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On windows, MikTex comes in a DVD. It's several times bigger than a typical Linux distribution. This makes it impossible to carry Latex on a memory stick like I do with many other useful software.

Why is it so big? I thought it was just a language or system, but I've never seen any programming language with gigabytes of libraries.

It's just that there's a bad feeling when your Latex distribution takes up four gigabytes of space when you expect it to be more of, say, 200mb.

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fonts. lots and lots (and lots) of fonts. –  quack quixote Apr 10 '10 at 0:54
(that's just a guess, by the way. i don't actually know. interesting question, tho.) –  quack quixote Apr 10 '10 at 0:55
No need to guess. You're right. Lots and lots o' fonts! –  DaveParillo Apr 10 '10 at 4:50
I would argue that the whole point to latex is to carry around a text file on your memory stick. Edit it with anything and compile it when you get around to it. Do you carry the MS office executables around? –  DaveParillo Apr 10 '10 at 4:53

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The full install of MikTeX includes loads of add-on packages, most of which you will never use, plus loads of fonts for lots of different alphabets. Rather than install it all, it is better to do a minimal install and allow MikTeX to install required packages and fonts on the fly (assuming you have an internet connection when you are using it).

The portable version of MikTeX (http://miktex.org/portable/) is just under 100Mb which isn't too bad.

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Close enough. It's the fonts that make it so big. –  DaveParillo Apr 10 '10 at 4:49
Of course, the 100 MiB figure is only for the packed installer -- even if it wasn't actually compressed, those hordes of little files will take their toll according to your "cluster" size. Additionally, you'll probably find that you end up triggering a lot of packages to auto-install as you try to use them. (METAFONT-generated bitmaps might be expected to contribute a lot to this, but it doesn't seem like they're actually causing much trouble for me -- the entire font directory in my install is only 63.8 MiB.) But my current 400 MiB certainly beats 4 gigs! –  SamB Jan 13 '11 at 19:21

The portable version http://miktex.org/portable/about amounts to 100Mb (compressed) I guess that it's enough for typical use.

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