[R] installing R on slackware linux, another route

Christopher Marshall CHRISTOPHERLMARSHALL at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 20 23:36:16 CET 2000

I have been reading the archives of this list and
noticed a post from Murray Jorgensen asking about how
to install R under slackware.

The replies were all to the effect that he should
compile from the source.

There is another path that is better for some

Download the red hat binary package, the .rpm file,
then run rpm2targz on it, a slackware program designed
to convert rpm packages to slackware packages.

For some strange reason, you then have to rename the
resulting file from *.tar.gz to *.tgz or pkgtool, the
native package management program for slackware, won't
like it.

In the same directory, run pkgtool.  pkgtool will then
ask you, for each *.tgz file it finds in the current
directory, if you want to install it or not.

Answer yes for the R tgz file (whatever the filename
winds up being at this point), and pkgtool will copy
all of the files where they need to be.

This is a better way of installin R, in my opinion,
because the package manager keeps track of all of the
files in the installed packages on your system and
lets you remove packages cleanly when you don't want
them anymore.

If you look in the directory /var/adm/packages, you
will find a bunch of plain text files, one for each
packaged installed on your system.  If you view one of
the files, it just consists of a few notes up top
describing the package, then a comprehensive list of
every directory and every file installed by the

This list is used by pkgtool to pull off the
uninstall.  It deletes every file in the list that
does not appear in any other package listing.  This
package management scheme is so beautiful it brings
tears to my eyes just thinking about it.  You want to
know which package some owns some goofy file on your
system?  Just go to /var/adm/packages and type "grep
filename *" and viola!

I installed R two days ago using this very procedure
with only one hiccup.  When I tried to start R, is
complained that it couldn't find libncurses.so.4, a
library it is dynamically linked to.  I checked my
/lib directory and found that my version of slackware
(7.0) uses libncurses.so.5, a more recent version of
the library.

I simply added a symbolic link in the lib directory to
point from libncurses.so.4 to libncurses.so.5 so the
dynamic linker would link in the version 5 library
when version 4 was requested.  R seems to run fine and
never noticed the difference.

To add such a link, go to /lib as root and type

ln -sf libncurses.so.5 libncurses.so.4

That is the only tweaking I had to do.

Chris Marshall

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