[R-SIG-Mac] Package management in R

David Winsemius dwinsemius at comcast.net
Tue Sep 29 08:30:33 CEST 2015

On Sep 28, 2015, at 10:38 PM, Chris Yang wrote:

> Hello,
> I am new to R and just installed R and RStudio on a Mac.
> I have a question about managing packages in R. I wonder if there is
> the need and functionality to periodically clean up packages installed
> via RStudio, e.g. older versions, files downloaded for installation,
> etc. Does the update remove the older version completely before
> installing a new one? And what about installation from source?
> I ask because Homebrew (a package manager for OS X) keeps older
> versions of a package and the files necessary for past installations
> upon updates but it offers a command to clean up these stuff too. I
> wonder if it is the same for R.

If you have older versions of R in a Framework directory tree, those packages are kept but if you update a package in the current major version it will be over-written. That is not a Mac specific behavior. 

You may be able to recover older versions with a Time Machine copy, but I'm not clear why you would want to do so. You can also pull source copies of earlier package version in the CRAN archives.

David Winsemius
Alameda, CA, USA

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