[Rd] update.packages with ask = FALSE will sometimes ask about updates

Rainer M Krug Rainer at krugs.de
Wed Feb 11 13:36:28 CET 2015

Richard Cotton <richierocks at gmail.com> writes:

> Today while running update.packages(ask = FALSE), R stopped to ask me
> a question:
>   There are binary versions available but the source versions are later:
>             binary  source needs_compilation
> KernSmooth 2.23-13 2.23-14              TRUE
> mixture        1.2     1.3              TRUE
> Do you want to install from sources the packages which need compilation?
> y/n:
> update.packages calls install.packages which calls getDependencies,
> which was where there question originated.
> It seems to me that if I've set ask = FALSE, stopping to ask questions
> is a bug.  There are a few possible interpretations of the best
> behaviour though, so I thought I'd put it up for discussion here
> before (maybe) submitting as a bug.
> 1. The existing behaviour is correct: the case of out-of-date binaries
> causes a special situation, and R is right to ask.
> 2. ask = FALSE means I want all updates, so don't ask me any
> questions, just install all possible updates.
> 3. ask = FALSE means that I don't want any interactivity, but
> out-of-date binaries is a special case, so R should just fail to
> update these packages, with an error message stating that they need to
> be manually updated.
> 4. There should be an extra argument that decides between the some or
> all of the behaviours described in 1, 2 and 3.
> Which of these options is best?  (Or have I missed an option?)

I am with R (and youre first option). If I ask for binaries, I want
binaries (because I can not install from source, because I want them
fast, because I have locally different compilers, ...). So to silently
try to install sources instead of binaries could be completely
wrong. Although unlikely, the same applies the other way round, when I
ask for source.

THe other possible option would be 4, but instead of failing (the
binaries might still be newer then the installed versions) to give a
warning - as it is not more: For the settings asked for, these are, the
newest versions are installed - but be warned that there are newer
versions from source.

Thinking about it now, option 4 with warning should be the way to go.



Rainer M. Krug
email: Rainer<at>krugs<dot>de
PGP: 0x0F52F982
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