Re: [Rd] error in install.packages() (PR#14042)

From: Duncan Murdoch <murdoch_at_stats.uwo.ca>
Date: Wed, 04 Nov 2009 13:25:23 -0500

On 11/4/2009 12:15 PM, William Dunlap wrote:
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: r-devel-bounces_at_r-project.org
>> [mailto:r-devel-bounces_at_r-project.org] On Behalf Of Duncan Murdoch
>> Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 8:47 AM
>> To: michael.m.spiegel_at_gmail.com
>> Cc: R-bugs_at_r-project.org; r-devel_at_stat.math.ethz.ch
>> Subject: Re: [Rd] error in install.packages() (PR#14042)
>>
>> On 11/4/2009 11:05 AM, michael.m.spiegel_at_gmail.com wrote:
>> > Full_Name: Michael Spiegel
>> > Version: 2.10
>> > OS: Windows Vista
>> > Submission from: (NULL) (76.104.24.156)
>> >
>> >
>> > The following error is produced when attempting to call
>> install.packages. Here
>> > is the results of the traceback:
>> >
>> >> source('http://openmx.psyc.virginia.edu/getOpenMx.R')
>> > Error in f(res) : invalid subscript type 'list'
>> >> traceback()
>> > 7: f(res)
>> > 6: available.packages(contriburl = contriburl, method = method)
>> > 5: .install.winbinary(pkgs = pkgs, lib = lib, contriburl =
>> contriburl,
>> > method = method, available = available, destdir = destdir,
>> > dependencies = dependencies, ...)
>> > 4: install.packages(pkgs = c("OpenMx"), repos = repos)
>> > 3: eval.with.vis(expr, envir, enclos)
>> > 2: eval.with.vis(ei, envir)
>> > 1: source("http://openmx.psyc.virginia.edu/getOpenMx.R")
>> >
>> > I've tracked the error down to somewhere in
>> available.packages defined in
>> > src\library\utils\R\packages.R. I am guessing that the
>> error in version 2.10
>> > has something to do with the change: "available.packages()
>> gains a 'filters'
>> > argument for specifying the filtering operations performed
>> on the packages found
>> > in the repositories."
>>
>> I've found the error, and will fix and commit to R-devel and
>> R-patched.
>>
>> For future reference: the problem was that it assigned the result of
>> sapply() to a subset of a vector. Normally sapply() simplifies its
>> result to a vector, but in this case the result was empty, so
>> sapply()
>> returned an empty list; assigning a list to a vector coerced
>> the vector
>> to a list, and then the "invalid subscript type 'list'" came
>> soon after.

> 
> I've run into this sort of problem a lot (0-long input to sapply
> causes it to return list()).  A related problem is that when sapply's
> FUN doesn't always return the type of value you expect for some
> corner case then sapply won't do the expected simplication.  If
> sapply had an argument that gave the expected form of FUN's output
> then sapply could (a) die if some call to FUN didn't return something
> of that form and (b) return a 0-long object of the correct form
> if sapply's X has length zero so FUN is never called.  E.g.,
>    sapply(2:0, function(i)(11:20)[i], FUN.VALUE=integer(1)) # die on
> third iteration
>    sapply(integer(0), function(i)i>0, FUN.VALUE=logical(1)) # return
> logical(0)
> 
> Another benefit of sapply knowing the type of FUN's return value is
> that it wouldn't have to waste space creating a list of FUN's return
> values but could stuff them directly into the final output structure.
> A list of n scalar doubles is 4.5 times bigger than double(n) and the
> factor is 9.0 for integers and logicals.

That sounds like a good idea. It would be a bit of work, because the current sapply depends on lapply while this would need its own internal implementation: but it would probably be worthwhile.

Duncan Murdoch



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