[R-SIG-Mac] Feedback to Apple?

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Wed Mar 21 17:21:54 CET 2007

I'm a bit puzzled about the X11-related statements here. Both  
mentioned "better X11 support" - what is really missing in Apple's  
X11? So far I have found Apple's X11 very enjoyable for all  
scientific purposes and much easier to work with that other 3rd-party  
X11 implementations.

As for installing X11, yes, I would welcome if it was in included the  
standard install mode, but it is in no way hidden: all Mac OS X  
installation DVDs have it and you only have to start the Mac OS X  
installer - one double-click, that's all. (Besides, rumor has it that  
this may change for Leopard anyway.) For a class, why not just supply  
the package?

Concerning R itself, my only worry (and a big headache) is the lack  
of Fortran support in Xcode. We have to install parallel compilers  
and system libraries which is a maintenance nightmare...


On Mar 21, 2007, at 10:55 AM, Dan Putler wrote:

> Hi,
> Let me second Joerg van den Hoff's call for better X11 support. I'm
> using R via a modified version of the R Commander GUI (that uses the
> tcltk package, which requires X11 on the OS X platform) in a couple
> of different classes. One thing that I found frustrating is that
> Apple seems to be going to greater lengths overtime to hide the
> X11user.pkg. This makes installing R on OS X seem really complicated
> to students. The installation of the course software is comparatively
> much more straightforward on the Windows side, leaving the
> unfortunate impression that Windows is more suited to statistical
> computing.
> Dan
> On 21-Mar-07, at 4:49 AM, Joerg van den Hoff wrote:
>> On Tue, Mar 20, 2007 at 07:37:14PM -0400, Geoffrey Hutchison wrote:
>>> Hello fellow R users!
>>> I'm currently serving as a committee member at MacResearch.org, a
>>> website devoted to science, math, and statistics on  Macs. In about
>>> two weeks, we'll be visiting Apple to talk about issues, needs,
>>> desires of science users and developers:
>>> http://www.macresearch.org/
>>> macresearch_science_related_requests_for_apple
>>> So I was writing to ask if you have particular questions or concerns
>>> which I can proxy? I think this is particularly important, since  
>>> none
>>> of the other MacResearch representatives are statistics folks.  
>>> (I'm a
>>> chemist -- I'm a happy user of R for data exploration and analysis.)
>>> For example, are all the R.app compiler problems solved? Do we need
>>> graphing/plotting libraries for visualization from Apple? What
>>> feedback can I pass along?
>>> Many thanks,
>>> -Geoff
>> hello,
>> I don't have a R- specific issue. what I _can_ say is, that for
>> Macs to be
>> accepted in scientific environments it's mandatory, that the bare
>> bones UNIX
>> side of OSX, notably full screen X11 is working competitivly to,
>> say, LINUX or
>> FreeBSD machines. for scientific purposes I find the combination of
>> some Aqua
>> apps and many X11 apps and UNIX utilities especially helpful and
>> superior to
>> using anything else.
>> right now X11 is OK (but not optimal), but I don't know, how the
>> future support
>> for that area will look like.
>> so if you could transport the message, that many many tools require
>> X11 and
>> many scientists are UNIX 'addicts', this might help (although they
>> sshould know).
>> what I have noted is, that e.g. manpage support is no good: it
>> seems that
>> quite a few of them are out of sync with the actual state of affairs.
>> one specific wish would be a 'canonical' rsync supporting HFS+
>> stuff, such
>> as aliases, too. (they did it with `cp', for instance). same for
>> other UNIX
>> utilities which copy data (dd, tar, ...).
>> joerg
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