[R] R GUI for Linux?

Ernesto Jardim ernesto at ipimar.pt
Tue May 31 11:43:02 CEST 2005

Sander Oom wrote:
> Hi Charles,
> Warm felt sympathies for your struggles. I consider myself a happy GUI 
> user and have also struggled with the 'command line' history and lack of 
> out-of-the-box functionality associated with Linux. However, Linux does 
> have many, many advantages over other OS's, so I will stick to it. That 
> said, I am reluctantly suggesting it to others, as there are lots of 
> other things one can do on a Saturday afternoon. ;-)
> After many long afternoons, I have come to the conclusion that accepting 
> what comes as standard is the best approach to using Linux if you do 
> have better things to do. I tried ESS, but I found it impenetrable at my 
> first try, so gave up.
> I run SuSE linux and R without any problem. The RPM was downloaded from 
> CRAN and installed without any errors. I run update.packages to 
> download, install and refresh all contributed and other packages.
> I also looked for an R GUI, but must admit I stopped way before you did. 
> I ended up using my favorite editor (Kate, comes standard with KDE) and 
> cut and paste code into an R console (available as standard in the Kate 
> window). Gives a nice clean window for writing code and running R. Of 
> course Kate has code highlighting facilities (as standard). I soon 
> realized that the console has a limited buffer for commands, such that 
> long code sequences are abruptly ended part way through. Thus I have a 
> second console open from which I source whole R files. The setup gives a 
> relatively comfortable code debugging environment!
> I was amazed when I read the instruction for JGR on Linux. I thought the 
> whole point of Java was to create platform independent software. I have 
> given up on any instructions that tell me to run 'make'. Linux 
> distributions are just to idiosyncratic for it to be worth the effort. 
> I'll just wait until Novell packs JGR with the new version of SuSE 
> Linux. Even if I have to pay something for the added bonus!
> Will keep following the GUI developments with interest,
> Sander.
> White, Charles E WRAIR-Wash DC wrote:
>> I feel your pain. <grin> I am a new Linux user who has spent most of 
>> the weekend trying to get a functional R setup. When I installed 
>> Fedora Core 3 (FC3) on my home computer, I thought using R in a 
>> terminal would be a snap. I installed R using the rpm packages and 
>> tried to use it with the FC3 default terminal (GNOME Terminal 2.7.3). 
>> Before long, I found out the terminal was rudely discarding output 
>> beyond a set number of lines. I could increase the number of lines 
>> kept by the terminal but that didn't strike me as an acceptable 
>> solution. Cutting to my stress relieving intermediate solution, I am 
>> currently using xemacs with ESS as my R programming environment under 
>> FC3. Eventually, I will want to run JGR as my programming environment 
>> and Rcmdr as both a teaching tool and means to distribute code to some 
>> of my clients. On my way to xemacs, I also tried to install emacs and 
>> gnomeGUI. I will briefly document my experience with trying to install 
>> each of these packages below:
>> XEMACS with ESS: XEMACS is within the 'walled garden' of packages 
>> tuned specifically to run under FC3 and XEMACS provides a tuned 
>> installation for ESS. Since I had already compiled R from source with 
>> shared libraries enabled (the rmp does not enable shared libraries), I 
>> don't know if XEMACS will work with the rpm version of R. Note also 
>> that I installed this package using yum; 'Add or Remove Applications' 
>> lists xemacs but wouldn't allow me to install.
>> JGR: I have installed jdk1.5.0_03 and MOST of the the output from make 
>> looks like JGR is compiling correctly. JavaGD and rJava are not 
>> finding jini.h. I don't see an explicit statement of how to start JGR 
>> but I assume that is done by typing JGR (or maybe jgr) in a terminal 
>> window. Nothing happens. Two potential problems are: (a) I never 
>> should have downloaded JavaGD and rJava from CRAN (they won't 
>> uninstall, deleting the directories doesn't stop the problem, and I 
>> can't use yum to remove R to start over because yum doesn't recognise 
>> that R is installed.) or (b) I need to uninstall some of the stray 
>> versions of java littering my hard drive. I haven't removed the 
>> symbolic link between jre1.5.0_02 and firefox.
>> Rcmdr: There are all sorts of things in FC3 that seem to be tcl/tk 
>> related but Rcmdr doesn't seem to work with them. Since some are part 
>> of the base FC3 installation, I'm nervious about replacing them or 
>> installing competing software. Potentially conflicting software in FC3 
>> are listed below:
>> tcl.i386                                 8.4.7-2                installed
>> tclx.i386                                8.3.5-4                installed
>> db4-tcl.i386                             4.2.52-6               base
>> postgresql-tcl.i386                      7.4.8-1.FC3.1          
>> updates-released
>> ruby-tcltk.i386                          1.8.2-1.FC3.1          
>> updates-released
>> tcl-devel.i386                           8.4.7-2                base
>> tcl-html.i386                            8.4.7-2                base
>> tclx-devel.i386                          8.3.5-4                base
>> tclx-doc.i386                            8.3.5-4                base
>> EMACS with ESS: A version of EMACS is tuned to FC3 but ESS has to be 
>> obtained elsewhere. Installing ESS requires editing the hidden .emacs 
>> file. I know how to see hidden files but this one does not appear to 
>> be where the ESS directions say to look.
>> gnomeGUI: Error message says that I don't have Gnome installed. It 
>> would be nice and GNU to have a working copy of gnome GUI.
>> I hope you have found my message to be entertaining. If anybody can 
>> stop me before I do something else stupid, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
>> Chuck
>> Charles E. White, Senior Biostatistician, MS
>> Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
>> 503 Robert Grant Ave., Room 1w102
>> Silver Spring, MD 20910-1557
>> Personal/Professional Site: 
>> http://users.starpower.net/cwhite571/professional/
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Hi Charles,

I'm pretty much inline with Chuck. I use Nedit for the last 2/3 years to 
edit R files and source them into R and I'm pretty much convinced that 
it is the best way to use R.

ESS looks very good but why should I load more than 30MB on the memory 
to work on a text file ? and why do I need to lear all the tricks and 
features of emacs just to edit a text file ?

JGR looks very good but it does not really give anything new, once 
you're used with the command line.



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