From the main Project Page:
LaTeX is a high-quality typesetting system; it includes features designed for the production of technical and scientific documentation. LaTeX is the de facto standard for the communication and publication of scientific documents.
LaTeX on Windows
In Windows, it is highly recommended to use a full-featured suite such as TeX Live or MiKTeX. Both of these suites include everything required for end-to-end LaTeX compilation and filetype conversation. Please contact the HelpDesk for assistance with installing or using these on a UMIACS-supported Windows machine.
LaTeX on Linux/UNIX
MacTeX is available for macOS.
Most of our supported Linux systems come with the LaTeX command-line utilities, as well as TeX Live, installed. Supported RHEL7 workstations come with Tex Live 2013, but you can load a newer version of TeX Live as a GNU module.
Checking installed packages
TeX Live comes with tons of packages preinstalled. To get a list of installed packages, you must first load the TeX Live GNU module. You can then use the following command:
$ tlmgr list --only-installed
If you know which package you are looking for, you can pipe the output into grep to search for specific packages.
Compiling to PDF
The following is an example of compiling example.tex to a PDF.
Compile the file into a DVI file by using the latex command.
$ latex example.tex This is pdfTeX, Version 3.1415926-2.3-1.40.13 (TeX Live 2013) [...]  (./example.aux) ) Output written on example.dvi (1 page, 1692 bytes). Transcript written on example.log.
Use dvipdfmx to convert example.dvi into a PDF (dvipdf or dvipdfm usually would work as well).
$ dvipdfmx example.dvi example.dvi -> example.pdf  12211 bytes written
If your output PDF does not look quite right, you may need to use different conversion tools. Your workflow may necessarily vary depending on the contents of your document and how they are formatted and rendered.