[R] How does one start R within Emacs/ESS with root privileges?

Karl Brand k.brand at erasmusmc.nl
Fri Sep 9 18:19:31 CEST 2011

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and suggestions.

I see now the logic of making use of my user library which doesn't 
require root privs. Apparently linux is actually set up to work well - 
something i'm not used to from the other OS i've used till now.

And for the rare times i do need to install into the system-wide 
library, i think i'll survive in the terminal :P



On 2011-09-07 17:08, Spencer Graves wrote:
> Under Vista and Windows 7, I install R in a local directory "pgms" so I
> never have to worry about permissions.
> Under Linux, I use "su" not "sudo". Then I call R and install.packages.
> Then I quit R and "su" and continue with what I want.
> hope this helps.
> Spencer
> On 9/7/2011 5:11 AM, Karl Brand wrote:
>> Cheers Paul.
>> Its a very good point. Although i am curious how badly i can damage my
>> R install by running as root. I always ran R in windows with admin.
>> privileges without problems (touch wood). Probably best to never find
>> out by sticking with user privileges.
>> However, even for taking care of R install/maint. i'd prefer to do
>> this interactively within Emacs rather than the terminal. Motivated by
>> this, i'd still like to find out how to invoke R with root privileges.
>> I've also reposted the original email on perhaps a more appropriate
>> forum at: ESS-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
>> Karl
>> On 2011-09-07 11:02, Paul Hiemstra wrote:
>>> On 09/07/2011 08:54 AM, Karl Brand wrote:
>>>> Esteemed UseRs and DevelopeRs,
>>>> Apologies if this question belongs else where, but it does concern R's
>>>> package installation/maintenance.
>>>> How does one start R within Emacs/ESS with root privileges?
>>>> I tried without success:
>>>>> M-x sudo R
>>>> Why i'm motivated to do so:
>>>> It seems logical to me, as the only user of the PC, to keep my R
>>>> library consolidated in the universal library rather than splitting
>>>> into universal and user libraries. Hence the desire to run R as root.
>>> Hi Karl,
>>> Why the need to install packages in root? As you are the only user there
>>> is not reason to install them system wide (to make them available to all
>>> users, which is just you). Installing the packages in your homedir
>>> solves your problem much easier, without the need to run R as root
>>> continuously. I think you should not run anything as root if it is not
>>> absolutely needed, which could potentially damage your system
>>> (accidentally overwriting something).
>>> hope this helps,
>>> Paul
>>>> In addition, it's nice to be able to install packages 'on the fly'
>>>> when and as needed and not need to launch a separate R session (as
>>>> root) in the terminal just to install a package.
>>>> Migrating from windows, i'm completey new to linux (ubuntu) and am
>>>> seeing for myself if Emacs/ESS is as good as its purported to be. So
>>>> maybe my motivation is nonsensical to expereinced ESS/R users. If so
>>>> i'd really appreciate tips on efficient package
>>>> installation/maintenance using Emacs/ESS.
>>>> TIA,
>>>> karl

Karl Brand <k.brand at erasmusmc.nl>
Department of Genetics
Erasmus MC
Dr Molewaterplein 50
3015 GE Rotterdam
P +31 (0)10 704 3455 | F +31 (0)10 704 4743 | M +31 (0)642 777 268

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