[R-SIG-Mac] [R] Upgrading R means I lose my packages

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Thu Aug 28 11:08:59 CEST 2008

The standard R mechanisms for installing packages into a different library
apply on Mac OS X just as anywhere else.  It was not said that R was being 
run from the R.app GUI, but I'll assume that is the case.

The rw-FAQ provides detailed advice for Windows users: see


The differences for Mac OS users are small -- some of the names and how to 
set the library path via R_LIBS.

We arrange not to install packages within .Library on any of our systems 
-- and for most users they do not have permission to do so.

On Wed, 27 Aug 2008, William Revelle wrote:

> This is actually an R-sig-mac question so I am responding there.
> In general, if you want to install a new version without losing the previous 
> packages,  using the finder, go to Library/Receipts and remove the R.app and 
> R.Gui receipts.  Then install the new version. That will keep the previous 
> packages.  This is not mysterious, this is R.
> Thanks to Simon et al. for the upgrade.
> Bill
> At 11:00 PM -0400 8/27/08, Charilaos Skiadas wrote:
>> On Aug 27, 2008, at 10:40 PM, Rolf Turner wrote:
>>> On 28/08/2008, at 2:02 PM, James Milks wrote:
>>>> The title says it all.  Does anyone know of a way to save your packages 
>>>> when you upgrade to a new version of R?  This may seem petty, but I'm 
>>>> accumulating enough packages that having to download and install each of 
>>>> them anew every time I install a new version of R is rather of a pain. 
>>>> Ideally, I would like the new version of R to recognize the packages I've 
>>>> installed on the previous version without needing to reinstall the 
>>>> packages.  Is that possible?
>>>> My system: Mac OS 10.5.4.
>>>> Current R version: 2.7.1
>>> Mac OS moves in mysterious ways, but apparently your installation moves in 
>>> more mysterious
>>> ways than most.
>>> I also (by necessity, not by choice) run Mac OS.  But I certainly don't 
>>> lose my
>>> packages when I update R.  The new version of R certainly ``recognizes'' 
>>> the packages
>>> that I have installed.  No action required.
>>> There may be something funny about *where* you have your packages 
>>> installed, and
>>> what environment variables you have set.
>>> To answer your question ``Is that possible?'' --- Yes.  Not just possible,
>>> but universal.  Except, it would seem, in your case.  What have you done
>>> to offend the gods? :-)
>> Actually have had the same problem as James. By default, unless I'm 
>> mistaken, R will save installed packages within the "R.framework" framework 
>> (system-wide installation). This framework gets completely replaced when a 
>> new version is installed. In my system, the location of these packages is:
>> /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Resources/library
>> So unless I am mistaken you have to take some action to prevent packages 
>> from being installed there. I do hope I am wrong.
>>> 	cheers,
>>> 		Rolf Turner
>> Haris Skiadas
>> Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
>> Hanover College
>> ______________________________________________
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>> PLEASE do read the posting guide 
>> http://www.R-project.org/posting-guide.html
>> and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code.
> -- 
> William Revelle		http://personality-project.org/revelle.html
> Professor 
> http://personality-project.org/personality.html
> Department of Psychology             http://www.wcas.northwestern.edu/psych/
> Northwestern University	http://www.northwestern.edu/
> Attend  ISSID/ARP:2009               http://issid.org/issid.2009/
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Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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