[R] R console history v/s unix history

Prof Brian D Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Tue Sep 18 10:00:49 CEST 2001

On Mon, 17 Sep 2001, steven cha wrote:

> Hi
> i'm new to R and find that the "history" functionality works a little
> different than in unix. A very convenient feature of history in unix
> is the ability to recall a comand by typing in !x where x is a letter
> and the latest matching command in the history that starts with the letter
> is (re)called. This is useful for instance, when calling a "source" command
> by !s rather than having to scroll back using the arrow key. Does this
> functionality exist in R and if not any suggestions on how to replicate
> it?

Which version of R are you talking about?  Unix versions of R have
bash-like behaviour, but I think you are describing a feature of the
C-shell (and with history turned on, which is not the default), not of all
Unix shells.

Since you mention RGui below, RGui and Rterm have yet other history
mechanisms.  (You are of course welcome to re-write any of these to add
this feature: R is Open Source.)

For example, in Unix R with readline and under Windows with Rterm ^R/^S
give a much more powerful search mechanism.  However, I do normally scroll,
both in R and when using tcsh (under Unix or Windows).

Yet another approach is to use the ESS front-end and Emacs' search

> Also:
> - is there a way to open a second *console* window within RGui (running
> within the microsoft windows MDI)?

No.  One day, when R has user threads, perhaps, but until then there needs
to be an unambiguous R console to write messages to.

> - how do i check to see what the installed version of a package is?

> package.description("MASS")["Version"]

> installed.packages()[, c("Package", "Version")]
      Package      Version
 [1,] "KernSmooth" "2.22-6"
 [2,] "MASS"       "6.2-8"

are amongst the easiest.

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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