Using zip format for help pages, examples, etc.

Prof Brian Ripley Prof Brian Ripley <>
Fri, 26 Mar 1999 12:12:45 +0000 (GMT)

> Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 11:44:44 +0000 (GMT)
> From: Nicholas Lee <>
> Why not just the approach that some linux distributions use, (debian at
> least) of gziping the man pages individually.
> Makes it easier and quicker to patch pages and doesn't require temporary
> swap space for uncompressing a whole archive. 

(1) The whole point is to avoid having many tiny files. On Windows
the current help files take up ca 37Mb on my VFAT file system, and about
1Mb in a zip archive. As Doug Bates said at the beginning of this thread:

> At the Vienna meeting we discussed the problems encountered on some
> operating systems when storing many small files in a directory.  In
> particular the directories $RHOME/library/base/help/,
> $RHOME/library/base/R-ex/, and $RHOME/library/base/data/ can take up
> an enormous amount of storage on the Macintosh or on Windows systems
> because the minimum amount of storage per distinct file is quite
> large.

(2) You can avoid uncompressing a whole archive with zip (not gzip).

(3) You should not be thinking about patching pages in an R
distribution:  whole R distributions are changed often enough.  It is
the installed pages (help, R-ex, latex) not the source pages (Rd) that
we are considering putting into a zip archive.

Brian D. Ripley,        
Professor of Applied Statistics,
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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