[R] Problems with "help(topic,offline=T)"

Peter Dalgaard BSA p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk
Mon Dec 13 15:38:44 CET 1999

"Uli Flenker; Raum 704" <uli at biochem.dshs-koeln.de> writes:

> Hello everybody,
> since I installed R-0.90.0 (Linux 2.0.25) I have problems with generating
> printable output with 'help()'.
> Default output to the terminal ('echo $PAGER' gives 'less') works o.k..
> When invoking 'help(topic,offline=T)' all the usual procedures seem to
> start: 'top' reports invocation of latex as well as of dvips. But after
> finishing there is no file; neither *.ps nor *.dvi files exist.
> I checked for suspicous environment settings but couldn't find anything.
> Also my dvips without problems produces files and doesn't send its output
> to the printer when being invoked from the shell level. I thought of
> problems there because my machine has no local printing device. 
> I set 'options(printcmd="")' which didn't help either. 
> Any ideas?

Works for me...

The last few lines of the help ($RHOME/bin/help) script say

    ${LATEX} "\\nonstopmode\\input{${1}}" >/dev/null 2>&1
    ${DVIPS} ${1} 2>/dev/null
    if test -f ${1}.ps;
        echo "Saving help page to \`${2}.ps'"
        mv ${1}.ps ${ODIR}/${2}.ps
    rm -f ${1}.aux ${1}.dvi ${1}.log

So if you're not seeing the "Saving help page to \`${2}.ps'" bit,
chances are that ${DVIPS} sends directly to the printer, or tries to. 

The other option is that ${LATEX} or  ${DVIPS} is failing fatally, for
some reason that you won't see because of the redirections.
Temporarily replacing /dev/null with a real file might reveal the
source of the mystery.

It's not a mystery that the .dvi files are cleaned up, cf the last
line above.

   O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             Blegdamsvej 3  
  c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     2200 Cph. N   
 (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark      Ph: (+45) 35327918
~~~~~~~~~~ - (p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk)             FAX: (+45) 35327907
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