[Rd] R CMD install: problem quoting spaces when calling gzip?

jochen laubrock jochen.laubrock at gmail.com
Fri Mar 26 00:07:49 CET 2010

There appears to be a quoting problem in the way R CMD install handles file names containing spaces, more specifically, in the way the argument is passed through to gzip.

The install.packages command

(from R)
install.packages("~/Projects/R library/bar/eyetrackR_0.13.tar.gz", repos = NULL, type = "source")

expands to

system("R_LIBS='/Users/foo/Library/R/2.10/library' "/Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Resources/bin/R CMD INSTALL -l '/Users/foo/Library/R/2.10/library'   '/Users/foo/Projects/R\ library/bar/eyetrackR_0.13.tar.gz'")

and gives the same error messages as the following commands from Terminal.app on Mac OS X

(from bash)
R CMD install /Users/foo/Projects/R\ library/bar/eyetrackR_0.13.tar.gz
R CMD install "~/Projects/R library/bar/eyetrackR_0.13.tar.gz"
R CMD install '~/Projects/R library/bar/eyetrackR_0.13.tar.gz'

, namely (the error messages): 

gzip: /Users/foo/Projects/R.gz: No such file or directory
gzip: library/bar/eyetrackR_0.13.tar.gz: No such file or directory

The following commands do work 

(from R)
setwd("~/Projects/R library/bar/")
install.packages("eyetrackR_0.13.tar.gz", repos = NULL, type = "source")

(from bash)
cd ~/Projects/R\ library/bar/
R CMD install eyetrackR_0.13.tar.gz

Interestingly, if the file is unpacked on the command line (tar xzvf), then both R CMD install and install.packages work fine using the quoted path name syntax, i.e.,

R CMD install /Users/foo/Projects/R\ library/bar/eyetrackR
install.packages("~/Projects/R library/bar/eyetrackR", repos = NULL, type = "source")

Is this a known problem? I searched the archives, but did not find a decisive answer (only some rather old posts suggesting not to use path names containing spaces--unfortunately this is not an option in the managed Windows environment I need to work in next week).

Sorry for the long post and thanks for your time,

Jochen Laubrock, Dept. of Psychology, University of Potsdam,
Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
phone: +49-331-977-2346, fax: +49-331-977-2793

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