[Rd] DESCRIPTION and PACKAGES files.

From: Allen S. Rout <asr_at_ufl.edu>
Date: Thu 20 Jul 2006 - 19:47:40 GMT

Greetings; I'm working on translating the heirarchy of R packages into the Gentoo Ebuild environment, currently working from a 2.3.1 install.

There are several data which it would be nice to see provided alongside the existing output of available.packages; at the moment I think I'm going to have to get License and SystemRequirements out of individual package DESCRIPTIONs.

More generally, it'd be nice to see all the documented fields from DESCRIPTION files in the output from available.packages(), or at least collated in PACKAGES.

I have a suggestion to accomplish this which I've hacked up locally and am happy to build a patch if the suggestion is well-recieved.

available.packages uses read.dcf on the PACKAGES file, accepting only

flds <- c("Package", "Version", "Priority", "Bundle", "Depends",   "Imports", "Suggests", "Contains")

If we could optionally accept all of the fields which are mentioned in 'Creating R Extensions', someone who was interested in the broader data could get at it.

PACKAGES would grow, substantially, but wouldn't be harder to maintain; in fact PACKAGES could be just a naive concatenation of everyone's DESCRIPTION files.

For that matter, if you would be willing to add the extra data to PACKAGES, the current implementation would work, and I could just run my hacked version and get at what I wanted. But I know of at least one other package-heirarchy maintainer who might like this, and subsuming it in the base function would be nice.


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