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Installing specific versions of biblatex and texlive for arxiv
2017-12-21 04:00:00 -0800
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My solution
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(An update on the previous post)

So, I had a problem - my TeX distribution is new and updated, but I need to submit a paper to the arXiv, and arXiv has a different version of TeX distribution (currently 2016). The main problem is biblatex, which creates an incompatible version of the bibliography .bbl file. For this, I need an appropriate version of the biblatex package.

My solution which gives the needed version 2.8 of the .bbl file:

  • Download the TeXLive basic 2016 distribution, install it (I'm using MacTeX), from
  • update the tlmgr utility by sudo tlmgr update --self
  • Install the needed packages including biblatex using sudo tlmgr install <package>
  • Then remove biblatex with sudo tlmgr remove biblatex
  • Use local texmf tree, and install to it the appropriate version of biblatex (currently arXiv needs 3.5), by downloading the corresponding release of biblatex from the biblatex github repo, and installing it.

Note that cloning the full biblatex github repo and running their install script (turns out I needed version 3.5 of biblatex) for some reason does not give the needed version 2.8 of the .bbl file.