[R-SIG-Mac] R-app for naive users

Ruth M. Ripley ruth at stats.ox.ac.uk
Sun Mar 7 23:29:08 CET 2010

I have just begun to use a Mac after teaching R (with my students
officially Windows users) for a while. It seems that the gui works
differently from that on Windows. In particular, I quote from Simon on

"this [q()] was never intended to work in the GUI because it entirely
bypasses the app quitting mechanism. You should never use q/quit in the GUI unless you
really mean to exit R right away and discard everything (history, all open
files, ...)"

Please can you point me to some documentation that explains this and any
other similar traps for the unwary fairly knowledgeable R user. My
audience are very naive Mac users, e.g. they cannot possibly find hidden
files as they do not know what a terminal is. I would like to be able to
help them but am struggling myself. e.g. They may know what the switch on
the toolbar means, but I do not. I certainly would not guess that a button
with a tooltip Quit R would not do the same as q().

I also maintain an R package in which I work very hard to make everything
platform independent. Is the Mac a special case? It is hard to quit R
without an option to save on either Linux or Windows.

Other differences I have noted are 1) I cannot search in the help pages
and 2) when I copy and paste from an example in a help page I have to do
it line by line or I cannot adjust it line by line. Workarounds for either
would be very much appreciated.


Ruth M. Ripley,                         Email:ruth at stats.ox.ac.uk
Dept. of Statistics,                    http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ruth/
University of Oxford,                   Tel:   01865 282851
1 South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3TG, UK  Fax:   01865 272595

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