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PKGBUILD file for installing context-minimals on Arch Linux
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PKGBUILD for context-minimals

The ConTeXt Minimal (now called ConTeXt standalone) is a complete, up-to-date ConTeXt distribution. It's main feature is that, unlike Texlive, it provides an isolated installation of ConTeXt that is easy to update. The Minimals target ConTeXt users and does not include LaTeX specific packages and binaries.

This PKGBUILD provides an easy way to install the Minimals at



Although you can use an AUR helper to install ConTeXt, I would recommend manual installation (as described below). Manual installation offers two advantages: fewer files to download over time, and the ability to revert back to an older version. Most AUR helpers install packages in the $TMP directory, so the previously downloaded files are deleted when you reboot. This is fine for binary packages, but leads to unnecessary re-downloads for ConTeXt.

ConTeXt consits of various macro files and a few binaries. Most of the macros files do not change from release to release. So, ConTeXt provides an rsync based update mechanism that only downloads the files that have changed. This PKGBUILD simply provides a wrapper around the ConTeXt update script.

Now, if the previously downloaded files are deleted at the time of upgrade, the ConTeXt upgrade script will have to download all files again. To avoid that it is better to manually install the package from a permanent directory.

An additional adavantage of this approach is that the packaged version of old installations are not deleted automatically. So, you can revert to an older installation if needed (or delete the older *-pkg.tar.gz files if you want).

To the install the package manually, choose a permant installation directory. I normally use $HOME/Software/context-pkgbuild. Then follow the following steps

  1. cd $HOME/Software/context-pkgbuild

  2. git clone git:// .

  3. makepkg

    This step generates a context-minimals-<date>.pkg.tar.gz file.

  4. sudo pacman -U context-minimals-<date>.pkg.tar.gz

    This step installs the files in /opt/context-minimals


The main feature of the ConTeXt minimal distribution is that it may be installed in parallel to Texlive. As such, the installation does not place any binaries in the default $PATH, rather places them in a sub-directory in /opt/context-minimals. To use ConText minimals, you need to initialize $PATH and some TeX related variables using

source /opt/context-minimals/setuptex

When running MkIV for the first time after installation or update, source setuptex and then run

mtxrun --generate

as a normal user (and not as root).

Report any bugs at the ConTeXt mailing list. or on the Issues page on github.

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