[R-SIG-Mac] Choosing between Snow Leopard and Mavericks builds

Simon Urbanek simon.urbanek at r-project.org
Wed Apr 23 04:19:51 CEST 2014

On Apr 22, 2014, at 9:50 PM, Gow, Ian <igow at hbs.edu> wrote:

> Thank you.
> In case it helps other users of the Mavericks build: The instructions for installing the gfortran binaries (<http://r.research.att.com/libs/gfortran-4.8.2-darwin13.tar.bz2>) linked to at <http://cran.r-project.org/doc/manuals/r-release/R-admin.html#OS-X> are to be found here <http://r.research.att.com/libs/>. It took me a little digging to find these instructions; I guess I had been spoilt by the gfortran-4.2.3.dmg installer available for the Snow Leopard build.

Yes, that's my bad. I'll try to create a package that will live also live on CRAN, but I'm still sorting out the kinks of the two parallel builds and packages. Once that's stable I hope to get to the gfortran package.


> While I generally install binary packages, I was dabbling with RcppArmadillo and, while the binary version of this package installs fine, it doesn't work without the right build environment.
> (Before discovering the instructions at http://r.research.att.com/libs/, I tried using the gfortran-4.8.2 I had obtained from elsewhere, but it was not where R expected to be and I needed to set FLIBS in ~/.R/Makevars to get it to work for me.)
> Thanks,
> -- 
> Ian Gow
> Assistant Professor
> Harvard Business School
> Morgan Hall 379
> Boston, MA 02163
> Phone: +1-617-495-6530
> Email: igow at hbs.edu
> On Apr 22, 2014, at 3:04 AM, Prof Brian Ripley <ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
>> I've noticed some confusion about which CRAN installer package to use, 
>> and even reluctance to update to 3.1.0.  So some pointers for Mavericks 
>> users
>> 1) AFAIK no users are going to be worse off using the Snow Leopard build 
>> of 3.1.0 rather than the only (Snow Leopard) build of 3.0.x.
>> 2) The Mavericks build has support for C++11-using packages (there are 
>> currently less than a handful) and some performance improvements from 
>> its later compilers (and in rare cases these are large).
>> 3) If you rely on binary packages with are not available for the 
>> Mavericks build, install the Snow Leopard one.  Currently that includes 
>> CRAN packages rgdal and rjags and all the BioC packages.
>> 4) If you install packages from source, you will be most likely better 
>> off with the Mavericks build.
>> 5) The two builds need different Fortran compilers installed: you can 
>> have both compilers at once.  The details are at 
>> http://cran.r-project.org/doc/manuals/r-release/R-admin.html#OS-X .  As 
>> far as I know a Fortran compiler is only needed if you install packages 
>> from sources.
>> Some of the Mavericks binary packages are missing for good reason.  The 
>> C++ binary interface for the Xcode 5.x compilers in Mavericks is 
>> completely different, so external software has to be compiled with those 
>> compilers.  This affects CRAN packages
>> RQuantlib RProtoBuf RVowalWabbit rgdal rjags rzmq
>> Most of these can be gotten to work (see the results labelled 
>> r-devel-osx-x86_64-clang at 
>> http://cran.r-project.org/web/checks/check_summary.html) if compiling 
>> from sources.  There are packages with badly-written C++ which do not 
>> compile under Mavericks, but as we have been chasing the CRAN 
>> maintainers for a few months there are very few left (the main example 
>> is BioC's package mzR).
>> We had expected that by this time Mavericks users would be in a 
>> majority, but it seems the proportion is in the 40s (%).  Thus for R 
>> 3.1.0 most of the effort has gone into the Snow Leopard build: expect 
>> that to change by R 3.2.0 in a year's time.
>> -- 
>> 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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