[R-SIG-Mac] help: R on Mac's is "buggy", department reconsidering
lists at revelle.net
Thu Jan 31 18:42:41 CET 2008
In addition to the comments by Kasper and Max, may I add two points:
1) I am delighted that another psych department is pushing R for
undergrads and grads. I have been doing so here with limited success.
I have been able to get undergrads in both my research methods class
and a more advanced class getting comfortable with it and doing some
basic analyses. Some of our grad students are R converts as well.
Among the faculty, however, it is much slower going.
2) Running R 2.6.1 with Mac 10.4+ or 10.5.1 on Intel and G4/G5s and
the Mac Gui I have almost no crashes of R. Running 2.7.0
(development, unstable) I have just a few.
Make sure the students download 2.6.1 and packages that come with
At 9:23 AM -0800 1/31/08, Kasper Daniel Hansen wrote:
>Let me preempt Simon a bit and suggest that you give us very precise
>information about what happens. Especially these days since "Mac"
>actually covers 4 different architectures, several versions of the OS
>and several compilers.
>1) Get a crash report and send it to Simon. If it is so easy to get R
>to crash it should be easy to get a report.
>2) What version of R and the GUI was installed and exactly on what
>machine? How did you install packages? Which compiler was used
>(include gcc version and build number)?
>On Jan 31, 2008, at 8:40 AM, Matthew Keller wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> I dread writing this because it may come across as being ungrateful to
>> the hard work of those (esp. Simon Urbanek) who have made an otherwise
>> fantastic R interface for the mac. Nevertheless...
>> I do most of my work in R using Aquamacs and had, until recently,
>> little interaction with the R Gui. People in my department (psychology
>> at CU Boulder) are mainly mac users, and a few of us (including the
>> chair and the statistics professors) are making a push to make our
>> department an "R" department (such that it is the package taught to
>> undergrads and grad students). I have been teaching a four week intro
>> to the R language this semester to students, postdocs, and faculty,
>> and the undergrad stats professors have taken the leap and are
>> teaching R in the undergrad stats classes this semester. So far so
>> good... but...
>> There is beginning to be a backlash, not from what I had expected ("R
>> is too user unfriendly"... this doesn't seem to come up!), but rather
>> that R is "too buggy" and crashes too often. Since switching to the R
>> Gui to teach this class, I myself have had R crash several times
>> (previously a rare occurrence when I used Aquamacs). I cannot find a
>> rhyme or reason to when it happens. The students/colleagues in my
>> class who are mac users also complain about it (none of the windows
>> users have). And this morning, an email went out from one of the
>> undergrad stats teachers who said much the same thing (see his email
>> Being one of the people who really pushed for this switch to R, I hate
>> to see it go down in flames because of this. I have considered trying
>> to teach using R via Aquamacs, but this presents its own set of
>> Does anyone out there who has experience with the R Gui for Macs have
>> any suggestions re making it more stable? Are there steps we can take
>> or advice we can give to students that would lessen the number of
>> crashes we are experiencing? Might the crashes be due to the newness
>> of the Leopard OS, etc?
>> I apologize for breaking the listserve rules - I have not given a good
>> explanation of the conditions under which these crashes occur. I could
>> try to get the students to document exactly when they happen and send
>> a summary back out to the list if this would be helpful.
>> I really want this (our department's switch to R) to go through, but I
>> am afraid the "bugginess of R" may be jeopardizing this. Any help
> > would be most appreciated. And as I said before, thank you to the
>> people who have selflessly spent their time making the R Gui - I
>> wouldn't even know where to start! Best,
>> <message from an undergrad stats prof here at CU> :
>> In the labs for my course, the R GUI has been buggy - i.e. will
>> crash at
>> random times. I thought this had to do with using R Commander, but
>> looking into it further, it has nothing to do with R Commander -
>> when I
>> ran through some of the tutorial/homework for my course using the R
>> (rather than R Commander) the crashes were still there. I also
>> it might have to do with computing labs (perhaps installing ALL R
>> packages created the problem), but a quick survey in my course
>> that people's personal apple computers are experiencing the same
>> Greg and Matt Keller also mentioned to me that some of their students
>> were having issues with the R GUI on Mac OS X. As everyone knows,
>> are A LOT of Mac users in the undergrad student body.
>> As far as I can tell (after discussing with Matt Keller), it has
>> to do with the R "engine" - it's all about the R GUI interface (for
>> example, I've never had a problem submitting R jobs in pseudo-batch
>> mode). I get slightly less buggy-ness on my Mac (intel dual-core,
>> Leopard), but there are still some issues.
>> Anyway, no real action items here other than to note that it
>> appears to
>> be fairly common. The students are tolerating it, and I just keep
>> telling them that it's "free" and "free" always comes at a price. If
>> anyone has stumbled a more stable configuration, please let me know!
>> Matthew C Keller
>> Asst. Professor of Psychology
>> University of Colorado at Boulder
>> R-SIG-Mac mailing list
>> R-SIG-Mac at stat.math.ethz.ch
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William Revelle http://personality-project.org/revelle.html
Department of Psychology http://www.wcas.northwestern.edu/psych/
Northwestern University http://www.northwestern.edu/
Use R for statistics: http://personality-project.org/r
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