[R-sig-Debian] "Graphics history" in UNIX

Ross Boylan ross at biostat.ucsf.edu
Sat Jul 10 20:54:27 CEST 2010

On Thu, 2010-07-08 at 16:41 +0200, Scotti Roberto wrote:
> stimulates a very basic question: "Is it possible to avoid building
> from 
> source using R in Kubuntu?
> I shifted over from MS only recently. In Windows I used to easily 
> download packages and use them.
> Now, every time I downloaded a new piece, I had the impression that 
> building from source was necessary.
> Am I wrong?
> Many thanks Roberto
Generally, building from source is not necessary.  I think the other
responses agreeing that it is necessary were assuming you were
interested in some slightly exotic R package (which may be the case).

The point of most distributions is to provide pre-compiled binary
packages; particularly on Debian these are very good about indicating
what other packages they require.  If you use a tool like aptitude and
tell it you want package X, it will automatically pull in all other
required packages.  Ubuntu is a Debian derivative.

Both R and many of its packages are in Debian.

If you have a package that is not already built you can build it
yourself or use cran2deb (assuming it's on CRAN).  As others have noted,
cran2deb is only intended for Debian testing (aka squeeze) on some
architectures.  It's also currently a bit broken.  You can try using the
archive in another environment (e.g., Ubuntu), but if you want something
that is not a gamble for R, running Debian testing (maybe in a VM) would
be the safest route.  Of course, it's called testing rather than stable
for a reason.

I think the cran2deb packages, which are generated automatically, are
less likely to have complete dependency information than those in the
main distribution.

Finally, you expressed concern for your students.  You can build a
binary package locally and then your students can use it.  Doing so for
someone new to Linux is probably a heavy lift.

Ross Boylan

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