RFC: Loading packages at startup

Friedrich.Leisch@ci.tuwien.ac.at Friedrich.Leisch@ci.tuwien.ac.at
Tue, 22 Oct 2002 10:57:41 +0200


Sounds great to me! I use something much simpler to emulate exactly
that feature using .First and .Last

>>>>> On Mon, 21 Oct 2002 21:24:45 +0100 (GMT Daylight Time),
>>>>> Prof Brian D Ripley (PBDR) wrote:

  > I've been kicking the following idea around for a while, and am now
  > proposing to put some version into 1.7.0.  I'd be interested in
  > comments on the desirability and the design, before I start writing
  > any code.

  > S4 introduced a file .S.chapters which can contain a list of S
  > chapters (equivalent to R packages) to be loaded on start-up.  This
  > was the germ of this proposal.

  > Proposal:

  > Extend the initialization as described in Startup.Rd by having
  > optionally files named, say, R_HOME/etc/Rpackages.site and .Rpackages,
  > the latter in the starting directory or failing that the user's home
  > directory. Each would contain a list of packages, one per line, to be
  > loaded when R is started, in the order in the files.

  > Some details:


  > 3) It would be useful to allow the library tree to be specified, as a
  >    second field on the line.

Or simply use paths? e.g.,


could be read as

require(bar, lib="/path/to")

  > 4) One problem with saving an R session and then restoring it is that
  >    the packages in use are not reloaded.  Quitting an R session and
  >    saving could write .Rpackages in the current directory (with the
  >    library recorded if it were not the default).  Then restarting a
  >    session in that directory would restore the loaded packages
  >    automatically.

Yes, I do that for quite some time now (though my hacks were never
foolproof enough for public consumption).

  > 5) We might want to allow a .Rpackages file to override Rpackages.site
  >    (or we might not).

I think merging is better than overriding, especially in the light of

  >    One idea is to allow a minus sign in front of a
  >    package name, and to merge the Rpackages.site and .Rpackages files
  >    before loading any packages.  If we did this we probably need to be
  >    able to save the list of packages to be loaded (and can't easily save
  >    those not to be loaded), so perhaps -- as the first list of .Rpackages
  >    should empty the list.

Sounds good, so lines starting with a minus sign are persistent and
the others get modified upon saving?

  > 6) One could argue for R_HOME/etc/Rpackages as the `system' file as
  >    well, and this might be useful if we break base up into smaller
  >    components.

  > 7) I would allow comment lines in the files, starting with #.


  > 8) The file names or names could be set by environment variables.  It's
  >    strange that we allow the site file names for Rprofile and Renviron and
  >    the user file name for command histories to be set in that way.

Hmm, do we really need to be able to modify those? Makes writing docs
and debugging harder ...

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