[Rd] Bug: Issues on Windows with SFN disabled

Tomas Kalibera tomas.kalibera at gmail.com
Thu Dec 7 17:56:59 CET 2017

An update on this. Writing R Extensions does not recommend to have a 
space character in R_HOME. This means that on Windows one either should 
have SFN enabled (which is still the common case), or install into a 
directory that does not have a space in its name (so specifically not 
into "Program Files"). This recommendation unfortunately needs to stay 
for now.

WRE recommends that Makefiles are written to be robust against space 
characters inside R_HOME. All path names passed from a Makefile to the 
shell should be quoted at least if they include R_HOME. Make "include" 
directives should not be used on path names that are derived from 
R_HOME, but one should instead use the "-f" option multiple times when 
recursively invoking make. Maintainers of packages that use "include" 
with R_HOME have been notified. Unfortunately, the number of packages 
that do not quote pathnames with R_HOME in Makefiles is rather large, so 
fixing will take some time.

Currently, R-devel should build fine on Windows with R_HOME including 
space, including all base and recommended packages, and tests for these 
packages should pass even though this is not regularly tested. If you 
find a case when this does not work, please submit a bug report.


On 10/20/2017 04:29 PM, Tomas Kalibera wrote:
> This has now been mostly fixed in R-devel. What remains to be resolved 
> is that some packages with custom make files cannot be installed from 
> source (when R is installed into a directory with space in its name 
> and short file names are not available)
> Tomas
> On 10/17/2017 10:37 AM, Tomas Kalibera wrote:
>> Hi Zach,
>> thanks for the report, I can reproduce the problem and confirm it is 
>> a bug in R and will be fixed.
>> Hopefully it only impacts few users now. The workaround is to create 
>> the short name for the directory where R is installed, using "fsutil 
>> file setshortname" (for all elements of the path that contain space 
>> in their name). One can revert this by setting the shortname to an 
>> empty string (""). At least for the latter one may need to boot in 
>> safe mode.
>> Best
>> Tomas
>> On 09/17/2017 08:23 PM, Zach Bjornson wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> R appears to assume that Windows drives have short file names (SFN, 
>>> 8.3)
>>> enabled; for example, that "C:/Program Files/..." is addressable as
>>> "C:/Progra~1/...". Newer versions of Windows have SFN disabled on 
>>> non-OS
>>> drives, however.
>>> This means that if you install R on a non-OS drive, you
>>> - can't start R.exe from the command line.
>>> - consequently, anything that attempts to spawn a new R process also 
>>> fails.
>>> This includes a lot of the commands from the popular devtools 
>>> package. More
>>> discussion and background: 
>>> https://github.com/hadley/devtools/issues/1514
>>> I don't have access to bugzilla to file this there.
>>> Thanks and best,
>>> Zach
>>>     [[alternative HTML version deleted]]
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> R-devel at r-project.org mailing list
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel

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