[R] CDs for R?

Jari Oksanen jarioksa at sun3.oulu.fi
Wed Nov 17 16:27:22 CET 2004

On Wed, 2004-11-17 at 16:54, Dirk Eddelbuettel wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 17, 2004 at 08:25:54AM +0200, Jari Oksanen wrote:
> > 
> > On 16 Nov 2004, at 23:39, (Ted Harding) wrote:
> > Now comes my suggestion to CRAN maintainer: this all would be easier, 
> > if you would produce a CD image file ('iso') that would contain a 
> > snapshot of the latest version: main binaries, all contributed 
> > packages, and docs. Getting somebody to help downloading this iso would 
> > be much easier than trying to collect all first and then make up your 
> > own cd image.
> It's volunteer effort, so someone actually has to do this. Can you help?
Probably not. Not because I wouldn't be willing, but I may not be

I have done this a couple of time using wget to build a local "subtree"
of selected parts of CRAN. Then running mkisofs was pretty simple. I
guess this could be automated pretty easily if you have the repository
already at hand: all you need is mkisofs + info of its targets. However,
I am not that kind of guru.

All this would require that people think this is worthwhile. I think
that the general feeling has been that there is no need for a
"R-current.iso" snapshot (or the same as a valid Windows name). So this
is an academic issue (suits me).

> > 
> > To Dirk Eddelbuettel: Yes indeed, Ubuntu gives human face to Debian and 
> > is a much more pleasant experience. However, changing OS for R may be 
> > asking too much. Further, Ubuntu/Debian comes with a tiny and biased 
> > selection of packages, and if that's not your kind of bias, you have 
> > got to go to the Internet again. Further, Ubuntu (and other Linuxes) 
> Again, it reflects the interests of the volunteers involved. If you want to
> see other things done, come join in and do them.
I know this is volunteer work, and I do appreciate this volunteer work.
It is all biased -- hence the formulation of "your kind of bias". At the
moment I have no idea how to build a deb package of R packages, so I
don't know what to say. 

> > lag behind R. The current Ubuntu release comes with R 1.9.1, and it 
> > won't be upgraded but in the next release scheduled for April 2005 (and 
> > just in the same time as the next R, so that Ubuntu will be one R 
> > version off again). I guess the lag is even worse in packages.
> This actually requires a response. Here is a quick log (from my mail folder)
> about what new packages (of mine, can't speak for others) got uploaded
> recently -- in most cases, this is on the day of the source release, so the
> lag would be close to zero.
> Now, if and when these get pressed into a release by Debian or Ubuntu I do
> not control. Which is, I guess, why we're discussing archive snapshots in
> this thread. 
They go, I guess, through a testing period in Debian, and if they don't
wait for anybody else, they may appear in some version of Debian after
that. In Debian repository you typically see much older versions. As to
Ubuntu (that I know a bit better), they will go into next release which
is nearly six months ahead (they are not upgraded in between). 

Actually, Ubuntu is a bad choice if you just want to have R, since R is
not among the core packages, but it is unsupported. Moreover, Ubuntu is
a bad choice for the original problem of slow wires: Even for an
ordinary install you need internet connection, if you want to get beyond
a very rudimentary system. I just forgot this in my previous message:
when you're wired, you think it's natural to be wired. So forget Ubuntu
if you want to have R without fast internet connection. 

I have Ubuntu since it was about the only easily managed powerpc system
I found. At the moment, I have R 2.0.0 built from source distribution
there. Packages are from source files, too. 

Thanks for the good work with Debian!

cheers, jari oksanen
Jari Oksanen <jarioksa at sun3.oulu.fi>

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