[R] CDs for R?

(Ted Harding) Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk
Tue Nov 16 22:39:14 CET 2004

Hi Folks,

I'm sure I'm speaking for more than a few (though
possibly a minority) here.

There's something of a hidden assumption that R users
can readily download whatever they need from CRAN.

Some of us are on narrow bandwidth dialup connections,
so downloading large quantities of stuff is out of the
question (e.g. at approx. 5min/MB, it would take over
2 days to download a single CD). The meat of CRAN
(including contributed packages and documentation)
is enough to fill 5 CDs, though one individual probably
wouldn't be interested in all of that.

(And, before anyone asks, no I won't be seeing broadband
in the foreseeable future!)

I've worked round this in various ways in the past.
Some Linux distributions (e.g. RedHat, SuSE) come with the
basics of R on their CDs, so when I've upgraded Linux
I've got a new R (though not the latest). Linux Emporium
once obligingly did me a custom CD very cheaply with the
contributed packages. A friend with high-bandwidth access
did me the 5 CDs in return for a pub lunch. And so on.
One can get round it by bothering someone.

What I'd like to suggest, for consideration, is that along
with the stirling work done at many centres to set up and
maintain mirrors of CRAN, some might consider offering also
the service of burning CDs on request, for a reasonable
charge. The difficulty, of course, is that it's going to
take someone's time om something which may well not be
their proper business.

(I'm prompted to think about this again by the emergence
of R-2 -> 2.0.1 -> one day soon? -> 2.1. This is clearly
a major advance in R and changes several things, so I'm
looking at a major download operation, if not by me then
by somebody that I can get CDs from, if I'm to be sure
of being up to date on everything I'd like to have. And
I'm sure I'm not the only one.)

I'd be interested in people's comments on this proposal.

Best wishes to all,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861  [NB: New number!]
Date: 16-Nov-04                                       Time: 21:39:14
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