On that recent change to ruby 1.8 or newer: has this actually been tested? Last I remember, there were big problems with ruby 1.9 because it is not upward compatible with ruby 12.8 sources Taco 14:32, 8 May 2010 (UTC)

I have no idea. I have 1.8 here and I'm not sure if I want to mess with my system. The user from Lithuania(?) who wrote that did not login, so maybe he wrote "or later" just because this usually is the case with programming languages. I have no idea to what extent the incompatibility goes. --Mojca 12:27, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
Hans says that it "should" work Taco 12:39, 10 May 2010 (UTC)

Contextwriter: mac links

There are a great many links to the internet that are potentially useful to people that have trouble handling their own computer, but those are not on topic for this wiki. Please don't add 'how to use your Apple' links on ConTeXt specific pages, it clutters the wiki with off-topic information. Taco 08:48, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Actually, I thought for a moment that you were a commercial spammer because you don't have a user page and were posting links to external sites. If you really must have Mac-specific links on this wiki, please add them to Mac Fix, that page seems to contain more of that. Taco