[R] resetting the interpreter

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Fri Apr 23 10:01:09 CEST 2004

On Fri, 23 Apr 2004, Richard A. O'Keefe wrote:

> Gabor Grothendieck <ggrothendieck at myway.com> wrote:
> 	If you haven't tried 1.9.0 yet it does start up faster than 1.8.1.
> For what it's worth, on my SunBlade 100,
> R 1.7.1 started in 4 seconds of CPU time, 25 seconds of wall-clock time
> R 1.9.0 starts  in 3 seconds of CPU time, 20 seconds of wall-clock time.
> I measured the time by doing
> 	% time R
> 	> quit("no")

Better to do

	% time R --vanilla < /dev/null

That does seem a rather slow machine: our Sun server manages it in 1.0.

> It's really good to see *any* improvement in startup time, and I must
> thank the R developers for even *trying* to do anything about it.  There's
> some way to go yet; octave starts in under a second.

It is documented in the NEWS file:

    o	There has been a concerted effort to speed up the startup of
	an R session: it now takes about 2/3rds of the time of 1.8.1.

and BTW without those efforts it would have been 1.5x the time of 1.8.1.

If you want a much greater increase, remove `methods' from the list of 
default packages as it is responsible for about half the current startup 
time.  And if you want a really fast startup with minimal facilities, use 
no default packages.

On my office desktop (RH8.0, Athlon MP2600):

time R --vanilla < /dev/null
0.873u 0.035s 0:00.91 98.9%     0+0k 0+0io 1098pf+0w

setenv R_DEFAULT_PACKAGES "utils,graphics,stats"
time R --vanilla < /dev/null
0.505u 0.041s 0:00.55 98.1%     0+0k 0+0io 1090pf+0w

time R --vanilla < /dev/null
0.099u 0.017s 0:00.11 90.9%     0+0k 0+0io 1033pf+0w

There are planned improvements (hopefully for 2.0.0 next October) which 
will load objects on first use and so about halve the second of these 

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 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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