[Rd] Where does L come from?

Thomas J. Leeper tho@jleeper @ending from gm@il@com
Sun Aug 26 16:09:36 CEST 2018

As long as we're on this point about not many users knowing about "L"
notation, I'm going bump my earlier suggestion that it be at least
mentioned in the `? integer` documentation page:


> From: Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan using gmail.com>
> To: =?UTF-8?B?SGVydsOpIFBhZ8Oocw==?= <hpages using fredhutch.org>, Dirk
>         Eddelbuettel <edd using debian.org>, Carl Boettiger <cboettig using gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Rd] Where does L come from?
> On 25/08/2018 4:49 PM, Hervé Pagès wrote:
> > The choice of the L suffix in R to mean "R integer type", which
> > is mapped to the "int" type at the C level, and NOT to the "long int"
> > type, is really unfortunate as it seems to be misleading and confusing
> > a lot of people.
> Can you provide any evidence of that (e.g. a link to a message from one
> of these people)?  I think a lot of people don't really know about the L
> suffix, but that's different from being confused or misleaded by it.
> And if you make a criticism like that, it would really be fair to
> suggest what R should have done instead.  I can't think of anything
> better, given that "i" was already taken, and that the lack of a decimal
> place had historically not been significant.  Using "I" *would* have
> been confusing (3i versus 3I being very different).  Deciding that 3
> suddenly became an integer value different from 3. would have led to
> lots of inefficient conversions (since stats mainly deals with floating
> point values).
> Duncan Murdoch

More information about the R-devel mailing list