[R-SIG-Mac] Macports installation problem

clark richards clark.richards at gmail.com
Sat Oct 21 14:47:38 CEST 2017

Interesting discussion, even if it is technically off-topic (i.e. is about
a Macports issue rather than an R issue).

For myself, I have found instances where I needed to install R through
non-standard channels (my choice lately has been homebrew). This was
largely related to having the required system tools necessary for a package
development environment that permits the compilation of C/fortran code and
some system libraries (gdal, etc). As Don and others pointed out many such
dependencies should be available through the OSX R develop page (forget the
address right now ...), I have some older machines for which those
precompiled binaries do not install, including a 9 year old Macbook which
will run OSX up to ElCapitan but is not compatible with the newer binaries.
In that case, in order to have an R and gfortran that played together I had
to use homebrew as I could not find a binary gfortran that would work for
my architecture.

I love working on OSX, though I have often lamented the difficulties in
getting a suitable package development environment configured -- at least
compared to Windows (just install Rtools.exe) and Linux (everything
required is easily installed from the distro package manager).


> Message: 2
> Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2017 18:02:33 +0000
> From: "MacQueen, Don" <macqueen1 at llnl.gov>
> To: David Winsemius <dwinsemius at comcast.net>, Rainer Krug
>         <rainer_krug at icloud.com>
> Cc: John <miaojpm at gmail.com>, "r-sig-mac at r-project.org"
>         <r-sig-mac at r-project.org>
> Subject: Re: [R-SIG-Mac] Macports installation problem
> Message-ID: <303CD3A3-230A-4D18-A190-E6C2D1160DF3 at llnl.gov>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> The OP's question has inspired an interestingly large number of responses.
> One thing I'm curious about, and I don't think I've seen in the
> discussion, is why the OP needed to install Cairo graphics with respect to
> R (otherwise the question was indeed off-topic for R-sig-Mac).
> In summary (and I think this is reasonably consistent with other
> responses; discussion to support my summary follows):
> 1)  Use CRAN R, install dependencies needed for extended R capability on
> the OS as needed, from whatever source you prefer, or whichever is easiest
> for R to use
> 2)  If one chooses to install R using MacPorts or homebrew, be prepared to
> exercise a greater depth of computer science smarts
> 3)  Feel free to install other useful stuff using MacPorts or homebrew,
> whichever one prefers; there is unlikely to be any conflict with R
> In close to 20 years of using R on Mac, I have always been able to use
> whatever capabilities R offers that I wanted to use, using the R provided
> on CRAN. Nothing has ever motivated me to install R using MacPorts or
> homebrew in order to obtain some capability that I couldn't have using
> CRAN's binary download for Mac. This includes things like access to remote
> Oracle databases, using various spatial packages built around sp and rgdal,
> reading and writing MS Office files (both Word and Excel), building simple
> tcl/tk interfaces, writing my own packages that link to Fortran, and
> probably more that I don't remember. I see no necessity to install R from
> MacPorts or homebrew. Of course, if one wishes to for whatever reason,
> great! And I'm glad that people have wanted to make R available from those
> package managers.
> I do use MacPorts, however, to get useful software such as an X Windows
> aware version of emacs, ghostscript, and ImageMagick. Indeed, I even have
> cairo installed using MacPorts, albeit on a 10.11.6 system, not a 10.12.x
> system like the OP. (It's probably there as a dependency for some other
> MacPorts package.) From that point of view, the OP's command to install it
> using MacPorts was correct. I'd need more information to make a guess at
> why it didn't succeed.
> Some R packages do, of course, depend on external libraries not provided
> with R. One has to install these from somewhere.  For example, the spatial
> packages need GDAL. In this case, I use the KyngChaos frameworks, but I'm
> aware that they're also available from MacPorts (and probably homebrew as
> well). Could I use them instead? Probably; R is pretty good about letting
> the user specify where dependencies are found.
> I do not know what R extended capability depends on installing Cairo
> graphics on the OS. The X11() graphics device, as provided (I believe), has
> a version that uses cairo. There is the Cairo R package, but it has a
> binary version, at least for R on 10.11.x, so there's no need to install
> Cairo graphics to install the Cairo package.
> -Don
> --
> Don MacQueen
> Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
> 7000 East Ave., L-627
> Livermore, CA 94550
> 925-423-1062
> Lab cell 925-724-7509

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