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

Dirk Eddelbuettel edd at debian.org
Mon Feb 18 13:32:28 CET 2008


On 18 February 2008 at 09:49, Michael Dewey wrote:
| 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 

Well, "a" cd?  Was it source? Was it binary? If binary, was it versioned?

| 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? 

Correct, with the version that was current at the time of the freeze.

| Do I need to using testing, and if so is that 
| likely to have compatibility problems with my system?

Maybe. We can't tell as we don't run Xandros.

Note that CRAN has backports of R for Debian testing.
| 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.

You get the current R for Debian testing. You would need to call
install.packages() yourself for packages you need.

We cannot and do not know how testing and Xandros mix.
| 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?


	sudo apt-get build-dep r-base

which installs them for you (if you have deb-src entries for apt).

| 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.

One thing you have not mentioned is to backup your Xandros installation, and
go to regular Debian. If I were you, I'd consider that. Just run Debian
testing on the Eee. See eg


for the latest from the Debian Eee team.


Three out of two people have difficulties with fractions.

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