[Rd] issues with dev.new avoiding RStudio plot device on unix?

Duncan Murdoch murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Sat Sep 26 12:22:57 CEST 2015

On 26/09/2015 1:42 AM, Skye Bender-deMoll wrote:
> Sorry, should have given more background.  x11 works fine on all my 
> systems when called by x11().  I'm the maintainer of a package that uses 
> the animation library, which has performance issues when used with the 
> RStudio plot device.  But if you call plot.new() when using RStudio, you 
> get an RStudio device, not the standard device for the platform because 
> it overrides the device option.  So I've had to have the library do 
> platform detection and platform-specific device calls, which R CMD check 
> doesn't like.  I believe that noRStudioGD argument was avoided to give 
> users a way around this, but it doesn't seem to be behaving correctly in 
> the unix interactive case.

It seems like the best workaround here could come from RStudio.  They
could provide a way for a user to indicate that they sometimes don't
want to use the RStudio graphics device (e.g. an option setting), and
your package could set and restore this option around your dev.new() call.

The other seems to be for your package to temporarily set
R_DEFAULT_DEVICE if the user doesn't already have it set, and use
noRStudioGD=TRUE.  The disadvantage of this is that you need to do all
the platform-based decision making.

> On 09/25/2015 08:31 PM, Ott Toomet wrote:
>> Can you describe your problem a bit more?
>> * What kind of unix system do you have?Â
>> * Can you run other X11 programs?
>> I had a similar issue, and the problem was that the computer was not set
>> up to support X11.  As a minimum, you have to install /xauth/, and
>> potentially also other libraries if you want to install packages from
>> source.
>> Best,
>> Ott
>> On Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 11:53 AM, Skye Bender-deMoll
>> <skyebend at skyeome.net <mailto:skyebend at skyeome.net>> wrote:
>>     Hi R-devl,
>>     I'm still unable to force opening an *interactive* non-Rstudio
>>     platform-specific plot device on *unix* systems.
>>     dev.new() add a new argument 'noRStudioGD' in R 3.1.1.  Thank you.
>>     It works for me when using RStudio on Windows, but on the unix
>>     system it opens a pdf device instead of an interactive device when
>>     using an interactive RStudio session (with R_DEFAULT_DEVICE and
>>     R_INTERACIVE_DEVICE not set).
>>     Do other unix RStudio users see this behavior?
>>     It appears that the relevant line of dev.new (and in zzz.R):
>>     Â  Â else if (nzchar(dsp) && .Platform$GUI %in% c("X11", "Tk"))
>>     Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â  Â X11
>>     Â  Â else defdev
>>     but when I step through in debugger, I see that
>>     Browse[2]> .Platform$GUI
>>     [1] "RStudio"
>>     so instead of returning X11, it returnd defdev (pdf)
>>     perhaps changing to
>>     .Platform$GUI %in% c("X11", "Tk", "RStudio")
>>     would work, but seems a little strange logically.
>>     best,
>>     Â -skye
>>     p.s.  I wonder if instead of having a noRStudioGD=TRUE flag, it
>>     might be a more future-proof design to have an
>>     avoid.devices='RStudioGD' argument  in case users need to induce
>>     similar behavior to avoid other current or future devices?Â
>>     Probably to late now tho.
>>     ______________________________________________
>>     R-devel at r-project.org <mailto:R-devel at r-project.org> mailing list
>>     https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>> --
>> Ott Toomet
>> Visiting Researcher
>> School of Information
>> Mary Gates Hall, Suite 310
>> University of Washington
>> Seattle, WA 98195
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