[Rd] [External] Re: Update on rtools4 and ucrt support

Simon Urbanek @|mon@urb@nek @end|ng |rom R-project@org
Mon Aug 23 23:41:28 CEST 2021


please see the announcement:

https://developer.r-project.org/Blog/public/2021/03/12/windows/utf-8-toolchain-and-cran-package-checks/index.html <https://developer.r-project.org/Blog/public/2021/03/12/windows/utf-8-toolchain-and-cran-package-checks/index.html>

the documentation is in

https://svn.r-project.org/R-dev-web/trunk/WindowsBuilds/winutf8/ucrt3/howto.html <https://svn.r-project.org/R-dev-web/trunk/WindowsBuilds/winutf8/ucrt3/howto.html>


> On Aug 24, 2021, at 8:34 AM, Avraham Adler <avraham.adler using gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 23, 2021 at 11:09 PM <luke-tierney using uiowa.edu> wrote:
>> On Mon, 23 Aug 2021, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>>> On 23/08/2021 8:15 a.m., jan Vitek via R-devel wrote:
>>>> Hi Jeroen,
>>>> I mostly lurk on this list, but I was struck by your combative tone.
>>>> To pick on two random bits:
>>>>> … a 6gb tarball with manually built things on his personal machine…
>>>>> … a black-box system that is so opaque and complex that only one person
>>>>> knows how it works, and would make it much more difficult for
>>>>> students, universities, and other organisations to build R packages
>>>>> and libraries on Windows…
>>>> Tomas’ tool chain isn't a blackbox, it has copious documentation (see
>> [1])
>>>> and builds on any machine thanks to the provided docker container.
>>>> This is not to criticise your work which has its unique strengths, but
>> to
>>>> state the obvious: these strengths are best discussed without passion
>>>> based on factually accurate descriptions.
>>> I agree with Jan.  I'm not sure a discussion in this forum would be
>> fruitful,
>>> but I really wish Jeroen and Tomas would get together, aiming to merge
>> their
>>> toolchains, keeping the best aspects of both.
>>> I haven't been involved in the development of either one, but have been
>> a
>>> "victim" of the two chain rivalry, because the rgl package is not easy
>> to
>>> build.  I get instructions from each of them on how to do the build, and
>>> those instructions for one toolchain generally break the build on the
>> other
>>> one.  While it is probably possible to detect the toolchain and have the
>>> build adapt to whichever one is in use, it would be a lot easier for me
>> (and
>>> I imagine every other maintainer of a package using external libs) if I
>> just
>>> had to follow one set of instructions.
>>> Duncan Murdoch
>> Here are just a few comments from my perspective (I am an R-core
>> member, but am not part of the CRAN team and do only very limited work
>> on Windows). Other R-core members may have different perspectives and
>> insights.
>> One bit of background: dealing with encoding issues on Windows has
>> been taking an unsustainable amount of R-core resources for some time
>> now. Tomas Kalibera has been taking the lead on trying to address
>> these issues in the existing framework, but this means he has not had
>> the time to make any of the many other valuable and important
>> contributions he could make. The only viable way forward is to move to
>> a Windows tool chain that supports UTF-8 as the C library current
>> encoding via the Windows UCRT framework.
>> Tomas Kalibera has, on behalf of all of R core and in
>> coordination with CRAN, been looking for a way forward for some
>> time and has reported on the progress in several blog posts at
>> https://developer.r-project.org/Blog/public/. This has lead to
>> the development of the MXE-based UCRT tool chain, which is now
>> well tested and ready for deployment.  Checks using the UCRT tool
>> chain have been part of the CRAN check process for a while. I
>> believe CRAN plans to switch R-devel checks and builds to the
>> UCRT tool chain during the upcoming CRAN downtime. I expect there
>> will be some communication from CRAN on this soon, including on
>> any issues in supporting binaries for both R-devel and R-patched.
>> In putting together something as large as a tool chain there will
>> always be many choices, each with advantages and disadvantages.  Some
>> things may be advantages in some settings and not others. Taking just
>> one case in point: Cross compilation. This is likely to be a better
>> approach for CRAN in the future and is supported by the MXE framework
>> on which the new tool chain is based.
>> The much more recent changes in rtools4 to support UCRT are at this
>> point not yet as well tested as the new tool chain. Once these changes
>> to rtools4 mature, and if binary compatibility can be assured, then
>> having a second tool chain may be useful in some cases.  But if there
>> are incompatibilities then it will be up to rtools4 to keep up with
>> the tool chain used by CRAN. On the other, contributing to improving
>> the MXE-based tool chain may be a better investment of time.
>> Best,
>> luke
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> R-devel using r-project.org mailing list
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
>> --
>> Luke Tierney
>> Ralph E. Wareham Professor of Mathematical Sciences
>> University of Iowa                  Phone:             319-335-3386
>> Department of Statistics and        Fax:               319-335-3017
>>    Actuarial Science
>> 241 Schaeffer Hall                  email:   luke-tierney using uiowa.edu
>> Iowa City, IA 52242                 WWW:  http://www.stat.uiowa.edu
> Thank you, Dr. Tierney. However, I am concerned about the not-insignificant
> number of us who for various reasons can only do our development on
> Windows. Rtools has been the official tool chain with which to build
> windows for the at least 20 years I have been using R (yes, a babe in the
> woods compared to most, but not a complete neophyte). Duncan and Jereoen
> have each done yeoman’s jobs in ensuring that R can be built from source on
> Windows and that packages can be developed for all OSS on Windows—even
> Solaris SPARC.
> I am much less aware of Thomas’s work, and I’ll gladly take the blame for
> it, but I haven’t seen an accessible tool chain built by him which would
> allow me, the Windows developer, to build R and all packages from source on
> a native Windows box. Have I just missed it? If not, is that planned? If
> R-core switches the official Windows toolchain, where does that leave us?
> Thank you,
> Avi
> -- 
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