[Rd] syskern

Paul Gilbert pgilbert@bank-banque-canada.ca
Wed, 07 Mar 2001 17:53:23 -0500

The bug list summary reported an error in syskern which I finally
realized is due to a badly chosen example in the help rather an error in
the code. However, I have taken the opportunity to re-evaluate  what I
have been trying to do with syskern, since some parts may no longer be
important. Since syskern was intended to address certain problems in
package development I would appreciate other opinions on whether these
are still concerns.

The package provides a standardized way to deal with some programming
differences between R and S (e.g. is.R() and is.S() ) and their various
versions (e.g. is.Rpre1.2() and is.Rpre0.60() - yes this is old but you
get the point), and also standardized ways to identify  different
operating systems in order for a program to take any operating system
specific action.  Dealing with the  R and S differences I think is still
fairly important although I can no doubt abandon some versions. However,
R has now evolved to the point where it actually deals with most of the
operating system differences (at least the ones that there is much hope
of dealing with).

My main use of the operating system determination has been with Splus to
distinguish Sun4, Sun5, and MSwindow in order to load the appropriate
compiled code. I don't think this is an issue in R, but I haven't tried
to load a windows dll so I don't really know. The point of the syskern
code is to have a function is.Sun5() that works in R and in S and looks
after the fact that the R code needed to figure this out is different
from the S code needed to figure this out. These examples may be relics
but there is a possibility new variants will appear. So the question
then is: Are there still needs for an R (or S) program to use (rather
than just report) information about the operating system it is running

Paul Gilbert

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