[R] Best 64-bit Linux distro for R?

Dirk Eddelbuettel edd at debian.org
Mon Feb 9 00:09:08 CET 2009

On 8 February 2009 at 17:27, Stavros Macrakis wrote:
| The R FAQ is very helpful about installing R on various Linuxes, but doesn't
| seem to discuss the advantages of one distribution over another.  I am new
| to Linux (though not to Unix!), and would appreciate some guidance from
| those with experience.
| I plan to set up a headless Linux x86 server for the sole purpose of running
| 64-bit R. Are there reasons to prefer some Linux distributions over others?
| I have no preference between binary and source distributions of R, as along
| as they are complete, up-to-date, easy to install, and easy to update.
| I would be accessing the server through my Windows desktop using Emacs/ESS.
| What is the recommended way to display plots on the desktop? An X server? A
| display Postscript server? Something else?
| My data come out of a DBMS; do some Linux distributions have better ODBC
| drivers than others?

Good question, and while it in general may depend on your preferences and
tastes, there are some things that make the Ubuntu amd64 _server_ flavour
appealing for your situation:

- it is meant for servers, so no extra desktop apps or processes

- Ubuntu amd64 has support via CRAN's binary set of R packages, ie you get 
  a pre-built R 2.8.1 without any extra work

- additional goodies such as ESS, littler, ... available via CRAN as well 
  in updated packages

- you still have the usual 20,000+ Ubuntu packages, including iodbc and
  unixodbc and number of related packages:
    edd at joe:~$ apt-cache search odbc| wc -l
    edd at joe:~$

It so happens that I just installed another compute server at work on Friday.
I had a cdrom handy with Ubuntu 8.04 for amd64/server -- the install was done
in a few minutes, as was the on-line upgrade to Ubuntu 8.10.  All in under
300 packages were installed as I chose a lean default.  You can probably
achieve the same using Debian's install cdroms. Your mileage may vary but a
number of us have been happy with this.  And to connect, I use Cygwin's x11
server which got updated recently and have no issues.

Hth, Dirk

Three out of two people have difficulties with fractions.

More information about the R-help mailing list