[R-SIG-Mac] install.packages default type change?

Bill Northcott w.northcott at unsw.edu.au
Sat Jul 23 05:38:05 CEST 2005

On 22/07/2005, at 8:00 PM, Simon Urbanek 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?
>> Is this a permanent change?
> yes
>> 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.

I am not sure this is a good decision.  MacOS X is always supplied  
with the Xcode development tools, which is not true of all the UNIXen  
I have dealt with.  It is really only Linux that I know to install  
developer tools as part of the default install and even then it is  
usually necessary to install header packages to actually build  
anything.  Finally I doubt that there are many R users on MacOS X who  
do not have the Developer Tools installed, after all, they need X11  
which is also an optional install.  Indeed you supply g77 as part of  
the CRAN binary, and that is useless if you don't have the Developer  

Bill Northcott

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