[R-SIG-Mac] Apple Silicon aka M1 Macs

Marc Schwartz m@rc_@chw@rtz @end|ng |rom me@com
Tue Nov 17 16:50:35 CET 2020

Prof. Ripley,

Thanks for these updates and for the efforts by all involved in this process.

I am holding off on moving to the M1 based Macs until next year, as besides waiting for a larger display variant, as I am also waiting on updates to other applications that will support that hardware in time.

You reference XQuartz below, and unless I am mis-reading the tea leaves, there seems to be an indication in their list archives that there is no plan to update their binary release to support the new hardware. That release has not been updated since 2016.

They seem to be suggesting a dependence upon MacPorts moving forward, possibly HomeBrew, for installing a native XQuartz on the new hardware. Either scenario introduces other issues idiosyncratic to those environments.

Not sure if that influences any decisions here, and presume that you may already be aware of those dynamics.


Marc Schwartz

> On Nov 17, 2020, at 9:57 AM, Prof Brian Ripley <ripley using stats.ox.ac.uk> wrote:
> Mine (a 8GB MBA) arrived today, so I have started doing some comparisons.
> For the CRAN build of R 4.0.3, §2.8 of R-admin recommends checking the installation with
> pdf("tests.pdf") ## optional, but prevents flashing graphics windows
> Sys.setenv(LC_COLLATE = "C", LC_TIME = "C", LANGUAGE = "en")
> tools::testInstalledBasic("both")
> tools::testInstalledPackages(scope = "base")
> tools::testInstalledPackages(scope = "recommended")
> That took 454s (using Rosetta) against 895s for my late-2016 MBP (2.9GHz i5): happily nothing untoward was reported (some recommended packages give differences from reference output on both systems).
> You need to install XQuartz to provide the X11() devices and support for package Tcl/Tk: everything I tried using that worked as expected.
> Having done that post-installation check I would happily use the Intel R on an M1 machine.
> We plan to check many of the Intel-compiled packages under Rosetta.
> There are many hours of work ahead to build/test a native toolchain: our goal is to have a native distribution for R 4.1.0 ca April 2021.
> -- 
> Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley using stats.ox.ac.uk
> Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics, University of Oxford

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