[Rd] Custom installer [was: Version names]

Duncan Murdoch murdoch at stats.uwo.ca
Mon Nov 29 15:19:18 CET 2004

On Mon, 29 Nov 2004 12:06:35 +0100, "Philippe Grosjean"
<phgrosjean at sciviews.org> wrote :

>The discussion about version names leads me to the following question
>(sorry, I change the message title):
>Is it possible to enforce the user to select an option during R
>installation? For instance, I want R to be installed with the registry entry
>option set up and, let's say, with tcltk files installed. How do I ensure
>Well, under Windows, Inno Setup that is used as the installer is plenty of
>resources for that! You have lots of command line arguments, including
>/SAVEINF and LOADINF/ that use a custom information file about the options.
>Then, you can run the setup silently with /SP-, /SILENT or /VERYSILENT from
>the command line, thus, from a batch script.
>Ultimately, it is possible to write an installer that will install R with
>several options, with additional packages, etc... very easily without having
>to rebuid the original R installer. You need both the rwXXXX.exe installer
>(about 23Mb), and your custom installer (let's say with a couple of
>additional packages, weighting a few hundreds of kb) downloaded in the same
>directory. You run your custom installer, which in turn installs R silently
>with the right options (it even can detect if R is already installed or
>There is a real interest for this approach for projects like R Commander, or
>SciViews-R. Indeed, it targets beginners and installation should be as
>straigthforward as possible. Currently, you have to (1) install R (2) with
>specific options, (3) install additional packages, and (4) switch Rgui in
>SDI mode under Windows... before you can start working in R Commander or
>SciViews-R. Definitely too many tasks for a beginner!
>So, I will experiment a little bit with Inno Setup in this direction and
>intend to propose a web page about this topic, for Windows.
>Now, my two questions:
>1) Does anyone has some experience using Inno Setup this way?
>2) How to solve the problem of custom installation this way under
>Linux/Unix? [with a batch script, I presume, but does somebody have a
>skeleton for that: installing R with specific options + several additional
>packages at once].

1) I don't have experience using Inno Setup like that, but there are
various newsgroups dedicated to discussion of Inno Setup (see
http://www.jrsoftware.org/newsgroups.php), and I'm reasonably sure
you'd be able to get help there.

2)  Our assumption has been that Linux/Unix users are more
sophisticated and less pampered regarding installations, so it's not
as necessary to automate so much.  There's also the issue that
different Linux/Unix systems use different conventions for
pre-packaged installs, so you would be setting yourself up for a lot
of work if you attempt to support the majority of them.

Duncan Murdoch

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