Re: [Rd] properly reporting compile bugs

From: Prof Brian Ripley <ripley_at_stats.ox.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 19:27:37 +0100 (BST)

You should report package problems to the package maintainer (see the R posting guide and FAQ). *But* it seems you are just replicating what the CRAN daily checks on x86_64 Debian Linux do, and I repeat those checks most weeks on Fedora 8 (including twice already this week as we test the near-final versions of R 2.7.2). I see few actual compile errors but quite a few check errors (e.g. on the examples).

See http://cran.r-project.org/web/checks/check_summary.html .

On Wed, 13 Aug 2008, someone ashamed of her real name wrote:

> A while ago I decided to simply download and install every package on CRAN
> (disk space is cheap these days...).

Yes, quite a few people do that. My dept has central R package installations for both i386 and x86_64 F8 of most of CRAN and BioC 2.2.

> In the process, I kept loose track of which packages generated one or
> more 'compilation errors' during the install process (machine runs
> 64-bit Fedora 8, gcc 4.1 etc. etc). Most of the errors seemed to occur
> in packages I have little need for at present, but as a courtesy, I
> thought it might be helpful to report these 'errors' - but, how, and to
> whom (package maintainer)? Is there a preferred (official) mechanism for
> this? A pointer to the relevant webpage would be more than sufficient.
>
> Some of the errors or lib dependencies, which are perhaps not generally
> useful to report. But some are outright code errors - either syntax
> problems, or deprecated bits of C and Fortran.

That is really rather surprising, and may indicate a problem on your own setup.

Using C90 or F77 constructs is not an error: it is all that is required of R compilers. Remember that to get on CRAN a package has had to compile on at least one platform, and the vast majority have compiled and run their tests on at least four (i686 Linux, x86_64 Linux, Windows, Mac OS X i386/ppc). Right now the only non-Windows-only CRAN packages that will not install for me on x86_64 F8 Linux are RDieHarder, Rmpi, ROracle, RQuantLib, RScaLAPACK, Rcplex and Rlsf.

For Rmpi that is a fairly recent Fedora packaging issue and can be resolved by editing the configure script (and this has been reported to the package maintainer and discussed on this list).

There are quite a number of packages with known C++ bugs that g++ 4.1.1 accepts. We have tested on stricter C++ compilers and reported to the maintainers -- some of these also fail with g++ 4.3.x (which I believe the CRAN checks now uses).

> Thanks in advance...
>
> [[alternative HTML version deleted]]

If you do write to maintainers it is discourteous to send HTML mail (and the R posting guide explicitly asked you not to send it here).

We prefer real names and addresses here, so please don't write to maintainers without a proper signature block (again, see the R posting guide).

-- 
Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley_at_stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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