ConTeXt Standalone

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The ConTeXt suite is a complete, up-to-date ConTeXt distribution which can be upgraded efficiently. It can be used to install either the stable or the beta version of ConTeXt. It can also be used in parallel with existing TeX installations such as MikTeX, TeXLive, or older minimal installation. It is aimed towards ConTeXt users, so it does not include LaTeX specific packages and binaries.


NOTE: ConTeXt develops at a fast pace, and sometimes beta releases have serious bugs. ConTeXt suite allows you to test the latest ConTeXt release without having to worry if an upgrade will mess an critical project. You can have two (or multiple) parallel ConTeXt suites, and freeze one for your critical projects, and use the other one for experimenting.

ConTeXt is also included in TeXlive. The ConTeXt suite is updated continuously, whereas ConTeXt in TeXlive is updated less often. In particular, luatex and metapost are under active development and their binaries are updated frequently. ConTeXt follows these developments, indeed often drives development. As the binaries included in the TeXlive distribution are only updated yearly, ConTeXt on TeXlive will necessarily be less current than the ConTeXt suite. (ConTeXt on TeXlive can be kept somewhat more current using the http://tlcontrib.metatex.org repository.) The ConTeXt suite is self-contained and can happily coexist alongside another installed TeX distribution.

General Information

Supported platforms

Platform Short name Binaries by Notes
Windows mswin Akira Kakuto (W32TeX)
Linux linux Hans Hagen compiled with glibc 2.3.6
Linux, 64-bit linux-64 Peter Münster might be renamed to linux-amd64
Linux, PowerPC linux-ppc Piotr Kopszak
Mac OS X, Intel (32-bit) osx-intel Mojca Miklavec
Mac OS X, Intel (64-bit) osx-64 Mojca Miklavec
Mac OS X, PowerPC osx-ppc Mojca Miklavec
Mac OS X, Universal Binaries osx-universal Mojca Miklavec not used
FreeBSD freebsd Yue Wang, Diego Depaoli might be renamed to freebsd-intel
FreeBSD, 64-bit freebsd-amd64 Michael Krauß
kFreeBSD kfreebsd-i386 Alan Braslau FreeBSD + glibc (Debian)
kFreeBSD, 64-bit kfreebsd-amd64 Alan Braslau FreeBSD + glibc (Debian)
Solaris, Intel solaris-intel Marco Patzer
Solaris, Sparc solaris-sparc Vladimir Volovich compiled on solaris 8, not maintaned

We need volunteers for providing binaries for other platforms. If you want to support a platform, please write to ConTeXt Mailing Lists

Dependencies

  • Ruby 1.8 or newer (used for MKII)
  • Rsync (The windows binary of rsync is distributed within the suite)

Disc space required

ConTeXt macro files are small (less than 10MB), but the suite comes with various free fonts which considerably increase the size of the distribution to around 200MB).

Installation tree

Browse the installation tree


Unix-like platforms (Linux/MacOS X/FreeBSD/Solaris)

Single user installation

Select a folder where you want to install ConTeXt. We recommend that you can use your $HOME/context directory. Create this folder. Then download first-setup.sh and place it in $HOME/context directory. Open a terminal, then:

 cd context

Then make first-setup.sh executable and run it to download the whole distribution and make formats:

 chmod +x first-setup.sh
 sh ./first-setup.sh

This takes a long time, so go have a coffee.

By default, the suite installs ConTeXt beta. If you want the stable version of ConTeXt, you can use

sh ./first-setup.sh --context=current

By default, the suite does not install modules and other third party content. If you want the modules (and have the bandwidth), you can use

sh ./first-setup.sh --modules=all

System-wide installation

A system wide installation is only recommeded for users who are comfortable with the command line. Only the location of installing ConTeXt is different for a system wide installation.

  • on Linux you can use /opt/context
  • on MacOS X you can use /Applications/ConTeXt

Note that, at present, while using MkIV, you need to have write permissions[1] in the installation directory.[2] So, if you are installing the suite in /opt/context or /Applications/ConTeXt, run

 chown whoami -R /opt/context 

or

 chown whoami -R /Applications/ConTeXt

(whoami outputs your user name, you can type that directly, of course.)

In order to install the suite, open a terminal, go to the installation directory and download first-setup.sh:

 $ rsync -av rsync://contextgarden.net/minimals/setup/first-setup.sh .

Then run that script to download the whole distribution and make formats:

 sh ./first-setup.sh

This takes a long time, so go have a coffee.

By default, the suite installs ConTeXt beta. If you want the stable version of ConTeXt, you can use

sh ./first-setup.sh --context=current

By default, the suite does not install modules and other third party content. If you want the modules (and have the bandwidth), you can use

sh ./first-setup.sh --modules=all

Cache

Normaly you do not want to allow access in e.g. /opt. but you like to allow it in /var/cache/*. So create the needed cache directory as a superuser via

mkdir /var/cache/context
mkdir /var/cache/context/texmf-cache
chmod 777 /var/cache/context/texmf-cache

Change in the file ./tex/texmf/web2c/texmfcnf.lua the value of TEXMFCACHE to the directory you want (in this example /var/cache/context/texmf-cache).

Font-Dir

Add the OSOFONTDIR into ./tex/setuptex. Go to under the line:

# TODO: we could set OSFONTDIR on Mac for example

and add there:

export OSFONTDIR="/usr/local/share/fonts;$HOME/.fonts"

For more information: Fonts in LuaTeX

Arch Linux

There’s a PKGBUILD in the AUR, provided by Aditya [1]. Install it using your favorite AUR frontend, e.g.

yaourt -S context-minimals-git

This will get you a fresh, up-to-date Context tree in /opt/context-minimals.

The funtoo way

If you are using funtoo there are ebuilds that will make an installation as easy as installing any other package from portage. Take a look at the ConTeXt Standalone Funtoo Howto. This might also work for gentoo, but is untested right now.

Proxy settings

The installation script uses rsync to fetch the required files. So, if you are behind a proxy server, you need to tell the details to rsync. The easiest way to set this is to set RSYNC_PROXY variable in the terminal or your startup script (.bashrc or the corresponding file for your shell). Replace username, password, proxyhost and proxyport with the correct information

 export RSYNC_PROXY=username:password@proxyhost:proxyport

Sometimes, when behind a firewall, port 873 may be closed for outgoing TCP connections. If port 22 is open for ssh connections, a trick that can be used is to connect to a computer located somewhere outside of the firewall and to tunnel port 873 (using the program nc).

 export RSYNC_CONNECT_PROG='ssh tunnelhost nc %H 873'

where tunnelhost is the machine outside of the firewall on which you have ssh access. Of course, this machine must have nc and port 873 open for outgoing TCP connections.

Usage

ConTeXt suite works in a non-interfering manner because it does not put anything in your $PATH and does not set any system variables. This in turn means that in order to use it, you need to do some initialization. An intialization script called setuptex is provided in installation-dir/tex/.

If you run context from a terminal, source setuptex before running ConTeXt. This depends on the shell that you are using.

  • bash users can use
  source /installation-dir/tex/setuptex
  • zsh users can use
  . /installation-dir/tex/setuptex
  • (t)csh users can use
  source /installation-dir/tex/setuptex.csh

If you do not know which shell you are using, open a terminal and type

 echo $SHELL

Exclusive usage

The above method means that you always have to type source /installation-dir/tex/setuptex in a terminal before you can use typeset. If you always use ConTeXt suite and never use LaTeX or plain TeX provided by another TeX distribution, you can add the above intialization line to the startup script of your shell. For bash, this means $HOME/.bashrc; for zsh, this means $HOME/.zshrc; for (t)csh, this means $HOME/.cshrc or $HOME/.tcshrc. Then, setuptex will always be sourced in your terminal.

Integrating with an editor

If you run ConTeXt from an editor, you need to source setuptex in a terminal and then open your editor from the same terminal. I.e. if you run your editor from the shell.

Depending on how your editor intializes, you may still need to source it in order to run ConTeXt directly from your editor, In theory, it is sufficient to add /installation-dir/tex/texmf-<platform>/bin to your PATH in order to use the suite. You can try to add this to the paths that your editor searches.

For information about configuring Smultron and TeXShop (which are popular TeX editors on Mac) see ConTeXt Standalone/Mac Installation. If you don't mind investing a bit of money (abt eur 50), TextMate with (the not yet officially released) ConTeXt Bundle for TextMate is an easy-to-install option.

Updating

For updating the ConTeXt suite, first update first-setup.sh, then run it. You could also create an alias or a little script “ctx-update” with the following example contents:

cd /opt/context
rsync -ptv rsync://contextgarden.net/minimals/setup/first-setup.sh .
./first-setup.sh --modules=all

Uninstalling

ConTeXt suite does not touch anything outside its installation folder. So to uninstall it, you can simply remove the installation folder.

Remaking formats

Normally, the update script should create the formats for you. If for some reason you need to recreate the formats, you can do the following:

  • For making MKII format.
mktexlsr
texexec --make --all 
  • For making XeTeX format
mktexlsr
texexec --make --xtx --all 
  • For making MKIV format
mtxrun --selfupdate
mtxrun --generate
luatools --generate
context --make

Installation and use on Windows

If you want to use ConTeXt suite alongside MikTeX/TeXLive (needed if you also run LaTeX), follow the command-line installation method. Otherwise, you can follow either the command line or GUI installation method.

Installation

Command line method

Download context-setup-mswin.zip and unzip to a directory where you want to install ConTeXt. It is recommended that you choose a directory that does not have a space in its full path. Then open cmd.exe, go to the installation directory and run

 first-setup.bat

This takes a long time, so go have a coffee.

By default, the suite installs ConTeXt beta. If you want the stable version of ConTeXt, you can use

 first-setup.bat --context=current

By default, the suite does not install modules and other third party content. If you want the modules (and have the bandwidth), you can use

first-setup.bat --modules=all

GUI Installer

There is also a GUI installer made by Vyatcheslav Yatskovsky. Download and run the installer and it will ask you where to install the minimals, which distribution to use (stable or beta) and whether or not you want to make formats.


NOTE: The GUI installer asks if you want to set environmental variables globally. Click this only if you do not use MikTeX or TeXLive and do not plan to use LaTeX

You should also see the slides giving details about the GUI installer.

Proxy settings

The installation script uses rsync to fetch the required files. So, if you are behind a proxy server, you need to tell the details to rsync. The easiest way to set this is to set RSYNC_PROXY variable in the terminal as (replace username, password, proxyhost and proxyport with the correct information)

  set RSYNC_PROXY=username:password@proxyhost:proxyport

or set the variable permanently as a Windows environment variable.

Sometimes, when behind a firewall, port 873 may be closed for outgoing TCP connections. If port 22 is open for ssh connections, a trick that can be used is to connect to a computer located somewhere outside of the firewall and to tunnel port 873 (using the program nc).

 export RSYNC_CONNECT_PROG='ssh tunnelhost nc %H 873'

where tunnelhost is the machine outside of the firewall on which you have ssh access. Of course, this machine must have nc and port 873 open for outgoing TCP connections.

Usage

If you used the GUI installer and said yes to setting the evironmental variables globally, then you can run ConTeXt from anywhere. Otherwise, before running ConTeXt, you need to run setuptex.bat which is provided in installation-dir\tex\. This can be done by typing

 installation-dir\tex\setuptex.bat

on cmd.exe before you run ConTeXt. To avoid always having to type this, you can create a shortcut to cmd.exe and edit the command line to read (assuming you installed the suite in C:\Programs; otherwise replace C:\Programs\ with your installation directory)

 C:\WINDOWS\System32\cmd.exe /k C:\Programs\context\tex\setuptex.bat

This starts up a new command shell with the environment pre-loaded.

Use ConTeXt with Cygwin

After installing the ConTeXt suite, you can run it under Cygwin. With Cygwin, you may use gmake and other Unix tools for your automated workflow.

  1. Run setuptex.bat in DOS command prompt
  2. In the same DOS prompt, enter Cygwin by running cygwin.bat (in your Cygwin installation directory)
  3. Under Cygwin prompt, run context.cmd test.tex . Note that the .cmd extension is needed under Cygwin.

Updating

If you used the command line method, just run first-setup.bat again to update the suite. If you have third party modules installed, you should use

 first-setup.bat --keep

to upgrade. See Installing third party modules for details.

If you used the GUI installer, just run the installer again.

Uninstallation

If you used the command-line installer, you can just delete the installation directory to uninstall the suite.

If you used the GUI installer, you can use standard windows tools for uninstallation.


Troubleshooting

  • rsync sometimes has problems with paths with uppercase letters (like c:\Temp or C:\Documents and Settings). Installing into all-lowercase paths without spaces sometimes helps.
  • Directory-name length may also have an effect, due to Windows's 8.3 filename conventions. An indicator is if running "texexec --lua" on a file produces missing-file warnings containing Windows-created 8-character directory names, such as "C:\CONTEX~1\tex", where your ConTeXt directory is really "C:\context_minimals\tex". Be conservative and choose a short name like "C:\ctm\tex". Also, this may even work when an 8-character-or-less directory name like "C:\ctexmin\tex" doesn't.
  • If you're behind firewall and rsync times out, you need to open port 873 for outgoing TCP connections.

Installing third party modules

The ConTeXt suite only comes with Taco's t-bib module. If you want to install a new module, say Wolfgang's t-letter module, you can use

 first-setup.sh --modules="t-letter"

If you want to install more than one extra module, you can separate them by commas. So, to install the t-letter and t-mathsets module, do

 sh ./first-setup.sh --modules="t-letter,t-mathsets"

If you want to install all extra modules at once, do

 sh ./first-setup.sh --modules=all

Reverting to an older installation

If, for some reason, you want to revert to an older installation, you can do that by

 sh ./first-setup.sh --context=date

where date is the date of one of the stable releases of ConTeXt. The complete list of old releases that are available is here.


Moving the installation tree around (linux)

According to this post, http://archive.contextgarden.net/message/20101129.144331.d721372f.en.html it's safe to move the installation tree across directory or machines (say you don't have broadband access). You just have to clean and regenerate the cache (./tex/texmf-cache/luatex-cache) with mtxrun --generate

Notes

  1. Actually, you only need write permission for $TEXMFCACHE.
  2. This effectively means that only one user will be able to generate the formats