[R] RCurl compilation error on ubuntu hardy

Emmanuel Levy emmanuel.levy at gmail.com
Wed Sep 17 06:59:51 CEST 2008

Dear list members,

I encountered this problem and the solution pointed out in a previous
thread did not work for me.
(e.g.  install.packages("RCurl", repos = "http://www.omegahat.org/R")

I work with Ubuntu Hardy, and installed R 2.6.2 via apt-get.

I really need RCurl in order to use biomaRt ... any help would be
greatly appreciated.

Best wishes,



> sessionInfo()
R version 2.6.2 (2008-02-08)


attached base packages:
[1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base

loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
[1] rcompgen_0.1-17 tools_2.6.2


> install.packages("RCurl", repos = "http://www.omegahat.org/R")
Warning in install.packages("RCurl", repos = "http://www.omegahat.org/R") :
  argument 'lib' is missing: using '/usr/local/lib/R/site-library'
trying URL 'http://www.omegahat.org/R/src/contrib/RCurl_0.9-4.tar.gz'
Content type 'application/x-gzip' length 150884 bytes (147 Kb)
opened URL
downloaded 147 Kb

* Installing *source* package 'RCurl' ...
checking for curl-config... /usr/bin/curl-config
checking for gcc... gcc
checking for C compiler default output file name... a.out
checking whether the C compiler works... yes
checking whether we are cross compiling... no
checking for suffix of executables...
checking for suffix of object files... o
checking whether we are using the GNU C compiler... yes
checking whether gcc accepts -g... yes
checking for gcc option to accept ANSI C... none needed
checking how to run the C preprocessor... gcc -E
Version has a libidn field
configure: creating ./config.status
config.status: creating src/Makevars
** libs
gcc -std=gnu99 -I/usr/share/R/include -I/usr/share/R/include
-DHAVE_LIBIDN_FIELD=1     -fpic  -g -O2 -c base64.c -o base64.o
In file included from base64.c:1:
Rcurl.h:52: error: expected specifier-qualifier-list before 'cetype_t'
make: *** [base64.o] Error 1
chmod: cannot access `/usr/local/lib/R/site-library/RCurl/libs/*': No
such file or directory
ERROR: compilation failed for package 'RCurl'
** Removing '/usr/local/lib/R/site-library/RCurl'

The downloaded packages are in
Warning message:
In install.packages("RCurl", repos = "http://www.omegahat.org/R") :
  installation of package 'RCurl' had non-zero exit status


Hi Martin,
are you working on a 64-bit linux distribution and which version of
RCurl are you trying to install? There has been a problem with a
recent version of RCurl and the "R_base64_decode", search the archives
of the Bioconductor mailing list for a thread called
"RCurl loading problem with 64 bit linux distribution".
Please try using the newest versions of R (R-2.7.0 has been released a
few weeks ago) and RCurl, which you can obtain from within R by
install.packages("RCurl", repos = "http://www.omegahat.org/R")
The new version of RCurl (>= 0.9.2) worked fine for me, while 0.9.0
and 0.9.1 did not.
Hope this helps.

martin sikora wrote:

    dear list members,

    i'm having a problem installing the biomaRt package on my linux
machine, due to the fact of a compilation error with RCurl. i am using
R 2.6.2 on fedora 7, and this is the output i get:

    gcc -m32 -std=gnu99 -I/usr/include/R -I/usr/include/R
-DHAVE_LIBIDN_FIELD=1 -I/usr/local/include    -fpic  -O2 -g -pipe
-Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector
--param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m32 -march=i386 -mtune=generic
-fasynchronous-unwind-tables -c base64.c -o base64.o
    In file included from base64.c:1:
    Rcurl.h:52: error: expected specifier-qualifier-list before ?cetype_t?
    base64.c: In function ?R_base64_decode?:
    base64.c:25: warning: pointer targets in assignment differ in signedness
    base64.c:39: warning: pointer targets in passing argument 1 of
?Rf_mkString? differ in signedness
    base64.c: In function ?R_base64_encode?:
    base64.c:60: warning: pointer targets in assignment differ in signedness
    make: *** [base64.o] Error 1

    as far as i know i have all the necessary libraries installed:

    $ yum list installed | grep libxml
    libxml2.i386                             2.6.31-1.fc7
installed      libxml2-devel.i386                       2.6.31-1.fc7
        installed      libxml2-python.i386
2.6.31-1.fc7           installed      perl-libxml-perl.noarch
        0.08-1.2.1             installed
    $ yum list installed | grep curl
    curl.i386                                7.16.4-1.fc7
installed      curl-devel.i386                          7.16.4-1.fc7
        installed      python-pycurl.i386
7.16.0-0.1.20061207.fc installed

    as i am not an expert in linux stuff, i was wondering if there
could be any other missing libraries? any other ideas?


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