Re: [Rd] The Depends: field of a package is now used by library()

From: Prof Brian Ripley <>
Date: Tue 17 Aug 2004 - 21:33:11 EST

To close off this thread --

After various offline discussions we have adopted the new field Imports: (thanks, Martin Maechler, for the name) which should list namespaces that are required to load the package (via imports in the NAMESPACE file or use of :: or :::) but do not need to be attached as packages.

Depends: should be used for packages that need to be attached before the current package, and should be disjoint from Imports.

On Thu, 12 Aug 2004, Deepayan Sarkar wrote:

> On Thursday 12 August 2004 10:55, Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
> > I can't think of any other example of one package only needing the
> > namespace of another (contributed) package.
> That's probably because few packages have namespaces yet. Another
> example is nlme which imports lattice, but that's still within
> recommended packages. In the long run, hopefully more packages will
> start using namespaces when appropriate, so this might become more
> relevant.
> The only issue I see here is a way to mention namespace requirements in
> DESCRIPTION (which could have been done with Depends thus far because
> it didn't actually do anything else, even though though the intent has
> always been there).
> Imported packages are still dependencies in the sense that a package has
> to be available for it's namespace to be usable, so leaving them out of
> Depends: feels slightly weird, but I can live with it.
> Deepayan
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Brian D. Ripley,        
Professor of Applied Statistics,
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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Received on Tue Aug 17 21:35:51 2004

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