[R-SIG-Mac] R version on gifi

Ricardo Azevedo razevedo at uh.edu
Wed Jun 18 19:41:56 MEST 2003

> On Tue, 17 Jun 2003 Alex Buerkle <buerkla at uwec.edu> wrote:
> I think it is great that a native graphics device is being built for R.
> This will make it useable for a larger number of users.
> However, I want to echo Don MacQueen's statement that there are users
> out there who want to continue to use R with an X11 graphics device on
> OS X.  I would like to see the build process continue to have that as a
> clean and easy option.  I think it might be even be worthwhile to
> distribute binaries that support both RAqua and X11 devices.
> It is perhaps somewhat off-topic, but I don't think fink has lost its
> usefulness.  Fink will not be used by the majority of users of R on OS
> X.  However, for me, and I suspect many others, the package management
> is very useful and makes it easy to have access to many tools (window
> managers for X [with multiple desktops!], xfig, tetex, gv, emacs [I
> know a there's a dev version that is native], etc).  Obtaining all
> these different softwares from various porters' websites, and without a
> unified package management scheme, seems much less desirable than the
> use of fink.  I would welcome insights and suggestions that would show
> me another, easier way, but I think it is premature to dismiss fink.

I like to avoid writing messages saying "I agree with everything so and 
so says", but I felt compelled to do so in this case, because of some 
pronouncements that have been made in the name of the "real OS X user" 
in this list.  So here goes: I agree with all 3 main points in Alex's 

First, development of R for Aqua and of the quartz() device are 
excellent endeavors which I wholeheartedly support.

Second, many OS X users will prefer to keep using R for X11, at least 
for a while.  For example, the last time I checked the native OS X 
versions of GNU Emacs/XEmacs I found them seriously deficient, compared 
with running them on X11.  Also, the continued support of X11.app from 
Apple will strengthen that option.

Third, and to me this is not an off-topic point, decreasing support for 
fink would make me very unhappy.  I was appalled by Simon Urbaneck's 
suggestion that only developers use fink.  On the contrary, my 
experience gives me the impression that "non-developer users of Mac OS 
X that want to use Unix applications" make up an important part of the 
fink user community.  I would urge that R developers for Mac OS X 
support all "porting" projects.  Since, at the moment, fink is by far 
the most important of these projects (with DarwinPorts coming up, and 
Gentoo preparing to enter the field), that means supporting fink.  Many 
of us don't have time to do everything by hand and rely on these 
porting efforts for our software.  I for one have been using R (among 
many other programs) from fink for over a year, without any major 
problems.  Altogether fink has made my experience of open source 
software at least as good, if not better, as that of commercial 
software.  So for now I would like to stick with it.



Ricardo B.R. Azevedo, PhD
Assistant Professor
Dept. Biology & Biochemistry
University of Houston
Houston, TX 77204-5001
Tel: 713-743 4149
Fax: 713-743 2636
Email: razevedo at uh.edu
Website: WWWorm.biology.uh.edu

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