[R] Installing different versions of R simultaneously on Linux

Berwin A Turlach berwin at maths.uwa.edu.au
Fri Feb 27 14:04:01 CET 2009

G'day Rainer,

On Fri, 27 Feb 2009 14:06:20 +0200
Rainer M Krug <r.m.krug at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thanks a lot for the offer - that would be great. I will set it up the
> same way on m y PC with Xubuntu.

Script is attached.  Ignore the comments at the beginning they are
there just to remind me what ./configure line I usually use, possible
variations, and whether to edit config.site or work with environment

After the "make install" step, I edit in this file the variable VERSION
and PRIORITY and then ran the script as root.  Note that VERSION should
be the same number as the one specified in the ./configure line.  

As long as the the configuration of a command is set to 'auto', the
alternative with the highest priority is used.  So make sure that the
newest version of R has highest priority, I usually set priority just
to xyz for R-x.y.z (and keep my fingers crossed that there will never
be a release with either y or z larger than 9, otherwise I will have
to refine my scheme).

To use this on a new machine, you have to create /opt/info, 
/opt/man/man1 and /opt/bin before running the script the first time
(IIRC).  It also helps to copy /opt/R/R-$VERSION/share/info/dir
to /opt/info/dir so that emacs will include the info files in the list
that you get with C-h i (this has to be done only once, the dir file
does not seem to change between R versions).

Prior to 2.5.0 the man and info files were installed in R-$VERSION/man
and R-$VERSION/info instead of R-$VERSION/share/man and
R-$VERSION/share/info, respectively.  I have a separate script for those
versions (but don't install such old versions anymore).  How far do you
want to go back?  Also, much earlier, if memory serves correctly,
R-exts.info came in 2 parts instead of 3; but I don't seem to have my
script from that time anymore.

I think that's all.  Let me know if you run into troubles or need more


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