Re: [Rd] Re: Packages and Libraries (was: Re: lme4 "package" etc

From: Kurt Hornik <>
Date: Wed 09 Feb 2005 - 17:40:03 EST

>>>>> A J Rossini writes:

> On Tue, 8 Feb 2005 23:05:20 +0000 (GMT), Prof Brian Ripley
> <> wrote:

>> On Tue, 8 Feb 2005 wrote:
>> [...]
>> > But, a propos, is there an R entity called a "library"
>> > (other than the command) as distinct from a "package"?
>> Yes.  That is what the argument 'lib.loc' to library() and other functions
>> refers to.
>> A 'library' is a collection of packages stored in one directory.
>> library("pkg") means `go to one or more libraries, find package pkg and
>> load it up'

> And this is the problem, that the description doesn't clearly match
> the specification.

> One might easily expect that library("pkg") implies use library "pkg"
> for further package loading.

> It's almost too bad that libraries weren't books, with packages being
> chapters, or libraries being postOffices, with packages being
> packages, or packages being libraries, with libraries being cities or
> libraries being libraries, with packages being books.

> But the current mess wastes a good bit of time aggravating people who
> want things just so, responding to people who are just careless.

As I wrote earlier, we need to have alternatives to change this.

The R system is highly extensible through standardized add-ons called *packages*. That is one of its key strengths, and I don't think we should stop referring to packages as packages.

Packages are made available by putting them into *libraries*, defined as "places where R knows to find packages". If we do not like this term, we need a better one.

Packages are loaded and attached using library(), which in principle is something for which a replacement is desired anyways. But as Brian and I [at least] said, we need not only a new name, but also a careful redesign, and someone taking charge.

-k mailing list Received on Wed Feb 09 16:47:27 2005

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