[Rd] Re: Packages and Libraries (was: Re: lme4 "package" etc ..)

Kurt Hornik Kurt.Hornik at wu-wien.ac.at
Tue Feb 8 18:37:18 CET 2005

>>>>> A J Rossini writes:

> But I don't see a problem with "package("package")", though I'm sure
> I'm missing something.

package() [sic] might be the creator for package objects, provided we
can decide on what they are (and what kind of packages [source,
installed, ...] they are used for).

usePackage() or use_package() otoh would indicate to "use" a package
(i.e., load and attach it).  The tricky part is deciding about the
interface (e.g., finally disallowing non-standard evaluation as it is a
programmer's nightmare) and what it should return.  And that is work in
progress ...

Even if we don't like the current semantics, the *name* of library() in
itself should not be a problem.  After all, calling summary() does not
imply that your primary argument is a summary, so why should calling
library() imply that its primary argument is a "library"?

> It really would end this constant confusion and save various folks
> approx 15 minutes/week in knee-jerk responses, eh?

Afaic, one of the issues is that it seems common practice to refer to
collections of code as "libraries" or "packages", and we're trying to
use these rather general-purpose terms in a very precise meaning, and
obviously not very successful, in particular because the use of
"library" is highly non-standard.  One idea might be to replace the
"library" by something else like ... "a place where R knows where to
find packages" ... hmm, now that's too long, so ...


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