[R] R and ViM

Peter Dalgaard p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk
Tue Apr 18 23:44:24 CEST 2006

(Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at nessie.mcc.ac.uk> writes:

> On 18-Apr-06 Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
> >>  [...]
> >>  > RSiteSearch('vim editor')
> >>  A search query has been submitted to http://search.r-project.org
> >>  The results page should open in your browser shortly
> >>
> >> which it duly did. However -- and this is what's interesting --
> >> I entered the command in R running on my machine B, at which
> >> I'm sitting.
> >>
> >> This machine B is independently displaying the Firefox browser
> >> running on Machine C (via X Windows; Linux on both machines).
> >>
> >> And that's the browser where the search results appeared.
> >>
> >> So R running on B can hijack Firefox on C. How does it know?
> > 
> > ?browseURL
> Wow! Wonders never cease! (Still unsure about the underlying
> mechanism, but then X can be a hall of mirrors to the uninitiated).
> Thanks for the hint!
> Ted.

Actually, I think this belongs in a group of _mis_features in the
current user interface landscape, along with saved sessions & the
like. It sounds smart, right until you want to view a file on machine
B, say file://foo, which machine C and hence Firefox has no knowledge
about. You then realize that the only way you are going to view that
file is to shut down Firefox on C and start a new one on B. Attempting
to start one on B, as in "firefox file://foo" will just send a message
to the one on C telling it to display file://foo...

I usually get bitten by this in the reverse situation: remote login to
work machine, run R, do help.start(), and "Firefox can't find the file
at /tmp/RtmpZVbVef/.R/doc/html/index.html".

It sort of indicates missing perspective on the part of the
developers: They have forgotten about the fact that browsers might be
used for information *not* on the Internet.

(SAS tries to get around the problem of non-local access to its help
pages by setting up a local HTTP server, only to be foiled by

   O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             Øster Farimagsgade 5, Entr.B
  c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     PO Box 2099, 1014 Cph. K
 (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark          Ph:  (+45) 35327918
~~~~~~~~~~ - (p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk)                  FAX: (+45) 35327907

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