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

Kevin R. Coombes kevin.r.coombes at gmail.com
Wed May 4 20:33:10 CEST 2011

There are plenty of good reasons for non-developers to run different 
versions of R.  For instance, I care a lot about reproducibility. With 
every new release of R, lots of things change.  With every new release 
of the packages I use, lots of things change.  All of my analyses are 
performed using Sweave, and every report includes a call to sessionInfo 
so that the versions are recorded in the final report.  If I have to go 
back and tweak something in a report (say, to regenerate a figure in a 
format more suitable for publication), I do not want the rest of the 
analysis to change.  So I have to run the correct (possibly older) 
version of R.  All of the stat analysts that we train follow the same 

As a result, I am strongly opposed to an installation that automatically 
mucks with the path to R.


On 5/4/2011 11:00 AM, 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). Why
> isn't the default bin path for R under *nix something like
> /usr/bin/R-2.13.0/? 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

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