[R] Installing ncurses3 for R in Linux

Martyn Plummer plummer at iarc.fr
Mon May 3 12:12:27 CEST 1999

Dear Richard,

I am sorry that you are having problems with my R rpms. As explained
by Peter (and as stated in the README file) I link the R binary
against libncurses.so.3.0 in order to provide compatibility across all
5.x releases, since Red Hat changed from ncurses 3 to 4 between release
5.0 and 5.1 (but provide the ncurses3 package for backward compatibility).
The "bright idea" was to provide maximum utility to Red Hat users.

The bottom line is that RPMS are provided as an extra service for Red Hat
users to make life a little easier.  If they don't make life easier then
you should install from the source, which is not hard, just slower.

Richard A. Bilonick wrote:
> I've done
> rpm -i --force etc.

Never use the --force flag. Forcing an rpm installation is the road to hell.
I take the attitude that I must work with the rpm database, not against it. If
I overrule it, I should not be surprised if it is no longer useful to me.

I have managed to get though the libjpeg mess on RedHat 5.1, two incompatible
versions of the gtk+ library and all the rpms released during the development
stage of GNOME without using force, so it is possible.
> It gives an error and says that ncurses (not ncurses3) with a version number
> like 4.1.2 (I'm away from the machine and working from memory) is already
> installed. I've tried -U --force with the same result. I had a similar result
> the previous time (before I ended up re-installing RH5.2) but somehow ncurses3
> was installed (along with ncurses). When I reinstalled RH5.2 I chose the same
> options but obviously something is different.

You should never get this error message: ncurses and ncurses3 are different
packages which provide different libraries and other files. Most likely your
rpm database is corrupt.  Another (extremely unlikely) possibility is
that your ncurses3 rpm has the wrong name and is really ncurses, although how
this could happen I don't know.
> Would it be safe to remove ncurses and install just ncurses3?

No. Most packages on RedHat 5.2 require ncurses 4. 

> What about re-installing R and ncurses3 from the backup tape? Would that cause
> some sort of problem with rpm's database of installed packages?

Yes it would.

> Before I would be able to compile R I would have to get the c compiler installed
> and I'm very short on disk space at the moment.

This may be the key to your problem.  Have you ever filled up the partition
which contains the rpm database? If rpm tried to write to the rpm database
when the disk was full, you may have a corrupt database.

My suggested strategy
1) Check that your ncurses3 rpm is really ncurses3 
   rpm -qi /path.to.it/ncurses3-*.rpm
1) rpm -e ncurses3
2) rpm --verify ncurses
   rpm --verify rpm
   Reinstall if you find missing or corrupt files. Do this with any other
   packages you installed recently.
3) rpm --rebuilddb
4) rpm -Uvh /path.to.it/ncurses3*.rpm
5) rpm -Uvh /path.to.it/R-base-0.64.0-1.i386.rpm

This is as much help as I can give you.
Good luck.
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