[Rd] C-API: check whether R has been initialized ?

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Mon May 4 06:06:50 CEST 2015


On May 3, 2015, at 8:07 PM, Laurent Gautier <lgautier at gmail.com> wrote:

> rPython appears to provide an interface from R to Python by embedding
> Python and I'd think that it can safely assume that R has been initialized,
> but might not be the point here.
> The issue is that a Python package embedding itself R (here rpy2) appears
> to have no way to know that earlier in the life of the process R was
> initialized.

Duncan's point was that it has - since it would have to embed R itself and thus record the initialization. I suppose you're asking about a case where you want to detect that something else already started R so you can't embed it yourself anymore and thus have to abort -- one side-effect check is to see if R_NilValue is NULL since that would only be the case if R was not started yet. Note, however, that if you didn't initialize it you can't embed it.


PS: there are much better interfaces to Python than rPython (which is mostly dysfunctional) - see

PPS: I wish you didn't hide the capsulling in rpy2 since that prevents us from having common references that rpy2 can use (please contact me off the list).

> 2015-05-03 19:48 GMT-04:00 Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan at gmail.com>:
>> On 03/05/2015 7:02 PM, Laurent Gautier wrote:
>>> Beside the possible argumentation that with an API elegance and
>>> convenience might sometimes be superior to necessity, the suggested
>>> pattern ("every program, including R itself, keeping its own flag") does
>>> no work too well when the nested embedding of R is involved.
>>> A concrete example is:
>>> ```
>>> $ R -q
>>>> library('rPython'); python.exec('import rpy2.robjects')
>>> R is already initialized
>>> ```
>> I don't know rPython at all, but surely this is an rPython bug.  When
>> the package is loaded by "library('rPython')", R is obviously
>> initialized.  You don't need to query it to ask that.
>> The standard R front-ends don't need a flag to know if it is
>> initialized.  They initialize, then go into the read-eval-print loop.
>> If they are in that loop, R is initialized.  If it failed to initialize,
>> they would never get to that loop.
>> Other front-ends may do other things besides run R, so they do need to
>> know if it is initialized, but surely they can keep a flag telling them
>> whether they've succeeded in initializing it.
>> Duncan Murdoch
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