R-beta: Two simple suggestions.

Mike Meyer mikem at stat.cmu.edu
Thu May 8 12:15:17 CEST 1997

1) The .RData file (and S .Data area) are cputype dependent.  When R is used 
from different types of machines (say, HP and Sun) that share a common 
filesystem (say afs or dfs) then loading the wrong type of .RData file can 
lead to mysterious behaviour.   In my environment, undergraduate students are 
the most likely to log into different cputypes, and they end up being quite 
confused.   To solve this problem in S I set up an S_WORK environment variable 
that set the name of the .Data area, via the front end shell script.  For 
example, on the HP I use .Data.hp.   I would like to see the same facility in 
R.  if R_WORK is missing, then use the standard name.  If R_WORK exists, then 
use that name as the file to save the R session in.  (Maybe S_WORK exists in 
Splus only to please me, but it is useful :-).

2) Again, along the lines of something that S does that is actually useful.   
In S you can set the S_FIRST environment variable and have this used as the 
equivalent of the R .Rprofile file.   Might it be a good idea to allow an 
R_FIRST environment variable as well.  That way I could set user specific 
preferences that apply no matter what directory I have working in.


Mike Meyer, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University

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