[Rd] system(wait = FALSE)

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu Feb 24 08:07:40 CET 2011

On Wed, 23 Feb 2011, Oliver Soong wrote:

> I'm having a very odd problem with system(wait = FALSE).  I'm not
> entirely sure whether it's a bug in R or a problem on our end.  It's
> related to a post a month or so ago in R-help which got no responses,
> but I have a little more to add.

Well, the place you are asked to report issues on the Windows port is 
R-windows at r-project.org.   But no one was able to reproduce this, and 
it does sound as if the problem is on your specific machine.  If so, 
only you can debug it and find out if it is really in R.

> This command works as expected (I use c:\tmp since c:\ isn't normally
> writable under later versions of Windows).

That's a bold claim (and untrue of my Windows 7 systems), but if c:\ 
is not writeable, you cannot create c:\tmp!

>  The file is created at
> c:\tmp\tmp.txt.
> system("cmd /c dir > c:\\tmp\\tmp.txt", wait = TRUE)
> This command does not work as expected.  There is no file created at
> c:\tmp\tmp.txt.
> system("cmd /c dir > c:\\tmp\\tmp.txt", wait = FALSE)

Windows' own programs are peculiar things, and often do not obey 
Windows' own rules for everyone else.  So I give little weight to such 
an example.  And in any case, we recommend shell() for such usages.

> The computer is a 64-bit Windows Server 2008R2 machine.  This affects
> R 2.12.1, both the 32-bit and 64-bit RGui executables but not the
> RTerm executables.  This does not affect 32-bit Windows XP, 32-bit
> Windows Server 2003, or 64-bit Windows Server 2008.  This does not
> affect R 2.12.0, and if I'm reading the svn logs correctly, there were
> some changes made to the system function from 2.12.0 to 2.12.1.
> Things seem to work normally when R is started from the start menu
> recent programs list, but things do not work properly when R is
> started from a shortcut, from the start menu all programs menu, or
> through explorer.
> I'm stumped.  Any ideas I can try?
> Oliver
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Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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