[R] installing R on Ubuntu

Neil Shephard nshephard at gmail.com
Mon Feb 9 13:51:45 CET 2009

The preceived "difficulty" of installing R under whatever flavour of
GNU/Linux in this thread stems from being unfamiliar with the process of the
package management of the flavour of GNU/Linux you use (and in part by the
various distros not having the most recent version of R in their

People who say "why can't it be as easy as dowloading a self-installing
binary and running that" are trying to fit a round peg (their experience and
understanding of how applications install in M$-windows) in a square hole
(or triangular, hexagonal, or whatever depending on the distribution of

There are pro's and con's to each of the GNU/Linux flavours and its really a
matter of deciding which you like/have invested time in learning.

Irrespective its still simple to install R from source under GNU/Linux...

1) Download source tar-ball
2) Extract and cd to the directory
3) ./configure --prefix=/where/you/want/R/to/go (optionally setting the
install path at this stage)
4) ./make
5) ./make install

...all documented in the FAQ at

This might not be as clean as using the native package management, but does
mean that you'll have the latest version installed.


(Addendum - I've tried several different distros, starting with RedHat 7.3,
then various versions of Slackware 8 through to 9 before settling on Gentoo,
all were easy to install R in).
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