[Rd] Re: [R-SIG-Mac] R version on gifi
Simon.Urbanek at math.uni-augsburg.de
Tue Jun 17 15:33:16 MEST 2003
On Monday, June 16, 2003, at 08:45 PM, Don MacQueen wrote:
> Specifically for X11, does it assume the user has separately installed
> Apple's X11 and QuartzWM, and if so, is it in any way dependent on
> anything unique to Apple's X11? That is, will it work if the user is
> using XFree86/XDarwin and some (any) other window manager?
The really native version doesn't really need to depend on X11 anymore
since the use of X11 on Mac OS X was meant for applications that are
not properly ported to OS X yet. Once Quartz and RAqua are complete
there is no need for X11.
>> This means that all references to /sw in configure.ac can go.
> Do you mean that at some point in the future you intend that the
> configure.ac in the source distribution will remove all references to
> /sw? I'm not sure this is a good idea; I think I would prefer to have
> the option of building from sources using fink for those other things
> (readline, jpeg, png, tetex, etc) if I want to. Otherwise I have to
> learn how to get them from several other sites, increasing my system
> maintenance load and making it harder to keep them up to date.
> Can you give specific and substantive reasons why fink should be
Jan already listed the main technical reasons why it is indeed a very
good idea. Apart from that, fink is not an official package and was
only meant as a temporary solution for people who need a (no matter how
ugly) way to run existing unix programs on OS X. Hardly any real OS X
user has installed fink (especially since Jaguar is out). Fink was
great during the first couple of months when native OS X ports were
hardly existent, but is now obsolete for mainstream OS X use.
> I get the impression that R for OS X is being moved away from being
> another unix R variant (in the sense that Solaris, various Linuxes,
> SGI, etc. are unix variants), and moved toward being a specialized
> platform-specific version. Assuming my impression is more or less
> correct, I'd like to understand the pros and cons of this move.
It is not a "move" of R. Mac OS X is simply not "another unix variant".
Darwin is indeed, but Mac OS X is not. You can compile X11 for Darwin
and use it exactly the way you can use Linux on a PPC hardware. But Mac
OS X has many very nice (often proprietary) layers that are important
to the Mac users, but that part of OS X is not "unix". The goal here is
to release R which fits in the philosophy of the system - ease of use,
good integration with the existing frameworks, appealing design. These
are not properties of unix, but of OS X. So what we need is in fact
Mac-OS-X-like look and feel. The fact that OS X is unix-based helps
with respect to the R engine itself - we need no special ports of
packages anymore, but it has a totally different GUI.
Fortunately R makes a distinction between GUI and the engine, therefore
we can create a real OS X GUI without affecting other platforms -
including Darwin ;). "Unix" users are used to compile their own
software, therefore moving fink support to the category 'optional' is
only logical, since you can still easily enable it with configure
parameters and/or environment settings. Real Mac OS X users are used to
nice, binary distributions, therefore we cannot assume fink and we need
Quartz device and RAqua. It will be a big help for most OS X users.
(BTW: no Mac users I know (non-developers) have installed X11.)
Therefore the recent changes are IMHO really important from Mac OS X
user's view - so far most binaries were rather experimental and assumed
some unix knowledge (note: there was is no official OS X binary!). It
was ok to use fink for those as a temporary solution, but the official
binary cannot rely on unsupported non-Apple packages. The only thing
external part we really need is libdl and I'm sure we can supply it
simply with R - such as pcre etc., all other libraries are optional.
Department of computer oriented statistics and data analysis
University of Augsburg
Simon.Urbanek at Math.Uni-Augsburg.de
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