[Rd] linking to package directories broken in R >= 2.10 beta

Thomas Petzoldt Thomas.Petzoldt at TU-Dresden.de
Sat Oct 17 19:57:32 CEST 2009

Duncan Murdoch wrote:
> Thomas Petzoldt wrote:


>> This is fine, but in contrast to older versions (<= 2.9.2) no 
>> automatic index is created for the linked directory, so we now get:
>> "URL /library/foo/examples/ was not found"
>> but linking to *individual files* (e.g. examples/example.R) works as
>> expected. We can, of course, add manually maintained index files
>> but I would much prefer if a default index would be created for the
>> directory if no index.html is found.
> By "index" in R <= 2.9.2, you mean the default directory listing 
> produced by the web server, rather than something produced by R, 
> right?

Yes, I mean the default directory listing produced by (most) web servers.

> The R server does that now if the directory is named "doc", but not 
> for an arbitrary path. We are concerned about security: any user on 
> your system who can guess your port number can access your help 
> system, so we want to be sure that such users can't access private 
> files.

Hmm, I see and have some tendency to understand that this may be an 
issue for certain multi-user systems. Looking into the svn log (and 
compiling R) it appears that the remaining possibilities where also 
regarded as security issue and are now locked down too.

Well, I'm not yet completely convinced that this was a good idea.

1) It does not completely solve security issues; what is so different
between the library/foo/doc and library/foo/examples ???

2) The change will introduce additional work for package authors
that used internal links within their packages. I can, of course,
reorganize everything below doc, e.g. /library/foo/doc/examples ... but
this means that these things are even more hidden.

3) However, according to the changed R-Exts, it was obviously decided
that this was necessary, so *I* will do the required reorganization.

I hope that other package authors accept this change of the rules too.

Nevertheless, thank you very much for the new help system.

Thomas P.

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