[Rd] SUGGESTION: Force install.packages() to use ASCII encoding when parse():ing code?

Jan Kim jttkim at googlemail.com
Fri Dec 12 13:34:05 CET 2014

On Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 06:01:22AM -0500, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
> On 12/12/2014, 4:12 AM, Bj??rn-Helge Mevik wrote:
> > Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan at gmail.com> writes:
> > 
> >> users of other languages may want to have messages and variable names
> >> in their native language, and ASCII might not be enough for that.
> > 
> > Allowing for messages in non-ASCII encodings would probably be a good
> > idea, but I think allowing non-ASCII variable names is dangerous.
> Dangerous in what way?
> I agree that CRAN probably shouldn't accept packages like that, at least
> for exported symbols:  packages there should run anywhere.  But I
> suspect that the majority of R packages are for private use, and will
> never be sent to CRAN.  Do you know any reason that non-ASCII names
> would be dangerous for those?
> Duncan Murdoch
> ______________________________________________
> R-devel at r-project.org mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel

I'm would perhaps not go as far as calling them dangerous, but non-ASCII
characters in code are a mixed blessing which personally I'd opt to not
have, on balance. Being German I can understand that people may want
umlauted characters in their variable names, but where this catches on,
it's just a matter of time that people get characters into their code that
are different but indistinguishable in the font they use (I've seen this
with \H{o} rather than a \"{o}), and mega-personmonths are wasted puzzling
over tracking down these problems.

While many packages are used in-house at least initially, making a
package is a step towards releasing it, so I'd anticipate that having
an option to support weeding out any potentially troublesome identifiers
has the potential to do some good.

Best regards, Jan
 +- Jan T. Kim -------------------------------------------------------+
 |             email: jttkim at gmail.com                                |
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