[R] Question regarding different R versions on an enterprise network server

Assaf P. Oron assaf at uw.edu
Thu May 21 18:21:28 CEST 2015

Hi all,

I represent R users vs. IT dept. at my workplace (yes, an enviable task :)

We've managed to get a workable network-based R application, for people who
work remotely, or don't have a machine (i.e., they use a VDI terminal).
Everything in this organization is staunchly Windows and Microsoft.

We've agreed to upgrade only once yearly, to save IT resources. Now we're
upgrading, and I would like users to be able to keep their old R 3.1.0
directory trees like it's available on a single Windows machine. At least
for a few months, so that people can evaluate back-compatibility if they
need. In fact, we have an even older server-based 3.0.1, which happens to
be  the only R version for which the Tableaux-R connection works (at least
according to my colleagues, I don't use Tableaux).

Anyway, long story short. That was just the motivating example. The problem
I'm dealing with is whether a network application that has several versions
of R (3.1.z, 3.2.z), etc., all available, and each reading and installing
libraries to a different folder tree.

The libraries right now are installed into each user's "personal" share
drive. It's pretty stable. However, obviously the 3.2.z libraries will now
overwrite the 3.1.z.

My IT contact says it's impossible, because the Windows app name is always
just Rgui.exe, and they can only have one set of instructions associated
with the same app name (i.e., what folders to go to, etc.)

I wonder whether anyone has had experience with this, or I should just give
up and alert people that if they want to explore various historical layers
of R and the associated packages, they will have to work around and/or
install and uninstall lots of packages each time.



Assaf P. Oron, Ph.D.
Senior Statistician, Children's Core for Biomedical Statistics
(206)884-1236, assaf.oron at seattlechildrens.org
Consulting statistician, Seattle DEEDS Project
Instructor, UW Certificate for Statistical Analysis with R
assaf at uw.edu

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