[R-pkg-devel] install.packages() seems not to select the latest suitable version

Adelchi Azzalini @zz@||n| @end|ng |rom @t@t@un|pd@|t
Tue Jul 28 11:46:08 CEST 2020

When I updated package mnormt to version 2.0.0 in June (now at 2.0.1), 
at the stage of --as-cran checking, there was a compilation error,  
which was overcome by setting the 

Depends:	R (≥ 4.0.0)

With this option, all worked fine.

However, shortly afterwards, complaints started coming, 
either from users or from maintainers of packages making use of mnormt,
because this high version dependence causes troubles to some people,
such as those using Debian installations, currently at a much lower 
R version.

At the time I select that dependence value, I relied on the fact that
install.packages() selected the most recent suitable version of a package,
given the existing R installation. I expected that people without
R 4.0.0 would have the older version of mnormt, 1.5-7, installed.
As my memory goes (and the memory of other people too), this was 
the working in the past, but apparently not any more. 

For instance, this is a passage from a specific user:
"install.packages() used tp just install the most recent available 
for your current version of R.  In the past it might have done just that, 
but that's clearly not the case currently."

Can anyone clarify the reason of this (apparent? real?) change?
...and possibly indicate a way who people with lower R version (and perhaps
limited R expertise) can install the older version of mnormt, 1.5-7, 
without much hassle?

Adelchi Azzalini

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