[R] bug in dev.copy2pdf output?

David Winsemius dwinsemius at comcast.net
Sat Jul 30 19:07:11 CEST 2011

On Jul 30, 2011, at 10:39 AM, selwyn quan wrote:

> On Sat, 30 Jul 2011, Rolf Turner wrote:
>> On 29/07/11 19:57, Martin Maechler wrote:
>> <SNIP>
>>> but *also* see the  *workaround* for the bug that has been on
>>> R's   ?pdf  help page  for  years  [!!!!]
>>> -->  search for "q" (including the quotes).
>>> Why oh why oh why ... are people always thinkg of bugs in R
>>>     when they notice something and
>>> why oh why oh why do they then "google around" instead of just
>>> once carefully read the help pages that we have been writing
>>> with much diligence, and have constantly been keeping current
>>> ... aarrgghh.... {mentally tearing at my few remaining hairs ..}
>> Might I ***ever so humbly*** suggest that some sort of
>> (brief) cross reference to the note in the pdf help be placed
>> in the help for dev.copy2pdf?
>> It's all very well to say RTFM, but when one is dealing with
>> "clyde" one tends to read TFM for "clyde" and not TFM for
>> "melvin" with which one is not dealing.  In this case "melvin"
>> is ``obviously'' (**) related to "clyde" and therefore one might
>> reasonably conjecture that there may be some useful insight
>> into one's problems given in the help for "melvin".  But then
>> there might be useful insight available in a lot of places, such
>> as the dark side of the moon.  Where does one start if one
>> doesn't really understand WTF is going in the first place?
>>   cheers,
>>       Rolf Turner
>> (**) NOTHING is ever obvious unless you already know it.
> FWIW, scanned ?dev.copy2pdf, searched the R bugzilla and googled for  
> bugs against dev.copy2pdf BEFORE sending the email.

Except there are handy little links to the pdf page in ?dev.copy2pdf  
_and_ it wasn't a bug in dev.copy2pdf. I doubt Prof. Ripley is going  
to be at all persuaded by this admission that your your first thought  
was "bug in R".

> Looking at ?pdf or using ZapfDingbats as a search term was not the  
> first thing that came to mind.

A search on "pdf rendering points" at Baron's search-site also pulls up:


> We do all appreciate the diligence and effort that have gone into  
> writing the help pages but a link in dev.copy2pdf would certainly  
> have helped.

Wouldn't that reasoning strategy then also require a similar message  
in _every_ plotting function? The pdf graphics device is the final  
common node for many such possible pathways.

David Winsemius, MD
West Hartford, CT

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