[R-SIG-Mac] install.packages default type change? mac.binary vs source

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Fri Jul 22 03:51:18 CEST 2005

On Jul 21, 2005, at 5:59 AM, James Wettenhall wrote:

> In the past, I believe that MacOS X users could use install.packages()
> successfully without any package 'type' specification, even though  
> there
> is no .tgz file, but now it seems that they need to explicitly say:
> install.packages(..., type="source")
> Right?

If they use the GUI, Package Installer makes it easier for them ...

> Is this a permanent change?

FWIW: strictly speaking this is not a new change - the documentation  
was describing exactly this behavior for a while - it was merely a  
bug that the package installation implementation wasn't really  
following the documentation.

The main reason for this behavior is that unlike other unix systems  
OS X comes by default without development tools, so you simply cannot  
use type="source". Therefore the default is to use binary packages  
which is the recommended way.

> Or are these the only choices?
> 1. Build a Mac binary every time I update the version number in the  
> file.
>   OR
> 2. Tell all users that they need to use type="source", now.
>   OR
> 3. Submit my package to a repository where Win32 and Mac binaries are
> built for me.

I would recommend 3 if the package is of general interest or 1 if for  
some reason you don't want to publish is openly. I would discourage 2  
for the reasons mentioned above.

For now you can "fake" the .tgz file, but that is also discouraged as  
the binary may in fact be different (e.g. code in saved image etc.)  
and may change with future versions.


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