[Rd] Wishlist: write R's bin path to the PATH variable and remove the version string in the installation dir under Windows

Duncan Murdoch murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Wed May 4 03:14:50 CEST 2011

On 03/05/2011 7:44 PM, Yihui Xie wrote:
> Hi,
> I guess this issue must have been brought forward long time ago, but I
> still hope you can consider under Windows (during installation):
> 1. put R's bin path in the PATH variable of the system so that we can
> use the commands "R" and "Rscript" more easily;

Few Windows users use those commands.  The ones who do are generally 
exactly the ones who know how to edit the PATH variable themselves.

For most users (the ones who start R from the shortcut), there's no need 
to mess with the PATH variable.  Personally, I hate programs that do 
that.  And with R, it's now complicated, because there are 2 different 
directories holding executables:  bin/i386 and bin/x64.  (The bin 
directory also holds some, but that's just for back  compatibility.)
How could the installer know which of those to put in the PATH?  At 
installation time, a user isn't going to know which one he/she needs.

> 2. remove the version string like R-2.13.0 in the default installation
> directory, e.g. only use a directory like C:/Program Files/R/ instead
> of C:/Program Files/R/R-2.13.0/; I know many people just follow the
> default setting when installing R, and this version string will often
> lead to many (unnecessary) copies of R in the system and brings
> difficulty to the first issue (several possible bin directories);

Multiple installs give you the possibility of reproducing things that 
don't work in the latest R version.  I think it's a good practice to 
keep multiple installs on your system if you have the space, and since 
disk space is cheap these days, that's not so uncommon.

Duncan Murdoch

> I'm aware of some existing efforts in overcoming the difficulty of
> calling R under Windows like the R batch files project
> (http://code.google.com/p/batchfiles/), but I believe this is better
> to be solved in R directly.
> Thanks!
> Regards,
> Yihui
> --
> Yihui Xie<xieyihui at gmail.com>
> Phone: 515-294-2465 Web: http://yihui.name
> Department of Statistics, Iowa State University
> 2215 Snedecor Hall, Ames, IA
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