[R-SIG-Mac] Experiences with macOS Sierra

Marc Schwartz marc_schwartz at me.com
Thu Sep 22 14:38:07 CEST 2016

> On Sep 22, 2016, at 1:39 AM, Prof Brian Ripley <ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
> So far I have encountered few problems.  R.app runs but I do not normally use it so my tests were minimal.
> My observations are about installing packages from source.
> - It seems Apple has been tidying up, and I had ca 20GB more free space after upgrading (which is worthwhile on my MBA with a 128GB SSD).  It seems that includes removing some headers, including those for openssl (used by packages PKI and RSclient - package opensssl uses its own). This is but the latest instance in a long-term trend, e.g. iodbc, pcre and liblzma have libraries but no headers.
> - Finally the POSIX 2008 function clock_gettime is supported (and will be used by R): but package scrypt calls it incorrectly.
> Xcode 8 is available for EL Capitan but I would caution against using it there (despite it being pushed as an update from the AppStore).  AFAICS (and googling will find other reports) it defaults to the macOS 10.12 SDK and that declares functions such as clock_gettime not available in El Capitan.  (I believe that R checks thoroughly enough not to be caught by this.)
> There is a further problem with Xcode 8, also seen on Sierra.  Packages using xml2-config (such as XML) fail to install.  Apple modified xml2-config to look on the SDK path, which means packages using it attempt to link to .tbd files rather than .dylibs.  Which should be OK but the supplied .tbd attempt to link to libraries removed in Sierra and so linking fails. (This is not a problem with the version 8 of the Command Line Tools, only available for Sierra.)
> -- 
> Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
> Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics, University of Oxford

Thanks Prof. Ripley.

Just to add another voice, I have not had any issues with R under Sierra.

I did a clean install of R 3.3.1, after completely deleting the prior installation. I then re-installed XQuartz and installed a fairly substantial number of CRAN packages, which includes RODBC installed from source.

I do not typically use the default R GUI, but use ESS. In the latter case, I am now using Emacs 25.1 and the only issue that I have had so far, is that vertically scrolling a large file using either the built-in TrackPad on my MacBook Pro or my external TrackPad, results in overly sensitive scrolling. I barely need to move my fingers on the TrackPad and the file buffer scrolls a very large amount rapidly. I tried this using Emacs 24.5 and the behavior is the same, so this is not unique to Emacs 25.1 and seems to be a change under Sierra. 

A Google search, so far, does not reveal any reports on this and I do not have this behavior in any other apps. I have made some temporary changes to my .emacs file relative to scrolling, which helps to slow scrolling, but it is not ideal yet. There are no settings pertaining to the TrackPad in System Preferences that appear to be relevant.

I will keep playing around with this and perhaps post to the Emacs support list, as it is not clear if there is a bug in Sierra causing this, or there is a need for a change in Emacs itself or .emacs settings relative to scrolling to modify this behavior. There are posts on the Emacs list where folks were using Sierra betas, but no mention of this behavior as far as I can see.


Marc Schwartz

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