[Rd] Idea for install.packages on (certain) linux distributions

Dirk Eddelbuettel edd at debian.org
Tue Mar 2 14:02:49 CET 2010

On 2 March 2010 at 07:31, Prof. John C Nash wrote:
| Some time ago, I had some email discussion with Dirk E. about putting a front-end on 

Allow me to really quickly correct the record here by stating that it was
John N. who claimed this was a) desirable and b) possible.  I can only agree
on a) here and managed to get the referenced thread off here and over to the
R Wiki.  I would invite people to actually to some groundwork to get all /
most package built for a certain environment which is far from being a small
task. And that is merely a basic requirement before one would have to tackle
package information consistencies between R, the host OS, its version, ... as
well as progagation of such information trough both R and the host OS. Across
different vendor flavours.

To me, this is one of these "it would be really nice" ideas.  Just like
nuclear fusion and those floating cars the Flintstones have.  And I see about
the same ETA for all three of these.


| install.packages to first look at the debian repositories for R and use them before trying 
| to install from source. The code for this would not be very large. As Uwe points out in 
| another posting, the issue then becomes one of repository maintenance. And as more types 
| of installers get included, the code and the chance of package mismatches get more risky.
| However, where we have repositories, it may be useful to have example code to try such an 
| approach. In pseudo-code this could be implemented without damaging install.packages as:
|     [start of my.install.packages]
|     if (exist(local.install) ) {
|             local.install(package)
|     } else {
|             install.packages(package)
|     }
| If anyone gets enthused about this, I'd suggest posting on R-wiki. Note that local.install 
| will have to be pretty aggressive at checking the OS version etc.
| JN
| > Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2010 16:33:08 +0100
| > From: "Carlos J. Gil Bellosta" <cgb at datanalytics.com>
| > To: r-devel at r-project.org
| > Subject: [Rd] Idea for install.packages on (certain) linux
| > 	distributions
| > Message-ID: <4B8BDE34.6070000 at datanalytics.com>
| > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
| > 
| > Hello,
| > 
| > I do not know whether this idea would be considered useful or not. Or 
| > easy to implement.
| > 
| > But it is the case that on certain Linux distributions there are OS 
| > packages with precompiled R packages. However, install.packages (and 
| > related functions) download the source ones.
| > 
| > Would it be possible to add an extra "repository" (or option) on 
| > install.packages that would direct R to use the OS level package manager 
| > (apt-get, yum or the like) so as to install the precompiled packages 
| > from the distribution mirrors instead of the CRAN ones?
| > 
| > Best regards,
| > 
| > Carlos J. Gil Bellosta
| > http://www.datanalytics.com
| >
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