[Rd] compiling R under cygwin

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Tue Aug 21 17:51:57 CEST 2007

On 8/21/2007 10:57 AM, M. Edward (Ed) Borasky wrote:
> Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
>> Yes,
>>> What is the advantage of building this?
>> was my question too.  If you want a Unix-like version of R on PC hardware 
>> running Windows why not run a Unix-like OS under a virtual machine?
>> Quite a lot of the details are wrong: using FLIBS, BLAS_LIBS and LIBS as 
>> intended will solve most of the problems.  I would use --disable-nls 
>> --disable-mbcs as you don't need them (and in particular you don't benefit 
>> from MBCS support on Windows unless you are in a CJK locale).
>> Note that 2.5.1 is released and there is unlikely to be a 2.5.2, so any 
>> changes would be made only to R-devel.  It there is a convincing case to 
>> tailor a build for Cygwin there we can probably do so rather easily, but 
>> the need for ongoing support would be a worry.
>> (If platforms are not used and in particular not tested in the alpha/beta 
>> testing phases then the ability to build on them crumbles away.  We seems 
>> to be down to regular testers on Linux, Windows, MacOS X, Solaris and 
>> FreeBSD, with some help on AIX after a patch with none.)
> I too have a workplace where Windows is the "official" IT-supported OS,
> and in some cases open-source tools do not have a native Windows port,
> thus needing Cygwin, or as you suggest, an embedded VMware Linux
> workstation. I run Cygwin and a Gentoo Linux VMware guest on my Windows
> machine. Having said that:
> 1. I consider the Windows version of R to have a *superior* user
> interface to the Linux version. The only place where it falls down in my
> opinion is the semi-difficult nature of building contributed packages
> that require C or C++ or Fortran compilation.

And note that this is getting easier:  we're down to a single "Rtools" 
download and install.
> 2. I know of few other open source communities that prefer a Cygwin
> version to a native Windows version if the native version exists. Most
> of them go further -- for example, the Ruby Windows people flat-out
> deprecate the Cygwin Ruby port, even though it is slightly faster than
> the native one and even though some C-language extensions won't build
> except on the Cygwin version!
> In short, Cygwin is a crutch IMHO, and an embedded Linux VMware guest
> isn't much better. I'm hoping to phase Cygwin out by the end of the
> year. I think if you need Linux, you should run Linux. That's going to
> require some patience and extreme people skills when you deal with your
> IT department, but it can be done. But on Windows boxes, you're much
> better off using only tools built for and tested on native Windows.

I still use Cygwin, because I like the bash shell.  But I don't build 
anything for Cygwin, I build native executables.  (There are other 
versions of bash available on Windows, but I prefer the devil I know.)

Duncan Murdoch

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