[Rd] Bug in versioned install (was: (fwd) R-1.7.0 : Problem withDownloading "dse") (PR#2827)

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Fri Apr 25 20:27:23 MEST 2003

On Fri, 25 Apr 2003, Duncan Murdoch wrote:

> On Fri, 25 Apr 2003 18:21:17 +0200, you wrote in message
> <001701c30b46$b310e130$e502eb82 at alpha.wehi.edu.au>:
> >A patch for install.packages() can be loaded as
> >
> > 
> >source("http://www.maths.lth.se/help/R/patches/rw1070/install.packages.R
> >")
> >
> >All fixes are done to the local function unpackPkg() of
> >install.packages(). The fix is based on the assumption that a bundle (in
> >zip format) contains directories for packages  , which in turn contains
> >the DESCRIPTION files needed. Is this assumption correct?! I also made
> >the temporary directory to be deleted using on.exit() to make the error
> >recovering a little bit nicer.
> That won't quite work.  There are two problems.
>  - With namespaces any references from within base functions to
> install.packages will see the old function.  There are a few other
> functions that call install.packages, so they would need to be fixed,
> and the functions that call them, etc...  It's best to fix the
> original definition of install.packages by fixing the base package.
>  - A change was needed to the code that builds packages as well as to
> install.packages.  Binary bundles built with the new code will include
> a DESCRIPTION file for the bundle (as well as separate files for each
> package within it).  Without that file, the new install.packages won't
> work.

Then the new code is wrong.  A binary bundle is just a zip file containing 
the directories of two or more installed packages.  There is nowhere
useful for the DESCRIPTION file for the bundle to go, and users do expect 
to be able to just unzip the zip file into a library tree.  (They may have 
no choice: our main Windows library tree is only writeable on the Unix 

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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