[R-pkg-devel] What's recommended to do on "Suggests or Enhances not in mainstream repositories: ..."?

Henrik Bengtsson henrik.bengtsson at gmail.com
Sun May 22 01:45:19 CEST 2016

On Sat, May 21, 2016 at 8:22 AM, Marius Hofert
<marius.hofert at uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
> Hi,
> I have (co-)developed two packages: 'qrmtools' and 'qrmdata'. The
> latter contains data sets and is currently only available on R-Forge
> (as it is larger than 5MB and thus not accepted for CRAN [although
> there are much larger packages, but that's a different story...]).
> 'qrmtools' contains mainly tools that show what can be done with data
> such as the one contained in 'qrmdata' -- and thus has 'qrmdata' in
> Suggests. The check shows 'Suggests or Enhances not in mainstream
> repositories: qrmdata'; I also added 'Additional_repositories:
> http://r-forge.r-project.org/' to DESCRIPTION.... but of course
> winbuilder reports errors as it can't find 'qrmdata'.

First, there are plenty of CRAN package using:

Additional_repositories: http://r-forge.r-project.org/

is used, cf. https://github.com/search?q=org%3Acran+Additional_repositories%3A+http%3A%2F%2Fr-forge.r-project.org&type=Code

so this should be ok. I'm using it too.

> I'm wondering about what I am supposed to do: Remove everything about
> 'qrmdata' from 'qrmtools'? Clearly, the easiest solution, but that's a
> bit dull as the 'qrmtools' can be nicely used to deal with the data
> from 'qrmdata'.

It sounds that one of your vignettes, examples or package tests
requires the qrmdata package.  It is ok to use:

Suggests: qrmdata

but then you should make sure it is truly optional throughout, i.e. use

if (require("qrmdata")) {
  ## Use qrmdata functions here

in your tests, examples etc.

This is common practice. See also Writing R Extensions.

Maybe there's something else to it?  It would help clarify your
problem if we could see the R CMD check issues and the code (online

My $.02


> How 'severe' is this issue for vignettes? I guess since they are
> checked as well, one would run into the same problem. But then a
> vignette even more so should show/replicate the functionality of a
> paper, say, and there one would definitely like to work with the
> data...
> The only partially related thread I found was
> https://stat.ethz.ch/pipermail/r-package-devel/2015q2/000002.html
> In any case, I continue to pray to the R gods in the hope that the 5MB
> limit will change for data-related packages (which are updated very
> rarely) at some point in the future... Some 'adaptive limits' would be
> nice: The less often you submit, the larger the data package can be
> (for example), up to a certain larger limit more suitable for
> data-related packages.
> Any ideas on (all of) that?
> Cheers,
> Marius
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