[Rd] RPM support for package installation?

Rhiannon L Weaver rlweaver at stat.cmu.edu
Tue Feb 6 18:10:52 CET 2007


Tech question, I hope this has not been addressed before.  I searched help 
archives and looked for online help but came up empty-handed.

My question is: (short version) Is there a RPM-supported version of 
update.packages() for use with updating package libraries on managed 
multi-user Linux networks?


I put in a request for updating the version of R on one of the hosts on my 
work Unix network, which is managed by our IT department.  Current version 
is 2.1.0; I asked them to update to 2.4.1. The core update installed and I 
was able to test it, but the update had trouble loading the package 
"Matrix" for use with "lme4".  I don't recall the specific error (will 
check it out when the new version gets re-installed again and I can 
document it).  Other packages (lme, wavethresh, MASS) seemed to load 
without problems.

I think the Matrix problem can be solved by running update.packages() but 
when I requested the admin to update packages for the new version, they 
said that they need to do this via an RPM.  Specifically (and I'm not a 
network guru so my advice may not be entirely accurate):

me: I think if you have admin access you should be able to update the R 
packages by using the command update.packages() from within a running, 
updated version of R, and it will automatically check packages for new 
versions and update them.

admin: But this method moves us to an unsustainable host with locally 
installed packages.  The add-on packages need to be installed via an RPM.

As I understand it, RPM is like a kind of makefile for Linux machines. 
The help mentions need of -devel or -dev files for RPM installations and 
updates of the core software; is there a similar avenue I can point my 
admin to for package updates?  I'm not afraid of a little Linux, but I 
fear I am a bit out of my element on this one.

Currently the workaround is for them to install the new version and for me 
to download and maintain packages locally.

Thanks very much for your time,

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