[R-SIG-Mac] help: R on Mac's is "buggy", department reconsidering

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Thu Jan 31 19:20:49 CET 2008

On Jan 31, 2008, at 1:05 PM, Matthew Keller wrote:

> Rob - my experience is that the crashes have to do with graphics,  
> but I am going to be more systematic about this henceforth.
> Stupid question: Simon, when you say to report the crash, how  
> exactly do we do this? Is it written somewhere how to do this? If  
> not, then where is the log and do we need to send you that via email  
> or is automated somehow?

Usually when an application crashes, you get the "... application  
crashed, do you want to report the problem"? When you say "yes" then  
you get a window with the full report - do not send it to Apple, but  
copy, paste it and send to me via e-mail instead. Unfortunately the  
automated way sends the report to Apple, but not to us (and we can't  
change that). On the bright side it contains all necessary info, so  
you don't need to add anything.

Alternatively (if you said you don't want to report it), you can go to  
Applications -> Utilities -> Console and view all your crash reports  
there (select crash reports on the left hand side).


> On Jan 31, 2008 11:00 AM, Rob Goedman <goedman at mac.com> wrote:
>> Matthew,
>> Thanks for your input. As some others noted, we might need some more
>> input to really be able to work on this problem.
>> I do know of a sure way to crash R.app (up to R-2.7-devel).
>> Below very simple lattice graphics example will crash R.app after
>> switching to the display to full screen (green button) and back
>> once or sometimes several times.
>> I have been caught by this problem while teaching/using R.
>> Could that be a/the possible reason for the crashes? By the way,
>> if you manually enlarge/shrink the quartz() window the problem
>> (crash) does not occur. Simon and I have been aware of this
>> issue but have not been able to find the cause. As far as I
>> recall it has been there for about 2 years (in fact since the
>> last lattice upgrade) and for me was the main reason to switch
>> to using an external editor. Once I figured out it was the little
>> green button, I felt more confident showing the nice internal
>> editor features to new users.
>> The updated graphics in R-2.7-devel does solve this issue,
>> but of course R-2.7 is still out some time and is not
>> of release quality yet.
>> Rob
>> 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
>>> below).
>>> 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
>>> difficulties.
>>> 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,
>>> Matt
>>> <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
>>> after
>>> 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
>>> GUI
>>> (rather than R Commander) the crashes were still there.  I also
>>> thought
>>> it might have to do with computing labs (perhaps installing ALL R
>>> packages created the problem), but a quick survey in my course
>>> suggested
>>> that people's personal apple computers are experiencing the same
>>> thing.
>>> 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,
>>> there
>>> are A LOT of Mac users in the undergrad student body.
>>> As far as I can tell (after discussing with Matt Keller), it has
>>> nothing
>>> 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
>>> www.matthewckeller.com
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> R-SIG-Mac mailing list
>>> R-SIG-Mac at stat.math.ethz.ch
>>> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-sig-mac
> -- 
> Matthew C Keller
> Asst. Professor of Psychology
> University of Colorado at Boulder
> www.matthewckeller.com
> _______________________________________________
> R-SIG-Mac mailing list
> R-SIG-Mac at stat.math.ethz.ch
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-sig-mac

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