[R] Installing Damn Small Linux and R

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Tue Mar 7 08:36:45 CET 2006

We have just increased (for R 2.3.0) the minimum memory requirement for R 
under Windows from 16 to 32Mb.  I do still have a sub-notebook running 
Windows 98 with 64Mb RAM (and a 6Gb disc) that I fire up from time to time 
to check these things, and it can do a lot in that memory size.

The vast majority of the CRAN package tests for R run in less than 64Mb on 
a 32-bit Linux system, although a few need much more.  (A couple need over 
1Gb on a 64-bit system.)

On Mon, 6 Mar 2006, charles loboz wrote:

> Installing Damn Small Linux and R
> Following my experiences with Knoppix (described in
> another mail) I did similar test on Damn Small Linux
> (dsl -http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/ ). DSL was
> interesting, because it is the smallest yet fully
> functional version of Linux, hence more suited to
> older and smaller computers than Knoppix. Importantly,
> it uses lightweight windowing system (no KDE or GNOME)
> so its memory requirements are much smaller. Also,  it
> seems to have a lively user community, which saved me
> a lot of work.
> DSL can be used as 'live CD' but can also be installed
> on a hard disk - I followed the instructions on
> http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/dsl-hd-install.html ,
> using the latest DSL 2.2b version . (I installed it to
> an empty machine, so no dual-boot considerations were
> important).  Upon startup the memory usage  reported
> was 20mb (not 30 as I mentioned in my Knoppix
> article).
> Trying to follow the same way of installing R as with
> Knoppix I discovered that many more libraries are
> missing or are older in DSL than in Knoppix.
> There is a list of packages already prepared for
> installation on DSL at
> http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub/linux/distributions/damnsmall/mydsl/
> and to my joy one of them (under 'applications') was
> R.tar.gz (version 2.0.1)
> Using identical procedure as described in the Knoppix
> article I transferred that through an USB drive to
> /opt directory, then executed
>       tar -xvzf R.tar.gz
> It created /opt/R directory. In bin directory I
> executed R shell script and it simply worked. After
> that I decided to get adventerous and, from the same
> place (under 'system'), I downloaded tcltk8.3.dsl .
> That is a special packaging for DSL extensions and
> http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/wiki/index.php/Installing_MyDSL_Extensions
> describes how to install them. Actually it is as
> simple as opening the file manager EmelFM ,
> higlighting the tcltk8.3 file and pressing the button
> 'MyDSL'.
> After that I could run Rtcltk script, which started
> the R GUI. Memory usage was 40mb at that stage.
> The whole process took less than one hour and at the
> end of it I had fully functional R installation,
> including GUI. And enough memory spare (80mb) for a
> lot of calculations.
> P.S. I tested also OpenOffice.uci - a mountable
> version of OpenOffice 2.0 and it started and worked
> without problems. The memory usage after starting
> Writer was around 60mb (R was not running at that time
> - just the Writer). I expected more, following dire
> warnings on the DSL site.
> P.P.S. Judging by these numbers there is a possiblity
> that with DSL, any old computer with 64mb memory and
> 1gb hard drive can comfortably run R and OpenOffice.
> The interface is not so cute as in Knoppix, but for a
> working computer it quite comfortable and rather fast.

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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