R-alpha: Re: Separation of Program & Doc ...

Martin Maechler Martin Maechler <maechler@stat.math.ethz.ch>
Tue, 4 Nov 1997 15:58:32 +0100

>>>>> "PaulG" == Paul Gilbert <pgilbert@bank-banque-canada.ca> writes:

    >> B. Unix users without Perl, or  Windows / Mac  users:
    >> Besides the base tar/zip file,
    >> they need to get the precompiled online help --- as distributed by
    PaulG> CRAN,
    >> in addition, and then can use (but not enhance conveniently) the
    PaulG> help.

    PaulG> This does not seem unreasonable for Windows/Mac users since, if
    PaulG> I understand the situation correctly, they will also need a
    PaulG> pre-compiled version of some C and Fortran. For Unix users
    PaulG> without Perl5 the situation is not so obvious. (It might be
    PaulG> easier to distribute Perl5 than precompiled versions of all
    PaulG> possible Unix versions.)
You misunderstood: `Precompiled help' means
	 "R documentation" (a la src/library/base/man/*) in
		1) help [nroff]
		2) html
		3) latex -> PostScript
All of these are ASCII formats.
Therefore, there is no difference in `precompiled help' between 
any operating systems (well as much as ASCII formats are the same;
			knowing that DOS has extra carriage returns ....)

    PaulG> Also, for users always connected to the Internet, it is not
    PaulG> really clear that they always need and should be forced to have
    PaulG> the help on their own machine. Effectively it is, or can be
    PaulG> made, available on line. There are advantages to this: the help
    PaulG> can be updated and corrected on the fly.  (Assuming, of course,
    PaulG> that it is not perfect to begin with.)

This maybe practical in a future internet (or in today's net within
North-America?) where bandwidth of small files 
like these is practially zero.   Today, even getting only a thousand bytes can
take many seconds, which is too long.

-- Martin Maechler <maechler@stat.math.ethz.ch>		 <><
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