[R] incoherent conversions from/to raw

Wacek Kusnierczyk Waclaw.Marcin.Kusnierczyk at idi.ntnu.no
Thu Mar 19 10:17:20 CET 2009

Wacek Kusnierczyk wrote:
> interestingly,
>     c(1, as.raw(1))
>     # error: type 'raw' is unimplemented in 'RealAnswer'

three more comments.

the above is interesting in the light of what ?c says:

The output type is determined from the highest type of the
     components in the hierarchy NULL < raw < logical < integer < real
     < complex < character < list < expression.

which seems to suggest that raw components should be coerced to whatever
the highest type among all arguments to c, which clearly doesn't happen:

    test = function(type)
        c(as.raw(1), get(sprintf('as.%s',type))(1))

    for (type in c('null', 'logical', 'integer', 'real', 'complex',
'character', 'list', 'expression'))
       tryCatch(test(type), error = function(e) cat(sprintf("raw won't
coerce to %s type\n", type)))

which shows that raw won't coerce to the four first types in the
'hierarchy' (excluding NULL), but it will to character, list, and

suggestion:   improve the documentation, or adapt the implementation to
a more coherent design.

incidentally, there's a bug somewhere there related to the condition
system and printing:

    tryCatch(stop(), error=function(e) print(e))
    # works just fine

    tryCatch(stop(), error=function(e) sprintf('%s', e))
    # *** caught segfault ***
    # address (nil), cause 'memory not mapped'

    # Traceback:
    # 1: sprintf("%s", e)
    # 2: value[[3]](cond)
    # 3: tryCatchOne(expr, names, parentenv, handlers[[1]])
    # 4: tryCatchList(expr, classes, parentenv, handlers)
    # 5: tryCatch(stop(), error = function(e) sprintf("%s", e))

    # Possible actions:
    # 1: abort (with core dump, if enabled)
    # 2: normal R exit
    # 3: exit R without saving workspace
    # 4: exit R saving workspace
    # Selection:
interestingly, it is possible to stay in the session by typing ^C.  the
session seems to work, but if the tryCatch above is tried once again, a
segfault causes r to crash immediately:

    # ^C
    tryCatch(stop(), error=function(e) sprintf('%s', e))
    # [whoever at wherever] $

however, this doesn't happen if some other code is evaluated first:

    # ^C
    x = 1:10^8
    tryCatch(stop(), error=function(e) sprintf('%s', e))
    # Error in sprintf("%s", e) : 'getEncChar' must be called on a CHARSXP
this can't be a feature.  (tried in both 2.8.0 and r-devel;  version
info at the bottom.)

suggestion:  trace down and fix the bug.

the error argument to tryCatch is used in two examples in ?tryCatch, but
it is not explained anywhere in the help page.  one can guess that the
argument name corresponds to the class of conditions the handler will
handle, but it would be helpful to have this stated explicitly.  the
help page simply says:

   If a condition is signaled while evaluating 'expr' then
     established handlers are checked, starting with the most recently
     established ones, for one matching the class of the condition.
     When several handlers are supplied in a single 'tryCatch' then the
     first one is considered more recent than the second. 

which is uninformative in this respect -- what does 'one matching the
class' mean?

suggestion:  improve the documentation.


> version
platform       i686-pc-linux-gnu          
arch           i686                       
os             linux-gnu                  
system         i686, linux-gnu            
major          2                          
minor          8.0                        
year           2008                       
month          10                         
day            20                         
svn rev        46754                      
language       R                          
version.string R version 2.8.0 (2008-10-20)

> version
system         i686,
status         Under development
svn rev       
version.string R version 2.9.0 Under development (unstable) (2009-03-19

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