(PR#2275) Re: Bug#168259: r-base-core: help.start() assumes netscape
Fri, 8 Nov 2002 15:51:10 +0000 (GMT)
Note that this only a problem for pre-compiled versions of R used on
machines other than the one on which it was compiled. For those compiling
from source, the configure script selects a browser. So almost all the
analysis is based on incorrect assumptions.
What you seem to want is run-time rather than compile-time automated
On Fri, 8 Nov 2002 email@example.com wrote:
> > Package: r-base-core
> > Version: 1.5.1-0woody1
> > Severity: minor
> > I don't have Netscape on my system. Trying to follow the sample
> To best of my knowledge, this R feature dates from a time when
> Netscape was essentially the only browser out there. It also had
> a most useful feature: you could attach new request (resulting in
> a new "frame" in X11 / window manager parlance) to a running Netscape
> making startup for this request /much/ faster than starting a new
> Netscape executable.
and netscape no longer allows multiple executables to run.
> This feature lacks in other browsers which is why no one was able
> to write a wrapper script around netscape, mozilla, galeon, konqueror,...
> and pick whichever is found.
> > session in the R Intro fails with a less than helpful error message:
> Then this should be fixed in the R Intro -- maybe a line could be added
> suggesting that the browser="foo" options may be needed to switch
> away from netscape?
Nope, what's in R-intro works everywhere R was compiled from source.
It's a Debian (etc) problem.
> > Type `demo()' for some demos, `help()' for on-line help, or
> > `help.start()' for a HTML browser interface to help.
> > Type `q()' to quit R.
> > > help.start()
> > Making links in ~/.R ...
> > If netscape is already running, it is *not* restarted, and you must
> > switch to its window.
> > Otherwise, be patient ...
> > > sh: netscape: command not found
> > Could some heuristic be put in place to use whatever is installed
> > rather than blindly hope Netscape will be there? I thought I even saw
Again, that's not what happens.
> This has been discussed on the R lists, but as I recall, no consensus
> was reached for the reasons outlined above.
> > something about an /etc/alternatives mechanism for selecting a web
> > browser but this does not seem to exist (yet?)
> Now you're switching from a generic R problem to a Debian specific
> solution -- but yes I may be able to do that. However, what we would
> really need is a wrapper like, say, sensible-browser akin to the
> existing sensible-paper and sensible-editor. Now, as I said above,
> this will likely be difficult or impossible to do well, so nobody
> did it.
> Also, /etc/alternatives is designed to switch between variants of the
> same program: emacs as a choice between emacs20 and emacs21, netscape
> as one between static motif and other linkage variants, ... whereas
> sensible-$FOO is a wrapper around different programs doing $FOO.
> > Failing that, perhaps the program could check for the existence of
> > Netscape before attempting to launch it, and display a suitable error
> > message if it is not installed (hopefully with instructions for how to
> > override).
> Yes, but that is tough to do portably on Unix, Max, Win, ... where R
> > I was lucky enough to fairly quickly find an example of how to work
> > around this in Google; for the record, help.start(browser='mozilla')
> > worked for me, and apparently R will now remember to use Mozilla in
> > the future on my account.
> Only for the running session. Set
> in ~/.Rprofile to make it truly permanent.
> > Sorry if this is already fixed in testing/unstable.
> No, I'd call it one of the "unfixable" ones.
> Regards, Dirk
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Brian D. Ripley, email@example.com
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