[R] Silencing the output of install.packages()

craigcitro craigcitro at gmail.com
Thu Jul 5 20:03:49 CEST 2012

>> Is there a way to suppress the output of 'install.packages()'? I have
>> seen that the 'download.file' function has a 'quiet' option but I do
>> not know how to use it.
> I do not see any good reason to allow that. A user should see if 
> software is being installed.

Hi Uwe,

I have a proposed use-case. We run a series of unit tests in R, and want to
plug them into various continuous build/test frameworks. Part of our system
involves being able to install packages, so we need to actually run a unit
test that uses `install.packages`. For better or worse, many of these depend
on parsing the output of a test run; it's a lot of silly work to make them
parse the additional `install.packages` output (as opposed to the much
simpler `[\w]+: \.+` output from something like testthat in the case of

Two questions:
 * Is there another workaround? I'm planning on some ugly hackery on our
side to deal with this, but would love something cleaner.
 * If I were willing to write the patch, would turning these statements into
something we could suppress be acceptable for R?


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