[R-SIG-Mac] Tcl/Tk issues in arm64 build of R 4.1.0

Philippe GROSJEAN Ph|||ppe@GROSJEAN @end|ng |rom umon@@@c@be
Fri Sep 10 04:42:42 CEST 2021

Dear John,

The tcltk2 package on CRAN includes tablelist version 5.5. The latest development version on https://github.com/SciViews/tcltk2 includes tablelist version 6.9. The last version of tcltk2 was not pushed to CRAN yet because many Tcl/Tk packages were updated to higher versions and not everything is completely tested today (I just recently got a Mac M1 machine for testing on this system).

In the meantime, since I know you really want version 6.9 of tablelist, you can do remotes::install_github(“SciViews/tcltk2 using 25df401”), or inspect the code in tcltk2 to see how to include a pure-Tcl package and place it in Rcmdr (it weights roughly 1Mb).



 ) ) ) ) )
( ( ( ( (    Prof. Philippe Grosjean
 ) ) ) ) )
( ( ( ( (    Numerical Ecology
 ) ) ) ) )   Mons University, Belgium
( ( ( ( (

On 9 Sep 2021, at 23:44, John Fox <jfox using mcmaster.ca<mailto:jfox using mcmaster.ca>> wrote:

Dear Brian,

Thank you for the additional explanation.

If I understand correctly, the X11 version of Tcl/Tk will continue to be distributed with the R CRAN Intel and arm64 builds because it is compatible with R.app. If so, the simplest solution is probably to distribute the patched TkTable package with these builds, for backwards compatibility (perhaps not just for the Rcmdr package).

Your instructions for including tktablelist with the Rcmdr package seem clear, and I'll give that a try in case TkTable continues to be unavailable in the arm64 build.


On 2021-09-09 4:57 p.m., Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
On 09/09/2021 21:34, John Fox wrote:
Dear Brian,

Thank you for responding so quickly. Please see below:
On 2021-09-09 2:59 p.m., Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
On 09/09/2021 19:03, John Fox wrote:
Dear Simon, Philippe, and list members,

I've encountered some Tcl/Tk-related issues with the Apple silicon arm64 build of R 4.1.0 for macOS. These issues affect the Rcmdr package, although they don't prevent it from working:

(1) Some fonts that are available for the Intel build appear to be missing from the arm64 build. Compare the screen shots of the Rcmdr main window at <https://socialsciences.mcmaster.ca/jfox/.Pickup/x86_64-apple-darwin17.0.png> (Intel build) and <https://socialsciences.mcmaster.ca/jfox/.Pickup/aarch64-apple-darwin20.png> (arm64 build). This problem is purely aesthetic.

It would be helpful to know what those fonts are.  This is likely to be a fontconfig issue and needs to be debugged by name.

I query the Tk default and fixed-width fonts via

     tclvalue(.Tcl("font actual TkDefaultFont -family")
     tclvalue(.Tcl("font actual TkFixedFont -family"))

and use those -- in the past, that produced pleasing font choices on all platforms. In the macOS Intel build, the resulting font families are "Verdana" and "Andale Mono"; in the arm64 build, "helvetica" and "courier". Perhaps the Intel and arm64 builds were just configured differently.
Yes, I think fontconfig was, and that may help Simon dig into this.

(2) The Tcl/Tk Tktable package is apparently absent from the arm64 build but still present in the Intel build. The Rcmdr detects its absence and suppresses some features (i.e., those requiring the Rcmdr data editor). I understand that the Tktable package is problematic and it may have been removed intentionally.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/tktable/files/tktable/2.10/Tktable2.10.tar.gz (apparently the latest version from 2008)
does not compile against recent Tcl/Tk (8.6.11 seems to be used): it uses 'panic' which should be 'Tcl_Panic'.    (The Intel build appears to be much older, 8.6.6.)

I have a patched version: AFAICS it installs entirely into /opt/R/arm64/lib I could tar it up and make it available.

I could also send the patch to Simon for future use, but note that https://mac.r-project.org/libs-arm64/ contains an aqua build of Tcl/Tk (not the X11 build in the CRAN build of R 4.1.[01]) and which does not support Tcl/Tk.

I'm sorry, but I don't quite understand that -- perhaps there's a typo here? Do you mean to say that an aqua build of Tcl/Tk will replace the X11 build after R 4.1.1, and that Tktable will be incompatible with it?
There was, so let me expand.
There are two Tk implementations on macOS,
- using aqua, which is included in https://mac.r-project.org/libs-arm64/
- using X11, included in the CRAN distributions of R 4.1.[01] on amd64, and always used for Intel. So I do not have access to the details of that build.
As I recall, TkTable does not install for the aqua implementation, but does (when patched) for the X11 implementation.  My recollection is that XQuartz became available for amd64 not long before R 4.0.0 and Simon switched to X11 Tk, although pre-releases had aqua Tk.
If so, first, I think that an aqua Tcl/Tk would be preferable to the current X11 version. If I understand correctly, for example, aqua would put Tk menus where Mac users expect them.
aqua Tk does not work correctly with R.app, and is not supported by package tkrplot (which lots of other packages depend on).  Personally I usually use aqua Tk in my own builds, but then I only use R.app if needed to debug something.
Second, given the problems that Tktable seems to be producing, wouldn't it be better to make Tablelist available as a substitute? I'm happy to rewrite the Rcmdr data editor using Tablelist (actually, it's mostly done), and, as I said, if I knew how to incorporate the Tcl/Tk Tablelist package in the Rcmdr package (if it's undesirable simply to make it available generally), I'd do it.
That's your choice.  The sources are at https://www.nemethi.de/tablelist/tablelist6.15.tar.gz and contain a README.txt with a 'How to Install It?'.  At least on a Unix-alike you just need to unpack that into somewhere on the Tcl path.  So to distribute with an R package, have the  tablelist6.15 dir in inst/ and arrange to add the installed location to the Tcl search path with tcltk::addTclPath() .  (I don't see why Windows would be different.)

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