[Rd] Recent and upcoming changes to R-devel
Prof Brian Ripley
ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Mon Jul 4 14:08:38 CEST 2011
There was an R-core meeting the week before last, and various planned
changes will appear in R-devel over the next few weeks.
These are changes planned for R 2.14.0 scheduled for Oct 31. As we
are sick of people referring to R-devel as '2.14' or '2.14.0', that
version number will not be used until we reach 2.14.0 alpha. You will
be able to have a package depend on an svn version number when
referring to R-devel rather than using R (>= 2.14.0).
All packages are installed with lazy-loading (there were 72 CRAN
packages and 8 BioC packages which opted out). This means that the
code is always parsed at install time which inter alia simplifies the
descriptions. R 2.13.1 RC warns on installation about packages which
ask not to be lazy-loaded, and R-devel ignores such requests (with a
In the near future all packages will have a name space. If the
sources do not contain one, a default NAMESPACE file will be added.
This again will simplify the descriptions and also a lot of internal
code. Maintainers of packages without name spaces (currently 42% of
CRAN) are encouraged to add one themselves.
R-devel is installed with the base and recommended packages
byte-compiled (the equivalent of 'make bytecode' in R 2.13.x, but done
less inefficiently). There is a new option
R CMD INSTALL --byte-compile
to byte-compile contributed packages, but that remains optional.
Byte-compilation is quite expensive (so you definitely want to do it
at install time, which requires lazy-loading), and relatively few
packages benefit appreciably from byte-compilation. A larger number
of packages benefit from byte-compilation of R itself: for example AER
runs its checks 10% faster. The byte-compiler technology is thanks to
There is support for figures in Rd files: currently with a first-pass
implementation (thanks to Duncan Murdoch).
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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