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

Yihui Xie xie at yihui.name
Thu May 5 04:16:36 CEST 2011

First, you are still able to install multiple versions of R to any
places that you want -- I was suggesting a default place to install R
under Windows. If you remember the process of installing R under
Windows, there is a step in which you can choose where to install R.

Second, to modify the PATH variable won't affect reproducibility. It
seems people have got a wrong impression that after the PATH variable
is modified, we are forced to use the single version of R under the
PATH. You are still free to use any versions of R. The only effect is
that if you run R as a command, it will be the version which is under
the PATH. Do you run your Sweave documents via "R CMD Sweave"? If not,
this will not affect you.

If people are really uncomfortable with the PATH variable being
modified, we can make this *optional* just like what Rtools does. If
we are so worried about all these kinds of problems, do we need to
worry about Rtools as well?

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 1:33 PM, Kevin R. Coombes
<kevin.r.coombes at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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 practice.
> As a result, I am strongly opposed to an installation that automatically
> mucks with the path to R.
>    Kevin
> 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

More information about the R-devel mailing list