[R] R on netbooks et al?

Paul Norris pnorris at staffmail.ed.ac.uk
Fri Mar 20 14:41:56 CET 2009


Just to add to this thread (with my first ever R list post).  I got a 
Dell Mini 9 (I think it is called the Inspirion 910 in the US?) 
yesterday running Ubuntu with 2GB and a 32 GB SSD.

While the machine came with Ubuntu 8.04 LTS it is a version which has 
been compiled by Dell to suit the architecture of the Atom processor. 
As such, standard 386 binaries seem to cause problems and programs need 
to be recompiled.  Downloaded R 8.2.1 source from CRAN this morning and 
it all compiled without error and runs very nicely (graphics windows 
seem appropriately sized for the screen etc).


Tsjerk Wassenaar wrote:
> Hi,
> 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.
> Cheers,
> Tsjerk
> 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>
>> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
>> Date: 08-Mar-09                                       Time: 18:20:45
>> ------------------------------ XFMail ------------------------------
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