[R-SIG-Mac] Macports installation problem

Rainer Krug Rainer at krugs.de
Thu Oct 26 16:52:40 CEST 2017

Very useful discussion, and I think it is relevant for r-sig-macin many regards.

Not the least, it offers new users, whatever background, information on the different options on installing R.

I think it would be a very useful thing to add these installation methods to the CRAN page as they definitely have their merits - specifically when dealing with spatial data and GDAL versions and updates, and consistency of using the same GDAL.

In contrast to others, I had bad experiences with mixed installations - especially gdal. At the very least, it creates situations, where it is quite difficult to understand which gdal version is used.

I would therefore always recommend to stick to one installation method - MacPorts, homebrew, Fink or standard / frameworks.

Unfortunately, the resources of installing R under homebrew are scattered around - not the least, because there is no home for an “official” and “supported” method.



> On 21 Oct 2017, at 14:47, clark richards <clark.richards at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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).
> Clark
>> 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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Rainer M. Krug, PhD (Conservation Ecology, SUN), MSc (Conservation Biology, UCT), Dipl. Phys. (Germany)

University of Zürich

Cell:       +41 (0)78 630 66 57
email:      Rainer at krugs.de
Skype:      RMkrug

PGP: 0x0F52F982

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