[Rd] Re: [R-SIG-Mac] R version on gifi

Stefano Iacus jago at mclink.it
Tue Jun 17 15:43:11 MEST 2003

On Martedì, giu 17, 2003, at 14:33 Europe/Rome, Simon Urbanek wrote:

> On Monday, June 16, 2003, at 08:45  PM, Don MacQueen wrote:
>> Specifically for X11, does it assume the user has separately 
>> installed Apple's X11 and QuartzWM, and if so, is it in any way 
>> dependent on anything unique to Apple's X11? That is, will it work if 
>> the user is using XFree86/XDarwin and some (any) other window >> manager?
> The really native version doesn't really need to depend on X11 anymore 
> since the use of X11 on Mac OS X was meant for applications that are 
> not properly ported to OS X yet. Once Quartz and RAqua are complete 
> there is no need for X11.
>>> This means that all references to /sw in configure.ac can go.
>> Do you mean that at some point in the future you intend that the 
>> configure.ac in the source distribution will remove all references to 
>> /sw? I'm not sure this is a good idea; I think I would prefer to have 
>> the option of building from sources using fink for those other things 
>> (readline, jpeg, png, tetex, etc) if I want to. Otherwise I have to 
>> learn how to get them from several other sites, increasing my system 
>> maintenance load and making it harder to keep them up to date.
>> Can you give specific and substantive reasons why fink should be 
>> avoided?
> Jan already listed the main technical reasons why it is indeed a very 
> good idea. Apart from that, fink is not an official package and was 
> only meant as a temporary solution for people who need a (no matter 
> how ugly) way to run existing unix programs on OS X. Hardly any real 
> OS X user has installed fink (especially since Jaguar is out). Fink 
> was great during the first couple of months when native OS X ports 
> were hardly existent, but is now obsolete for mainstream OS X use.
>> I get the impression that R for OS X is being moved away from being 
>> another unix R variant (in the sense that Solaris, various Linuxes, 
>> SGI, etc. are unix variants), and moved toward being a specialized 
>> platform-specific version. Assuming my impression is more or less 
>> correct, I'd like to understand the pros and cons of this move.
> It is not a "move" of R. Mac OS X is simply not "another unix 
> variant". Darwin is indeed, but Mac OS X is not. You can compile X11 
> for Darwin and use it exactly the way you can use Linux on a PPC 
> hardware. But Mac OS X has many very nice (often proprietary) layers 
> that are important to the Mac users, but that part of OS X is not 
> "unix". The goal here is to release R which fits in the philosophy of 
> the system - ease of use, good integration with the existing 
> frameworks, appealing design. These are not properties of unix, but of 
> OS X. So what we need is in fact Mac-OS-X-like look and feel. The fact 
> that OS X is unix-based helps with respect to the R engine itself - we 
> need no special ports of packages anymore, but it has a totally 
> different GUI.
> Fortunately R makes a distinction between GUI and the engine, 
> therefore we can create a real OS X GUI without affecting other 
> platforms - including Darwin ;). "Unix" users are used to compile 
> their own software, therefore moving fink support to the category 
> 'optional' is only logical, since you can still easily enable it with 
> configure parameters and/or environment settings. Real Mac OS X users 
> are used to nice, binary distributions, therefore we cannot assume 
> fink and we need Quartz device and RAqua. It will be a big help for 
> most OS X users. (BTW: no Mac users I know (non-developers) have 
> installed X11.)
> Therefore the recent changes are IMHO really important from Mac OS X 
> user's view - so far most binaries were rather experimental and 
> assumed some unix knowledge (note: there was is no official OS X 
> binary!). It was ok to use fink for those as a temporary solution, but 
> the official binary cannot rely on unsupported non-Apple packages. The 
> only thing external part we really need is libdl and I'm sure we can 
> supply it simply with R - such as pcre etc., all other libraries are 
> optional.
I completely agree with Simon, Jan, Thomas etc.
About libdl: in fact there is no need to link against it and I'll try 
to integrate it in the R sources.

> Cheers,
> Simon
> ---
> Simon Urbanek
> Department of computer oriented statistics and data analysis
> University of Augsburg
> Universitätsstr. 14
> 86135 Augsburg
> Germany
> Tel: +49-821-598-2236
> Fax: +49-821-598-2200
> Simon.Urbanek at Math.Uni-Augsburg.de
> http://simon.urbanek.info
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