[Rd] Wishlist: install.packages to look for the newest version (PR#13852)

Thomas Lumley tlumley at u.washington.edu
Fri Jul 24 23:43:38 CEST 2009


I think Ulrike is making a different suggestion, that install.packages() should fetch the binary that has been built for the current version of R.

This would be a bad idea for a different reason -- in general it is not possible to be sure that the package works with an older version of R. The R version dependency isn't enough for two reasons. The first is that the author may well not know that the package fails with an older version of R and so would not have listed a dependency. The second is that the binary versions may be incompatible even if the source versions are compatible.

You can always download a binary package from CRAN in a browser and use the option to install from a local zip file. Or, as Uwe suggests, get a new version of R.

What I think might be useful if it's not too difficult is a warning from install.packages() that a newer version of the package you were installing is available for the current version of R.


On Fri, 24 Jul 2009 ligges at statistik.tu-dortmund.de wrote:

> Ulrike,
> if you install from source, you always get the most recent version of
> the package given it does not depend on a newer version of R.
> If you want a binary package, you also get the newest version - that was
> newest at the time we stopped building binaries for that version of R.
> We (or better I if we only talk about Windows, but similar for all other
> platforms) cannot build for each R version any more. In that case we'd
> have to build even 11 binary versions for Windows just for the R-2.x.y
> series now. Binary repositories are fixed at some time (for Windows once
> the first patchlevel release of the next R version is out, e.g. at the
> time of the R-2.9.1 release the binary builds for R-2.8.x had been stopped).
> So please upgrade your version of R or compile yourself from sources for
> the R version you need the particular package for.
> Best wishes,
> Uwe Ligges
> groemping at bht-berlin.de wrote:
>> Full_Name: Ulrike Groemping
>> Version: 2.9.0 (and older)
>> OS: Windows
>> Submission from: (NULL) (
>> When using an older version of R, packages are not found although they are
>> available for newer versions of R and do work when installed with the old
>> version. For example, installing DoE.base on R 2.8.1 installs version 0.2, while
>> CRAN is at version 0.4-1 currently. It would be nice if the install process
>> would per default look for the newest version of the package and install this
>> one if its R-version request allows this. (I recently found a help list entry by
>> Uwe Ligges that explains how to manually install from a repository for a newer
>> CRAN version, but I did not bookmark it and cannot find it any more. The
>> documentation does not enlighten me there.)
>> Regards, Ulrike
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Thomas Lumley			Assoc. Professor, Biostatistics
tlumley at u.washington.edu	University of Washington, Seattle

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