[R-sig-Debian] Multiple versions of R

Dirk Eddelbuettel edd at debian.org
Sat Mar 11 03:02:14 CET 2006

On 11 March 2006 at 01:58, Gregor Gorjanc wrote:
| Hello!
| I have testing version of Debian packages and I now I have the following
| version of R
| dpkg -s r-base
| ...
| Version: 2.2.0.final-4
| ...
| In unstable, the version of R is
| apt-cache show r-base
| ...
| Version: 2.2.1-6
| ...
| ...
| Is it possible to have both versions installed at the same time? 

No -- as they would both claim to be /usr/bin/R, live in /usr/lib/R etc pp
and would hence conflict. 

Conceptually, the Debian packaging could be altered to allow for parallel
versions just like, say, emacs20 and emacs21 do. In fact, I once implemented
just that to allow octave2.0, the then stable release, to co-exist with
octave2.1 which was then bleeding edge but ...

... I rather strongly feel that this is not worth the effort for R. My
informal survey of R Core indicates that developers simply install into
different branches of /usr/local, say /usr/local/lib/R-$version which works
well enough for frequently changing builds.  And the R release cycle is both
frequent enough, and reliable enough, to get you new versions every six
months anyway (plus maybe .1 point releases).

You are of course free to create your own 'r-devel' package to live alongside
mine ...

| Which version do you usually use for R i.e. stable, testing, unstable?

Always the newest released version of R which may or may not be in Debian
unstable.  For the couple of years that I maintained the package, it almost
always immediately installed on testing too.  Sometime you need apt-pinning
(google for that if you don't know it).   On Debian stable I would take the
backport to stable provided via CRAN. Also without hesitation.

In other words, the R release process is so sound that I have no problem
throwing the newest R at whatever machine I have. 

At work I sometimes need(ed) r-devel versions, but those tend to be
non-Debian machines (Solaris, RH, ...) anyway where I'd build manually in
/usr/local anyway ....

Hope this helps,  Dirk

Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something. 
                                                  -- Thomas A. Edison

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