[R-pkg-devel] Has GitHub been used as a CRAN-style repository?

Bruce Hoff bruce.hoff at sagebase.org
Wed Apr 27 15:00:33 CEST 2016

Dear All:

devtools::install_github() is great but, as I understand it, limited to
installing from source code.  Is there any precedent for using a public
repository like GitHub as a CRAN-style repository, so that one can install
like so:

install.packages("mypackage", repos= "https://github.com/myrepo/mypackage")

This would allow the distribution of packages that need compilation without
requiring that the user set up a build system and would leverage R's
ability to find and install dependencies (by stringing together multiple
URLs in the 'repos' parameter).  Of course there's a greater burden on the
package provider, who has to build their package for Mac and Windows.

It strikes me that this could be a good way to decentralize CRAN, allowing
it to be maintained by package owners rather than a central authority.

I searched around but could not find examples of people using Github in
this way.

Bruce Hoff
Sage Bionetworks

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