[Rd] if(!CRAN()){...} / Repository policies

U30A J C Nash nashjc at uottawa.ca
Fri Nov 2 13:34:17 CET 2012

If CRAN were a passive repository, the discussion about its policies 
would not be relevant to this list e.g., SourceForge. However, the 
development of R and its packages are very intimately connected to the 
CRAN repository policy.

I doubt any of the players in building our current R ecosystem ever 
imagined it would become this big. The serious implications of 
repository and related policies for future development and health of 
this ecosystem and its community members deserve transparent debate. As 
with any movement based on volunteer contribution, R will adapt or be 

As far as I'm aware -- and welcome correction -- we don't have a list to 
discuss policies by CRAN or other actors. This list seems appropriate 
because it generally involves those doing development for R. Whether 
R-core should or should not listen to such deliberations is also open to 
debate. My own view -- which could change depending on how things evolve 
-- is that a small central committee is fine as long as they are able to 
both support and be supported by the wider development community that 
provides the packages giving R its strength. Unfortunately, I sense that 
the time demands of what is now a major software system are such that 
communications (and tempers) are getting frayed. I urge attention to 
this, and also to ideas of organizational behaviour and evolution, so we 
keep R healthy. Those who know me will realize I'm willing to put in 
time to act as the glue in building communications.

I'm also a bit surprised nobody has mentioned the mirrors -- if the 
mirror repositories choose, say, the Alternative R Archive Network, 
which might also include sweater patterns, the effectiveness of the CRAN 
system would be crippled.

John Nash

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