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

Gabor Grothendieck ggrothendieck at gmail.com
Wed May 4 17:27:24 CEST 2011

On Wed, May 4, 2011 at 10:53 AM, Ted Byers <r.ted.byers at gmail.com> wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: r-devel-bounces at r-project.org [mailto:r-devel-bounces at r-
>> project.org] On Behalf Of Gabor Grothendieck
>> Sent: May-04-11 10:35 AM
>> To: Duncan Murdoch
>> Cc: R-devel
>> Subject: Re: [Rd] Wishlist: write R's bin path to the PATH variable and
> remove
>> the version string in the installation dir under Windows
>> [snip]
>> I personally keep about half a dozen back versions of R for the reasons
>> others have mentioned and these would include one R-13.x version, one R-
>> 12.x version, etc.  I literally use x in the name since only the most
> recent
>> version in any such series is stored. That is, when a new R-2.13.x comes
> out I
>> just install it over the existing
>> R-2.13.x:
>>  Directory of C:\Program Files\R
>> 31/03/2010 02:37 PM    <DIR>          R-2.10.x
>> 01/06/2010  01:03 PM    <DIR>          R-2.11.x
>> 22/03/2011  03:25 PM    <DIR>          R-2.12.x
>> 26/04/2011 01:45 PM    <DIR>          R-2.13.x
> Do you keep  the RTools version specific to each version of R installed too?
> If so, how do you manage that so that each version of R finds the right
> version of RTools when it needs it?
> I don't use RTools much, but I need it to install some fo the packages I use
> from source since there are no binary distributions for them (for 64 bit
> Windows).  I don't typically keep any more than two versions of R on my
> machine at any one time, but I don't remove an older version until I have
> verified that my R scripts work fine in the latest release.  So usually
> there is only one version on my machine, but there will be two for a short
> while after a new release.  But, my normal practice, as I describe here,
> would be disrupted if R's installer wrote R's bin path to my system path (in
> fact, I hate that for any software I use, even though in some cases there's
> no way to avoid it).
> Thanks
> Ted

Typically I do my development on the latest version of R so I only
need one version of Rtools.  The older versions of R are just for
checking older software.  There is a program RtoolsVersion.bat in the
batchfiles that will tell you which  version of Rtools you have (which
it finds by first looking in the registry and if not found there looks
for an R_TOOLS environment variable and if still not found looks for

RtoolsVersion.bat: Rtools found at: c:\Rtools
Rtools version

(There is also Rtools.bat that will temporarily add Rtools to your
path (although if you use Rcmd.bat, R.bat, etc. then they can find
Rtools without it being on the path so mostly one does not need to use

If people wanted to have multiple versions of Rtools, Rtools would
ideally have a tool similar to R's own RSetReg.exe .  Another
possibility would be to turn Rtools into an R package so that R's
library mechanism handled the versioning.

Regarding permanently putting R on the path, I agree that it would be
annoying having R permanently there and for that reason the batchfiles
do not do that.

Statistics & Software Consulting
GKX Group, GKX Associates Inc.
tel: 1-877-GKX-GROUP
email: ggrothendieck at gmail.com

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