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

Tomas Kalibera tom@@@k@||ber@ @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Tue May 17 15:45:54 CEST 2022

Dear Paulo,

On 5/17/22 15:04, Paulo Barata wrote:
> Dear Tomas,
> Great news! I downloaded R-devel 2022-05-16 r82368 for Windows and 
> installed it on my Windows 10 Professional. It works perfectly well 
> with Dasher 5.0 beta!
> In Dasher, I tried all special characters like $ & | *, many small and 
> capital letters, including some accented ones like á À ê ç that exist 
> in Portuguese (and other languages, e.g. French (there are versions of 
> Dasher for many languages)), all digits, space, the Enter character 
> and the "Backspace" movement (to erase previously written characters), 
> everything works well.
> Now, we can fully use Dasher in the R console.
I am happy it works again, thanks for the testing and the report. I've 
ported the fix to R-patched, which means it will appear in R 4.2.1.
> It seems that we cannot yet normally install packages in this R-devel 
> r82368. So I look forward to the day when a stable R 4.3.0 will be 
> available. Meanwhile, for my ecological work, I can use R perfectly 
> well with the versions 4.1.3 and 4.2.0 that I have here, so, from my 
> viewpoint, this R 4.3.0 can take its time to come to light.

R 4.3.0 will be released probably around next April, but R 4.2.1 much 
sooner (expect in 1-3 months, though this hasn't been scheduled, yet). 
Before that, you should be able to use an R-patched snapshot build 
available from


but only after the build is of release >= 82371 (which should happen by 
tomorrow - the page shows the revision number). R-patched is R 4.2.0 
with updates that will eventually become 4.2.1, so should be more stable 
than R-devel is now (to become 4.3.0 around next April).

If you have any problems with installing packages in either version of 
R, please report, so that someone can help or indeed if there is a bug, 
it could be fixed.

> I can only thank you very much, and all the other people who took part 
> in this discussion, for the quick fix to this issue.

Thank you for the report. Without it, the problem wouldn't have been fixed.


> Best regards,
> Paulo Barata
> (Rio de Janeiro - Brazil)
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> On 16/05/2022 14:08, Tomas Kalibera wrote:
>> On 5/15/22 16:10, Paulo Barata wrote:
>>> To the R developers,
>>> I noticed today that R 4.2.0 responds to the "Enter" character of 
>>> Dasher version 5.0.0 beta in "Direct Entry" mode. An "Enter" in 
>>> Dasher causes the R prompt to jump to the next line, as an "Enter" 
>>> should do.
>>> No other characters (letters, digits, special characters like + = & 
>>> ~ | # $) are accepted by R 4.2.0 through Dasher.
>>> The "Enter" shows that, somehow, the communication between Dasher 
>>> and R 4.2.0 through the Windows system is not completely curtailed.
>> Dear Paulo,
>> thanks for the report and thanks to all for the useful comments in 
>> the followup discussion. I've committed a fix to R-devel, 82368, and 
>> I would be grateful if you could test whether it fixes the problem 
>> for you. I've tested it only on a small example which is using the 
>> same method to insert keys to Rgui as Dasher does.
>> The problem is caused by a limitation in GraphApp, a library used by 
>> Rgui and included in the R distribution. GraphApp has two modes: 
>> Unicode windows (with this limitation) and non-Unicode windows 
>> (without it). GraphApp uses Unicode windows when running in a 
>> multi-byte locale, and as of R 4.2, this is the case for all systems 
>> on recent Windows where the native encoding is UTF-8. This means that 
>> most likely R 4.1.3 didn't work with Dasher on systems running in a 
>> multi-byte locale and that most likely R 4.2.0 would work with Dasher 
>> on old Windows systems (where UTF-8 cannot be used as native encoding).
>> Dasher uses SendInput/KEYEVENTF_UNICODE to inject text into Rgui, 
>> which is fine as far as I can tell and should work. It didn't work, 
>> because the Unicode windows didn't handle WM_CHAR nor 
>> WM_KEYDOWN/WM_KEYUP for VK_PACKET. By design, Unicode windows get 
>> input via WM_IME_COMPOSITION and WM_KEYDOWN, so I've added support 
>> for VK_PACKET to WM_KEYDOWN (taking the logic in gdk as an example).
>> I am cc'ing Jose as Tinn-R has a similar problem, though this patch 
>> doesn't solve it.
>> Best
>> Tomas
>>> Regards,
>>> Paulo Barata
>>> ----------------------------------------------------------
>>> On 13/05/2022 16:44, Paulo Barata wrote:
>>>> 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 window.
>>>> 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:
>>>> http://www.inference.org.uk/dasher/
>>>> An example of Dasher in action can be seen on this 2-minute YouTube 
>>>> video:
>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr3s4613DX8
>>>> An one-hour YouTube video of a 2007 Google Talk by Professor MacKay 
>>>> himself explaining the Dasher concept can be found here:
>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpOxbesRNBc
>>>> 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"):
>>>> https://github.com/dasher-project/dasher/releases
>>>> 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:
>>>> https://dasher.acecentre.net/
>>>> 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.
>>>> Regards,
>>>> Paulo Barata
>>>> (Rio de Janeiro - Brazil)
>>>> ______________________________________________
>>>> R-devel using r-project.org mailing list
>>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel
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