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

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Wed May 4 19:55:31 CEST 2011

On May 4, 2011, at 12:00 PM, Yihui Xie wrote:

> My suggestion was to mimic *nix systems: put the executable binaries in the same place *by default* (e.g. /usr/bin/ or /usr/local/bin).

Except that there is not such thing on Windows! The closest to that is the "system" folder which is off limits for applications.

> Why isn't the default bin path for R under *nix something like /usr/bin/R-2.13.0/?

It is on some unices (and most system-wide installations in practice) - but that's beside the point. Unix has a well-defined FHS so regardless where you install R you can always put a symlink into /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin. Windows has no such conventions so Gabor's solution is pretty much what you claim to want (and note that in unix you're exactly running a batch script with its rhome embedded to start R!). Even on unix you don't mess with PATH to select the R version to use.

> If the users want to install multiple versions,
> they still have the choice to install them elsewhere. I'm not denying
> the possible necessity of having multiple versions in a system. In my
> opinion, the default values should be set according to probabilities:
> is it more likely for a user to use multiple versions or a single
> version of R? Of course, all of you are developers and the former
> probability might be higher, but I don't think many users will run the
> script A with R 2.12.1 and script B with R 2.13.0. The most typical
> situation I have seen is, (Windows) people install R and will forget
> to update it forever. I often have to urge our IT admin to update R in
> our department from a version released long long ago. You may argue my
> samples are not representative. Anyway, I can accept the default
> version string if nobody agrees with me.


> I do use Emacs every day. It's nice, I totally agree.
> 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
> On Wed, May 4, 2011 at 2:02 AM, Martin Maechler
> <maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch> wrote:
>> Note to Yihui Xie:  I agree 100% with the other R core members
>> (Duncan, Simon, Thomas) who already explained why it is *GOOD*
>> to install R in version-named directories by default.
>> BTW: If you use ESS (Emacs Speaks Statistics) on Windows,
>> it now automatically(*) finds all versions of R
>> (* well, less generally, probably than Gabor's batch files; IIRC,
>>  we assume that the R versions were installed in the default place),
>> and provides them, both the 32bit and 64bit versions, in the ESS
>> menu, or via
>>  M-x R- [Tab completion]
>> Very nice, very useful in my eyes.
>> Martin
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