[R-SIG-Mac] Spinning wheel when running script

David Winsemius dwinsemius at comcast.net
Thu Jul 28 16:17:25 CEST 2011

On Jul 28, 2011, at 8:32 AM, Rick Johnson wrote:

> Hello,
> I am new to Mac OS having moved off Windows PCs, and I am struggling  
> to figure out how to use R project on the Mac. Often when I enter  
> script into the console, R goes off into a never ending “Not  
> responding” state – the spinning wheel symbol shows.
> My usual pattern is that I develop R script in the editor, and then  
> copy the lines I want to run, and paste them into the R Console  
> window. On Mac it sometimes works and other times leads to the  
> spinning wheel. I also have tried using the CMD-Return combination  
> to run the lines with the same results.

There are various reasons:

1) Big job  .. takes time. 5-10 minutes for some of mine. I even have  
ones that take 45 minutes to an hour.
2) variant of 1) Physical memory  exhausted, virtual memory being  
used, performance becomes 10-20 times slower.
In that instance it is useful to open the Activity Monitor.app in  
your /Applications/Utilities folder. I keep it on my Dock, where it  
displays memory availablity. I then know if virtual memory is getting  
accessed and can then go get another cup of coffee.
3) Program bug, enters loop, lost connection with your OS, refuses to  
respond to <esc> or Stop button,  needs to have "Force Quit" from the  

> Is there a different recommended way to develop, test, and run  
> scripts on the Mac version?

Most of the cognoscenti seem to use emacs and Sweave/LaTex, although  
there are other smart  people using Eclipse and an increasing number  
using RStudio. Both of the first failed , in the first case (emacs)  
due to my inability to adapt to the new keystrokes and getting stuck  
in buffers that I could not exit,  and in the case of Eclise/StatET  
due to inadequate directions to support installation. (I do read  
manuals and follow directions reasonably well but they need to have  
_all_ the steps and at least when StatET was being rolled out, there  
were definitely missing steps. I am a Unix-weenie, so some steps that  
would seem second nature to the *Nixerati are not in my repertoire. It  
is useful to have some Unix commands like locate, ls, and cd, and it  
is very useful to discover that dragging files to the Terminal.app  
command line will auto-compose a full file-path spec. )  Rstudio looks  
nice except Simon and Hans-Peter have continued to improve the R-GUI  
and I like it.  I regularly save a console transcript, edit out the  
errors and also same my useful work to text files or to spreadsheet.  
The RGUI for the Mac allows  you to do your editing in separate files  
now with an auto-save option that is very handy. You can select and  
hit cmd-return and get transfer to and immediate execution in the  

Now, if I do need to force quit, at least I recover my code that has  
been saved in another place.


> Is the latest Mac OS release a beta release; should I be using an  
> older version?
> Thanks for any advice on how to proceed.
> Rick Johnson
> My software:
> Mac OS X, 10.6.8
> R version 2.13.1 (2011-07-08)
> Platform: x86_64-apple-darwin9.8.0/x86_64 (64-bit)
> [R.app GUI 1.41 (5874) x86_64-apple-darwin9.8.0]
> 	[[alternative HTML version deleted]]
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David Winsemius, MD
West Hartford, CT

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