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

Assaf P. Oron assaf at uw.edu
Thu May 21 20:09:25 CEST 2015

Thanks for the quick response.

@Duncan: The IT person says he cannot rename the binary. Naturally that's
the first suggestion I made to him. I found it odd but he's the IT person
not me.
OTOH if I have authoritative word from the R team that it's perfectly
doable, I can get back to him :)

@Jeff: Since it's a network app, on their side it doesn't sit in a 'folder'
so there's no way for the different Rgui.exe's to reference different
folders. If they are called the same, they will all read off of the same
initialization files.


On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 9:54 AM, Duncan Murdoch <murdoch.duncan at gmail.com>

> On 21/05/2015 12:21 PM, Assaf P. Oron wrote:
>> 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.)
> If you are doing the install, you can rename Rgui.exe to something else,
> e.g. rename the old one to Rgui31.exe.
> The default setup already installs user packages into a local directory
> with a versioned name, so that shouldn't be a problem.
> See ?R_LIBS for details on that.
> Duncan Murdoch
>> 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.
>> Thanks!
>> Assaf

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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