[Rd] What is "R NEWS format"?

Sietse Brouwer sbbrouwer at gmail.com
Sun Nov 14 21:47:20 CET 2010

Dear list,

I've found a few references 'R NEWS format' (see below), but nowhere a
description of what this format *is*. Looking at examples on CRAN
didn't help, either: as far as I saw conventions were all over the

5 example NEWS files (packages admittedly chosen for spread rather
than similarity)
Base: http://cran.r-project.org/src/base/NEWS
Vegan: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/vegan/NEWS
lme4: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/lme4/NEWS
plyr: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/plyr/NEWS
lattice: http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/lattice/NEWS

The main reference I could find was to 'GNU news files', but that
one's more about form than contents, too.

So, the NEWS file that goes in the top of the package tree. Is there a
standard format that should be followed; or should there be one? All
answers appreciated.

Kind regards,

Sietse Brouwer

== Three references to (R's) NEWS files ==

>From "Writing R Extensions":
"For the conventions for files NEWS and ChangeLog in the GNU project
see http://www.gnu.org/prep/standards/standards.html#Documentation."

Here's from the R Forge:
"If a project contains a NEWS file in its repository root then it is
accessible (in beautified form) as "News" menu item. It is assumed to
be in a form similar to R's NEWS file, but any format will do."

A checkNEWS function in the 'tools' package (which I couldn't find on CRAN):
"Read R's ‘NEWS’ file or a similarly formatted one."

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