[R-sig-Debian] Confused about versions of R and Debian

Michael Dewey info at aghmed.fsnet.co.uk
Mon Feb 18 10:49:06 CET 2008

I have recently acquired an Asus EEE PC which runs a version of 
Xandros which I believe to be a fork of Debian. I have been using R 
under various versions of Windows for some years but this is my first 
move into the world of Unix. I have installed Texlive from a CD and I 
have successfully added a UK-based repository and installed Texmaker. 
Now I would like to add R. There are dire warnings on the EEE forums 
about the dangers of using Debian repositories so I would like some 
more advice before I download things.

1 - If I download from the Debian repository using stable (which is 
the distribution I have - etch) will I get old versions of R? I do 
not understand what stable means here, is it like being frozen at 
some point in time? Do I need to using testing, and if so is that 
likely to have compatibility problems with my system?

2 - If I download from my favourite CRAN (Bristol, UK) it seems I do 
not get all the contributed packages. Is that correct? If so I do not 
quite see the point so I suspect I misunderstand here.

3 - As a last resort I should install from sources but a poster to 
R-help suggested he had had problems with this. Where do I find what 
versions of compilers and so on I need to build from source?

I know I should just try it and see but I am reluctant to do that 
because of the dire warnings about damaging the system by using 
non-Xandros repositories. I also do not yet know how to un-install 
things either.

For the record I am using the command line and apt-get and I have 
enabled pinning to give the EEE repositories highest priority.

Michael Dewey

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