[R-SIG-Mac] Clear Workspace and .Rprofile

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Sun Sep 26 15:21:29 CEST 2010

On Sun, 26 Sep 2010, Ben Haller wrote:

>  Hi all.  I recently made myself a .Rprofile file, and I have just 
> discovered two oddities with this in the R GUI.  On the one hand, 
> when I do "Clear Workspace" (from the Workspace menu) it doesn't 
> clear out the .First function that my .Rprofile defined, which is 
> surprising.  On the other hand, it also doesn't re-run my .Rprofile, 
> which I would have expected, since to me the point of "Clear 
> Workspace" is to give a fresh workspace identical to the one I get 
> when I quit and re-launch the R GUI app.

>  I don't know enough about the internals of R to assert that these 
> are bugs; but I can say that it's annoying to me that Clear 
> Workspace gives me a workspace in which my .Rprofile stuff is not 
> defined.  What's the recommended way to deal with this?

I'd say not clearing .First is a bug: the menu item executes

                 [[REngine mainEngine] executeString: @"rm(list=ls())"];

and that should be rm(list=ls(all=TRUE)).

However, if you ask the workspace to be cleared, it should be clear. 
The unanswered question is why you are using .Rprofile to create 
objects in the workspace -- sounds as if you want to put them in an 
attached environment (e.g. via a package) -- and people normally work 
hard to ensure that .Rprofile leaves no objects there.

Beyond that, one could question the need for a 'Clear Workspace' menu 
item.  It does not start a new session and there are some many 
stateful variables (e.g. the search() path) not part of the workspace 
that starting a new session is much more common.

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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