[Rd] R 4.0.0 is released

Peter Dalgaard pd@me@ @end|ng |rom cb@@dk
Fri Apr 24 09:21:04 CEST 2020

The build system rolled up R-4.0.0.tar.gz (codename "Arbor Day") this morning.

The list below details the changes in this release.

You can get the source code from


or wait for it to be mirrored at a CRAN site nearer to you.

Binaries for various platforms will appear in due course.

For the R Core Team,

Peter Dalgaard

These are the checksums (md5 and SHA-256) for the freshly created files, in case you wish
to check that they are uncorrupted:

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This is the relevant part of the NEWS file



    * Packages need to be (re-)installed under this version (4.0.0) of

    * matrix objects now also inherit from class "array", so e.g.,
      class(diag(1)) is c("matrix", "array").  This invalidates code
      incorrectly assuming that class(matrix_obj)) has length one.

      S3 methods for class "array" are now dispatched for matrix

    * There is a new syntax for specifying _raw_ character constants
      similar to the one used in C++: r"(...)" with ... any character
      sequence not containing the sequence )".  This makes it easier to
      write strings that contain backslashes or both single and double
      quotes.  For more details see ?Quotes.

    * R now uses a stringsAsFactors = FALSE default, and hence by
      default no longer converts strings to factors in calls to
      data.frame() and read.table().

      A large number of packages relied on the previous behaviour and
      so have needed/will need updating.

    * The plot() S3 generic function is now in package base rather than
      package graphics, as it is reasonable to have methods that do not
      use the graphics package.  The generic is currently re-exported
      from the graphics namespace to allow packages importing it from
      there to continue working, but this may change in future.

      Packages which define S4 generics for plot() should be
      re-installed and package code using such generics from other
      packages needs to ensure that they are imported rather than rely
      on their being looked for on the search path (as in a namespace,
      the base namespace has precedence over the search path).


    * Reference counting is now used instead of the NAMED mechanism for
      determining when objects can be safely mutated in base C code.
      This reduces the need for copying in some cases and should allow
      further optimizations in the future.  It should help make the
      internal code easier to maintain.

      This change is expected to have almost no impact on packages
      using supported coding practices in their C/C++ code.


    * This version of R is built against the PCRE2 library for
      Perl-like regular expressions, if available.  (On non-Windows
      platforms PCRE1 can optionally be used if PCRE2 is not available
      at build time.)  The version of PCRE in use can be obtained _via_
      extSoftVersion(): PCRE1 (formerly known as 'PCRE') has versions
      <= 8, PCRE2 versions >= 10.

    * Making PCRE2 available when building R from source is strongly
      recommended (preferably version 10.30 or later) as PCRE1 is no
      longer developed: version 8.44 is 'likely to be the final

    * PCRE2 reports errors for some regular expressions that were
      accepted by PCRE1.  A hyphen now has to be escaped in a character
      class to be interpreted as a literal (unless first or last in the
      class definition).  \R, \B and \X are no longer allowed in
      character classes (PCRE1 treated these as literals).

    * Option PCRE_study is no longer used with PCRE2, and is reported
      as FALSE when that is in use.


    * assertError() and assertWarning() (in package tools) can now
      check for _specific_ error or warning classes _via_ the new
      optional second argument classes (which is not back compatible
      with previous use of an unnamed second argument).

    * DF2formula(), the utility for the data frame method of formula(),
      now works without parsing and explicit evaluation, starting from
      Suharto Anggono's suggestion in PR#17555.

    * approxfun() and approx() gain a new argument na.rm defaulting to
      true.  If set to false, missing y values now propagate into the
      interpolated values.

    * Long vectors are now supported as the seq argument of a for()

    * str(x) gets a new deparse.lines option with a default to speed it
      up when x is a large call object.

    * The internal traceback object produced when an error is signalled
      (.Traceback), now contains the calls rather than the _deparse()d_
      calls, deferring the deparsing to the user-level functions
      .traceback() and traceback().  This fulfils the wish of PR#17580,
      reported including two patch proposals by Brodie Gaslam.

    * data.matrix() now converts character columns to factors and from
      this to integers.

    * package.skeleton() now explicitly lists all exports in the
      NAMESPACE file.

    * New function .S3method() to register S3 methods in R scripts.

    * file.path() has some support for file paths not in the session
      encoding, e.g. with UTF-8 inputs in a non-UTF-8 locale the output
      is marked as UTF-8.

    * Most functions with file-path inputs will give an explicit error
      if a file-path input in a marked encoding cannot be translated
      (to the native encoding or in some cases on Windows to UTF-8),
      rather than translate to a different file path using escapes.
      Some (such as dir.exists(), file.exists(), file.access(),
      file.info(), list.files(), normalizePath() and path.expand())
      treat this like any other non-existent file, often with a

    * There is a new help document accessed by help("file path
      encoding") detailing how file paths with marked encodings are

    * New function list2DF() for creating data frames from lists of

    * iconv() has a new option sub = "Unicode" to translate UTF-8 input
      invalid in the to encoding using <U+xxxx> escapes.

    * There is a new function infoRDS() providing information about the
      serialization format of a serialized object.

    * S3 method lookup now by default skips the elements of the search
      path between the global and base environments.

    * Added an argument add_datalist(*, small.size = 0) to allow the
      creation of a data/datalist file even when the total size of the
      data sets is small.

    * The backquote function bquote() has a new argument splice to
      enable splicing a computed list of values into an expression,
      like ,@ in LISP's backquote.

    * The formula interface to t.test() and wilcox.test() has been
      extended to handle one-sample and paired tests.

    * The palette() function has a new default set of colours (which
      are less saturated and have better accessibility properties).
      There are also some new built-in palettes, which are listed by
      the new palette.pals() function.  These include the old default
      palette under the name "R3". Finally, the new palette.colors()
      function allows a subset of colours to be selected from any of
      the built-in palettes.

    * n2mfrow() gains an option asp = 1 to specify the aspect ratio,
      fulfilling the wish and extending the proposal of Michael Chirico
      in PR#17648.

    * For head(x, n) and tail() the default and other S3 methods
      notably for _vector_ n, e.g. to get a "corner" of a matrix, has
      been extended to array's of higher dimension thanks to the patch
      proposal by Gabe Becker in PR#17652.  Consequently, optional
      argument addrownums is deprecated and replaced by the (more
      general) argument keepnums.  An invalid second argument n now
      leads to typically more easily readable error messages.

    * New function .class2() provides the full character vector of
      class names used for S3 method dispatch.

    * Printing methods(..) now uses a new format() method.

    * sort.list(x) now works for non-atomic objects x and method =
      "auto" (the default) or "radix" in cases order(x) works.

    * Where they are available, writeBin() allows long vectors.

    * New function deparse1() produces one string, wrapping deparse(),
      to be used typically in deparse1(substitute(*)), e.g., to fix

    * wilcox.test() enhancements: In the (non-paired) two-sample case,
      Inf values are treated as very large for robustness consistency.
      If exact computations are used, the result now has "exact" in the
      method element of its return value.  New arguments tol.root and
      digits.rank where the latter may be used for stability to treat
      very close numbers as ties.

    * readBin() and writeBin() now report an error for an invalid
      endian value.  The affected code needs to be fixed with care as
      the old undocumented behavior was to swap endian-ness in such

    * sequence() is now an S3 generic with an internally implemented
      default method, and gains arguments to generate more complex
      sequences.  Based on code from the S4Vectors Bioconductor package
      and the advice of Herv'e Pag`es.

    * print()'s default method and many other methods (by calling the
      default eventually and passing ...) now make use of a new
      optional width argument, avoiding the need for the user to set
      and reset options("width").

    * memDecompress() supports the RFC 1952 format (e.g. in-memory
      copies of gzip-compressed files) as well as RFC 1950.

    * memCompress() and memDecompress() support long raw vectors for
      types "gzip" and "zx".

    * sweep() and slice.index() can now use names of dimnames for their
      MARGIN argument (apply has had this for almost a decade).

    * New function proportions() and marginSums(). These should replace
      the unfortunately named prop.table() and margin.table(). They are
      drop-in replacements, but also add named-margin functionality.
      The old function names are retained as aliases for

    * Functions rbinom(), rgeom(), rhyper(), rpois(), rnbinom(),
      rsignrank() and rwilcox() which have returned integer since R
      3.0.0 and hence NA when the numbers would have been outside the
      integer range, now return double vectors (without NAs, typically)
      in these cases.

    * matplot(x,y) (and hence matlines() and matpoints()) now call the
      corresponding methods of plot() and lines(), e.g, when x is a
      "Date" or "POSIXct" object; prompted by Spencer Graves'

    * stopifnot() now allows customizing error messages via argument
      names, thanks to a patch proposal by Neal Fultz in PR#17688.

    * unlink() gains a new argument expand to disable wildcard and
      tilde expansion.  Elements of x of value "~" are now ignored.

    * mle() in the stats4 package has had its interface extended so
      that arguments to the negative log-likelihood function can be one
      or more vectors, with similar conventions applying to bounds,
      start values, and parameter values to be kept fixed.  This
      required a minor extension to class "mle", so saved objects from
      earlier versions may need to be recomputed.

    * The default for pdf() is now useDingbats = FALSE.

    * The default fill colour for hist() and boxplot() is now col =

    * The default order of the levels on the y-axis for spineplot() and
      cdplot() has been reversed.

    * If the R_ALWAYS_INSTALL_TESTS environment variable is set to a
      true value, R CMD INSTALL behaves as if the --install-tests
      option is always specified. Thanks to Reinhold Koch for the

    * New function R_user_dir() in package tools suggests paths
      appropriate for storing R-related user-specific data,
      configuration and cache files.

    * capabilities() gains a new logical option Xchk to avoid warnings
      about X11-related capabilities.

    * The internal implementation of grid units has changed, but the
      only visible effects at user-level should be

        * a slightly different print format for some units (especially
          unit arithmetic),

        * faster performance (for unit operations) and

        * two new functions unitType() and unit.psum().

      Based on code contributed by Thomas Lin Pedersen.

    * When internal dispatch for rep.int() and rep_len() fails, there
      is an attempt to dispatch on the equivalent call to rep().

    * Object .Machine now contains new longdouble.* entries (when R
      uses long doubles internally).

    * news() has been enhanced to cover the news on R 3.x and 2.x.

    * For consistency, N <- NULL; N[[1]] <- val now turns N into a list
      also when val) has length one.  This enables dimnames(r1)[[1]] <-
      "R1" for a 1-row matrix r1, fixing PR#17719 reported by Serguei

    * deparse(..), dump(..), and dput(x, control = "all") now include
      control option "digits17" which typically ensures 1:1
      invertibility.  New option control = "exact" ensures numeric
      exact invertibility via "hexDigits".

    * When loading data sets via read.table(), data() now uses
      LC_COLLATE=C to ensure locale-independent results for possible
      string-to-factor conversions.

    * A server socket connection, a new connection type representing a
      listening server socket, is created via serverSocket() and can
      accept multiple socket connections via socketAccept().

    * New function socketTimeout() changes the connection timeout of a
      socket connection.

    * The time needed to start a homogeneous PSOCK cluster on localhost
      with many nodes has been significantly reduced (package

    * New globalCallingHandlers() function to establish global
      condition handlers.  This allows registering default handlers for
      specific condition classes. Developed in collaboration with
      Lionel Henry.

    * New function tryInvokeRestart() to invoke a specified restart if
      one is available and return without signaling an error if no such
      restart is found.  Contributed by Lionel Henry in PR#17598.

    * str(x) now shows the length of attributes in some cases for a
      data frame x.

    * Rprof() gains a new argument filter.callframes to request that
      intervening call frames due to lazy evaluation or explicit eval()
      calls be omitted from the recorded profile data.  Contributed by
      Lionel Henry in PR#17595.

    * The handling of ${FOO-bar} and ${FOO:-bar} in Renviron files now
      follows POSIX shells (at least on a Unix-alike), so the first
      treats empty environment variables as set and the second does
      not.  Previously both ignored empty variables.  There are several
      uses of the first form in etc/Renviron.

    * New classes argument for suppressWarnings() and
      suppressMessages() to selectively suppress only warnings or
      messages that inherit from particular classes.  Based on patch
      from Lionel Henry submitted with PR#17619.

    * New function activeBindingFunction() retrieves the function of an
      active binding.

    * New "cairoFT" and "pango" components in the output of

    * New argument symbolfamily in cairo-based graphics devices and new
      function cairoSymbolFont() that can be used to provide the value
      for that argument.


    * Rterm now works also when invoked from MSYS2 terminals.  Line
      editing is possible when command winpty is installed.

    * normalizePath() now resolves symbolic links and normalizes case
      of long names of path elements in case-insensitive folders

    * md5sum() supports UTF-8 file names with characters that cannot be
      translated to the native encoding (PR#17633).

    * Rterm gains a new option --workspace to specify the workspace to
      be restored.  This allows equals to be part of the name when
      opening _via_ Windows file associations (reported by Christian

    * Rterm now accepts ALT+xxx sequences also with NumLock on.  Tilde
      can be pasted with an Italian keyboard (PR#17679).

    * R falls back to copying when junction creation fails during
      package checking (patch from Duncan Murdoch).


    * Make macro F77_VISIBILITY has been removed and replaced by

    * Make macros F77, FCPIFCPLAGS and SHLIB_OPENMP_FCFLAGS have been
      removed and replaced by FC, FPICFLAGS and SHLIB_OPENMP_FFLAGS
      respectively.  (Most make programs will set F77 to the value of
      FC, which is set for package compilation.  But portable code
      should not rely on this.)

    * The deprecated support for specifying C++98 for package
      installation has been removed.

    * R CMD config no longer knows about the unused settings F77 and
      FCPIFCPLAGS, nor CXX98 and similar.

    * Either PCRE2 or PCRE1 >= 8.32 (Nov 2012) is required: the
      deprecated provision for 8.20-8.31 has been removed.

    * Defunct functions mem.limits(), .readRDS(),
      .saveRDS(),..find.package(), and .path.package() from package
      base and allGenerics(), getAccess(), getAllMethods(),
      getClassName(), getClassPackage(), getExtends(), getProperties(),
      getPrototype(), getSubclasses(), getVirtual(), mlistMetaName(),
      removeMethodsObject(), seemsS4Object(), traceOff(), and traceOn()
      from methods have been removed.


    * installChar is now remapped in Rinternals.h to installTrChar, of
      which it has been a wrapper since R 3.6.0.  Neither are part of
      the API, but packages using installChar can replace it if they
      depend on R >= 3.6.2.

    * Header R_ext/Print.h defines R_USE_C99_IN_CXX and hence exposes
      Rvprintf and REvprintf if used with a C++11 (or later) compiler.

    * There are new Fortran subroutines dblepr1, realpr1 and intpr1 to
      print a scalar variable (gfortran 10 enforces the distinction
      between scalars and length-one arrays).  Also labelpr to print
      just a label.

    * R_withCallingErrorHandler is now available for establishing a
      calling handler in C code for conditions inheriting from class


    * User-set DEFS (e.g., in config.site) is now used for compiling
      packages (including base packages).

    * There is a new variant option --enable-lto=check for checking
      consistency of BLAS/LAPACK/LINPACK calls - see 'Writing R

    * A C++ compiler default is set only if the C++11 standard is
      supported: it no longer falls back to C++98.

    * PCRE2 is used if available.  To make use of PCRE1 if PCRE2 is
      unavailable, configure with option --with-pcre1.

    * The minimum required version of libcurl is now 7.28.0 (Oct 2012).

    * New make target distcheck checks

        * R can be rebuilt from the tarball created by make dist,

        * the build from the tarball passes make check-all,

        * the build installs and uninstalls,

        * the source files are properly cleaned by make distclean.


    * R --help now mentions the option --no-echo (renamed from --slave)
      and its previously undocumented short form -s.

    * R CMD check now optionally checks configure and cleanup scripts
      for non-Bourne-shell code ('bashisms').

    * R CMD check --as-cran now runs \donttest examples (which are run
      by example()) instead of instructing the tester to do so.  This
      can be temporarily circumvented during development by setting
      environment variable _R_CHECK_DONTTEST_EXAMPLES_ to a false


    * There is the beginnings of support for the recently approved
      C++20 standard, specified analogously to C++14 and C++17.  There
      is currently only limited support for this in compilers, with
      flags such as -std=c++20 and -std=c++2a.  For the time being the
      configure test is of accepting one of these flags and compiling
      C++17 code.


    * formula(x) with length(x) > 1 character vectors, is deprecated
      now.  Such use has been rare, and has 'worked' as expected in
      some cases only.  In other cases, wrong x have silently been
      truncated, not detecting previous errors.

    * Long-standing issue where the X11 device could lose events
      shortly after startup has been addressed (PR#16702).

    * The data.frame method for rbind() no longer drops <NA> levels
      from factor columns by default (PR#17562).

    * available.packages() and hence install.packages() now pass their
      ... argument to download.file(), fulfilling the wish of PR#17532;
      subsequently, available.packages() gets new argument quiet,
      solving PR#17573.

    * stopifnot() gets new argument exprObject to allow an R object of
      class expression (or other 'language') to work more consistently,
      thanks to suggestions by Suharto Anggono.

    * conformMethod() now works correctly in cases containing a "&&
      logic" bug, reported by Henrik Bengtsson.  It now creates methods
      with "missing" entries in the signature.  Consequently,
      rematchDefinition() is amended to use appropriate .local() calls
      with named arguments where needed.

    * format.default(*, scientific = FALSE) now corresponds to a
      practically most extreme options(scipen = n) setting rather than
      arbitrary n = 100.

    * format(as.symbol("foo")) now works (returning "foo").

    * postscript(.., title = *) now signals an error when the title
      string contains a character which would produce corrupt
      PostScript, thanks to PR#17607 by Daisuko Ogawa.

    * Certain Ops (notably comparison such as ==) now also work for
      0-length data frames, after reports by Hilmar Berger.

    * methods(class = class(glm(..))) now warns more usefully and only

    * write.dcf() no longer mangles field names (PR#17589).

    * Primitive replacement functions no longer mutate a referenced
      first argument when used outside of a complex assignment context.

    * A better error message for contour(*, levels = Inf).

    * The return value of contourLines() is no longer invisible().

    * The Fortran code for calculating the coefficients component in
      lm.influence() was very inefficient. It has (for now) been
      replaced with much faster R code (PR#17624).

    * cm.colors(n) _etc_ no longer append the code for alpha = 1, "FF",
      to all colors.  Hence all eight *.colors() functions and
      rainbow() behave consistently and have the same non-explicit
      default (PR#17659).

    * dnorm had a problematic corner case with sd == -Inf or negative
      sd which was not flagged as an error in all cases. Thanks to
      Stephen D. Weigand for reporting and Wang Jiefei for analyzing
      this; similar change has been made in dlnorm().

    * The optional iter.smooth argument of plot.lm(), (the plot()
      method for lm and glm fits) now defaults to 0 for all glm fits.
      Especially for binary observations with high or low fitted
      probabilities, this effectively deleted all observations of 1 or
      0.  Also, the type of residuals used in the glm case has been
      switched to "pearson" since deviance residuals do not in general
      have approximately zero mean.

    * In plot.lm, Cook's distance was computed from unweighted
      residuals, leading to inconsistencies.  Replaced with usual
      weighted version. (PR#16056)

    * Time-series ts(*, start, end, frequency) with fractional
      frequency are supported more consistently; thanks to a report
      from Johann Kleinbub and analysis and patch by Duncan Murdoch in

    * In case of errors mcmapply() now preserves attributes of returned
      "try-error" objects and avoids simplification, overriding
      SIMPLIFY to FALSE. (PR#17653)

    * as.difftime() gets new optional tz = "UTC" argument which should
      fix behaviour during daylight-savings-changeover days, fixing
      PR#16764, thanks to proposals and analysis by Johannes Ranke and
      Kirill M"uller.

    * round() does a better job of rounding _"to nearest"_ by
      _measuring_ and _"to even"_; thanks to a careful algorithm
      originally prompted by the report from Adam Wheeler and then
      others, in PR#17668.
      round(x, dig) for _negative_ digits is much more rational now,
      notably for large |dig|.

    * Inheritance information on S4 classes is maintained more
      consistently, particularly in the case of class unions (in part
      due to PR#17596 and a report from Ezra Tucker).

    * is() behaves more robustly when its argument class2 is a
      classRepresentation object.

    * The warning message when attempting to export an nonexistent
      class is now more readable; thanks to Thierry Onkelinx for
      recognizing the problem.

    * choose() misbehaved in corner cases where it switched n - k for k
      and n was only _nearly_ integer (report from Erik Scott Wright).

    * mle() in the stats4 package had problems combining use of box
      constraints and fixed starting values (in particular, confidence
      intervals were affected).

    * Operator ? now has lower precedence than = to work as documented,
      so = behaves like <- in help expressions (PR#16710).

    * smoothEnds(x) now returns integer type in _both_ cases when x is
      integer, thanks to a report and proposal by Bill Dunlap PR#17693.

    * The methods package does a better job of tracking inheritance
      relationships across packages.

    * norm(diag(c(1, NA)), "2") now works.

    * subset() had problems with 0-col dataframes (reported by Bill
      Dunlap, PR#17721).

    * Several cases of integer overflow detected by the 'undefined
      behaviour sanitizer' of clang 10 have been circumvented.  One in
      rhyper() may change the generated value for large input values.

    * dotchart() now places the y-axis label (ylab) much better, not
      overplotting labels, thanks to a report and suggestion by Alexey

    * A rare C-level array overflow in chull() has been worked around.

    * Some invalid specifications of the day-of-the-year (_via_ %j,
      e.g. day 366 in 2017) or week plus day-of-the-week are now
      detected by strptime().  They now return NA but give a warning as
      they may have given random results or corrupted memory in earlier
      versions of R.

    * socketConnection(server = FALSE) now respects the connection
      timeout also on Linux.

    * socketConnection(server = FALSE) no longer leaks a connection
      that is available right away without waiting (e.g. on localhost).

    * Socket connections are now robust against spurious readability
      and spurious availability of an incoming connection.

    * blocking = FALSE is now respected also on the server side of a
      socket connection, allowing non-blocking read operations.

    * anova.glm() and anova.glmlist() computed incorrect score (Rao)
      tests in no-intercept cases. (Andr'e Gillibert, PR#17734)

    * summaryRprof() now should work correctly for the Rprof(*,
      memory.profiling=TRUE) case with small chunk size (and "tseries"
      or similar) thanks to a patch proposal by Benjamin Tyner, in

    * xgettext() ignores strings passed to ngettext(), since the latter
      is handled by xngettext(). Thanks to Daniele Medri for the report
      and all the recent work he has done on the Italian translations.

    * data(package = "P") for P in base and stats no longer reports the
      data sets from package datasets (which it did for back
      compatibility for 16 years), fixing PR#17730.

    * x[[Inf]] (returning NULL) no longer leads to undefined behavior,
      thanks to a report by Kirill M"uller in PR#17756.  Further,
      x[[-Inf]] and x[[-n]] now give more helpful error messages.

    * Gamma() family sometimes had trouble storing link name PR#15891

  BUG FIXES (Windows):

    * Sys.glob() now supports all characters from the Unicode Basic
      Multilingual Plane, no longer corrupting some (less commonly
      used) characters (PR#17638).

    * Rterm now correctly displays multi-byte-coded characters
      representable in the current native encoding (at least on Windows
      10 they were sometimes omitted, PR#17632).

    * scan() issues with UTF-8 data when running in a DBCS locale have
      been resolved (PR#16520, PR#16584).

    * RTerm now accepts enhanced/arrow keys also with ConPTY.

    * R can can now be started _via_ the launcher icon in a user
      documents directory whose path is not representable in the system

    * socketConnection(server = FALSE) now returns instantly also on
      Windows when connection failure is signalled.

    * Problems with UTF-16 surrogate pairs have been fixed in several
      functions, including tolower() and toupper() (PR#17645).

CHANGES in previous versions:

  * Older news can be found in text format in files NEWS.0, NEWS.1,
    NEWS.2 and NEWS.3 in the doc directory.  News in HTML format for R
    versions 3.x and from 2.10.0 to 2.15.3 is available at
    doc/html/NEWS.3.html and doc/html/NEWS.2.html.

Peter Dalgaard, Professor,
Center for Statistics, Copenhagen Business School
Solbjerg Plads 3, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Phone: (+45)38153501
Office: A 4.23
Email: pd.mes using cbs.dk  Priv: PDalgd using gmail.com

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