[Rd] issues with dev.new avoiding RStudio plot device on unix?

Duncan Murdoch murdoch.duncan at gmail.com
Sat Oct 3 19:47:12 CEST 2015

On 03/10/2015 10:28 AM, Stefan Evert wrote:
>> The problem is that the device chosen by dev.new() depends on the GUI.
>> You can see the code that does this in grDevices:::.onLoad.  So in fact
>> with noRstudioGD=TRUE, the decision is identical to what it is in R:
>> you only get X11 if your GUI is X11 or Tk, you get pdf otherwise.
>> It's pretty common to use R on a machine where X11 won't work, so this
>> makes sense.
> But not if running from RStudio always causes the X11 check to fail.  If the function is used outside RStudio, there's little point in specifying noRStudioGD=TRUE in the first place.
> If you consider the code used to determine whether quartz() or X11() is available
> 	dsp <- Sys.getenv("DISPLAY")
> 	if (.Platform$OS.type == "windows")
> 		windows
> 	else if (.Platform$GUI == "AQUA" || ((!nzchar(dsp) || grepl("^/tmp/launch-", dsp)) && .Call(C_makeQuartzDefault)))
> 		quartz
> 	else if (nzchar(dsp) && .Platform$GUI %in% c("X11", "Tk"))
> 		X11
> 	else defdev 
> you can see that it checks for a DISPLAY variable and assumes that X11 can be used if it is set.  Wouldn't it be just as safe to add RStudio to the list of accepted .Platform$GUIs?
> In my case (Mac OS X 10.10.5), I'd like to get a quartz device.  The problem here is that I have XQuartz installed, so DISPLAY is always set and looks like this
> 	/private/tmp/com.apple.launchd.2wKas4wzPe/org.macosforge.xquartz:0 
> while dev.new() checks for ^/tmp/launch-; I suppose the DISPLAY variable has changed between different versions of Mac OS X or XQuartz.  Perhaps the additional patterns could just be added to the grepl() call?

In my opinion dev.new() and grDevices:::.onLoad are already too
complicated, and that's the cause of the problem.  I'm not going to mess
with them.

For your case, it seems pretty easy for you to set
options(device="quartz") during startup, or R_DEFAULT_DEVICE=quartz
before startup.

Duncan Murdoch

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