[R] R on netbooks et al?

Tsjerk Wassenaar tsjerkw at gmail.com
Tue Mar 10 08:57:23 CET 2009


For what it's worth, it's a trivial operation to replace the on-board
1Gb with a 2Gb module, which doesn't cost too much. Okay, being a bit
demanding I also replaced the hard-disk with a 320 Gb one to harbour a
dual boot ubuntu-eee / windows XP. But that does give a machine which
is a worthy replacement of the once state-of-the art Acer Travelmate
800 I used to have. I happily run R and even virtual machines using
VMWare. Truth be told, it being a netbook, you may want to rely on and
connect to external computational resources for the real heavy stuff.



On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 7:20 PM, Ted Harding
<Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk> wrote:
> On 08-Mar-09 17:44:18, Douglas Bates wrote:
>> On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 7:08 AM, Michael Dewey <info at aghmed.fsnet.co.uk>
>> wrote:
>>> At 08:47 05/03/2009, herrdittmann at yahoo.co.uk wrote:
>>>> Dear useRs,
>>>> With the rise of netbooks and 'lifestyle laptops" I am tempted
>>>> to get one of these to mainly run R on it. Processor power and
>>>> hard disk space seem to be ok. What I wonder is the handling and
>>>> feel with respect to R.
>>>> Has anyone here installed or is running R on one of these, and
>>>> if so, what is your experience? Would it be more of a nice looking
>>>> gadget than a feasable platform to do some stats on?
>>> One issue is whether you wish to use Linux or Windows. If you do
>>> use Linux I would advise picking a netbook with one of the standard
>>> distributions. The early EEE PC had Xandros and dire warnings about
>>> using the Debian repositiories. In fact I had no problem despite a
>>> total lack of experience although I am not sure what will happy with
>>> the recent move to lenny.
>> Because I have used Debian Linux and Debian-based distributions
>> like Ubuntu for many years, I installed a eee-specific version of
>> Ubuntu within a day or two of getting an ASUS eee pc1000. There are
>> currently at least two versions of Ubuntu, "easy peasy" and eeebuntu,
>> that are specific to the eee pc models.  I started with "easy peasy"
>> at the time it was called something else (Ubuntu eee?) and later
>> switched to eeebuntu. In both cases packages for the latest versions
>> of R from the Ubuntu package repository on CRAN worked flawlessly.
>> I find the netbook to be very convenient.  Having a 5 hour battery
>> life and a weight of less than 3 pounds is wonderful. I teach all of
>> my classes with it and even use it at home (attached to a monitor,
>> USB keyboard and mouse and an external hard drive) in lieu of a
>> desktop computer. (I have been eyeing the "eee box" covetously
>> but have not yet convinced myself that I really need yet another
>> computer). I develop R packages on it and don't really notice that
>> it is "under-powered" by today's standards. Of course, when I
>> started computing and even when I started working with the S
>> language the memory capacity of computers was measured in kilobytes
>> so the thought of "only" 1Gb of memory doesn't cause me to shriek
>> in horror.
> Thanks for sharing your experiences, Doug. Given that devices like
> the EeePC are marketed in terms of "less demanding" users, it's good
> to know what it is like for a "hard user". Further related comments
> would be welcome!
> I have to agree about the RAM issue too. My once-trusty old Sharp
> MZ-80B CP/M machine (early 1980s), with its 64KB and occupying
> a good 0.25 m^3 of physical space, would have to be replicated
> 2^14 = 16384 times over to give the same RAM (and occupy some
> 400 m^3 of space, say 7.4m x 7.4m x 7.4m, or about the size of
> my house). Now I have things on my desk, about the size of my
> thumb, with 8MB in each.
> Ted.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding at manchester.ac.uk>
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> Date: 08-Mar-09                                       Time: 18:20:45
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Tsjerk A. Wassenaar, Ph.D.
Junior UD (post-doc)
Biomolecular NMR, Bijvoet Center
Utrecht University
Padualaan 8
3584 CH Utrecht
The Netherlands
P: +31-30-2539931
F: +31-30-2537623

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