[Rd] Writing in R // R 4.2.0 on Windows doesn't work with Dasher

Paulo Barata pb @end|ng |rom |n|o||nk@com@br
Fri May 13 21:44:09 CEST 2022

To the R developers,

I would like to point out an issue that occurs with the new R 4.2.0 
running on Windows; this is possibly related to the recent wide changes 
made to the Windows port of R. The issue has to do with writing of the R 

My computer runs on Windows 10 Professional 64-bit with all the latest 
updates, and has a 4-core 8-thread Intel Xeon processor with 32 Gb of RAM.

I have some slight impairment in my hands, so for typing I avoid using 
the computer keyboard as much as possible. For most of my typing, I use 
the software Dasher, a kind of assistive technology software. Dasher was 
created by the Inference Group led by Professor David MacKay (died in 
2016) at Cambridge University in England. Later, Dasher was further 
developed by Ada Majorek (a Google engineer, recently deceased).

General information on Dasher and about the Dasher Project can be found 
on the Inference Group page:


An example of Dasher in action can be seen on this 2-minute YouTube video:


An one-hour YouTube video of a 2007 Google Talk by Professor MacKay 
himself explaining the Dasher concept can be found here:


In the 2-minute video (the first YouTube address above), the sentence 
written through Dasher, for actual use, needs to be copied and then 
pasted into another software, say a text editor. But Dasher also has a 
"Direct Entry" mode, where words typed are entered directly on the 
screen of the text editor or other software -- this is how I use Dasher 
to write on the R window.

Using Dasher`s "Direct Entry" mode, for all effects, to write a word 
through Dasher works exactly like writing the word through the normal 
computer keyboard. Somehow (I do not know about system programming), in 
"Direct Entry" mode, the output of Dasher is understood by the computer 
as an input of the same nature as a keyboard input.

But this is the issue: until R 4.1.3, R accepted normally the 
word-typing through Dasher. But R 4.2.0 (and R 4.2.0-patched build 
r82348, 12 May 2022) does not accept Dasher anymore.

So, for now, if I wish to use R during some extended interactive section 
(say, for a first look at a complex data set), and if I wish to use 
Dasher for this interactive session, then I have to use R 4.1.3. For 
using R through programming, I can use the new R 4.2.0, by writing the 
program with Dasher in my text editor, and then pasting that program into R.

The latest Windows version of Dasher, version 5.0.0 beta, works 
perfectly well with text editors (I use EditPad Pro), with 
Microsoft-like Office packages (I use SoftMaker Office), for writing 
e-mails (I use Mozilla Thunderbird), for writing on a web page (I use 
mostly Mozilla Firefox). It worked perfectly well with R up to version 
4.1.3, but it does not work with R 4.2.0

The latest Dasher 5.0.0 beta Windows installer and the source code can 
be found on this page below (please click on "Windows installer" and on 
"source code", just below the head "Dasher 5.0 beta release"):


To set Dasher 5.0.0 beta to the "Direct Entry" mode, after installing 
Dasher one should go to Preferences > Application > Application Style.

Currently, after the passing of Ada Majorek, the Dasher Project is being 
put forward by a group of people in England, but, it seems, at a very 
slow pace. They have announced the existence of a version 6 beta, but 
this is only an online instance of Dasher, there is no Windows 
installer, as far as I know. Their web page:


For me, and possibly for other users, the Dasher version 5.0.0 beta for 
Windows that is available works perfectly well, and allows me to use the 
computer with a proficiency that would be hardly possible otherwise.

Here I request that the R developers take a look at this word-typing 
issue that happens with the new R 4.2.0 on Windows.

As an R user (I work in ecological research), I can only thank the R 
team for this really wonderful piece of statistical software that you 
make freely available to us all.


Paulo Barata

(Rio de Janeiro - Brazil)

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