Re: [Rd] robustness of install.packages/update.packages (was Re: bug in L-BFGS-B? (PR#8099))

From: Prof Brian Ripley <>
Date: Mon 29 Aug 2005 - 09:29:53 GMT

On Sun, 28 Aug 2005, Prof Brian Ripley wrote:

>> After redirecting R 2.1.1 on my laptop to use
>> for the CRAN repository, the install.packages() command ran without
>> problems. I issued the command `library(MASS)' and tried out the
>> example from fitdistr on that machine (same strange result for second
>> command and warning messages were issued). So I said
>> update.packages() and that command failed when it wanted to update
>> the MASS package. So I detach()'ed MASS and re-ran update.packages()
>> and again it failed. So I exited R 2.1.1 and restarted it again
>> (probably I should have unloaded the namespace of MASS??) and then the
>> update.packages command worked.
> Yes, and that *is* in the rw-FAQ.
>> However, update.packages() wanted to update quite a few packages
>> besides MASS (the other packages in the VR bundle, nlme, lattice &c).
>> Once it failed on MASS, it terminated with an error and did not update
>> any of the other packages. Would it be possible to robustify
>> update.packages behaviour such that it would continue in such
>> situations with updating the remaining packages?
> Not a good idea. Better to follow the FAQ. At that point the dependencies
> have been worked out and will not be re-computed if a package installation
> fails.

I checked, and I am unable to reproduce this. I get

> library(MASS)
> install.packages(c("MASS", "tree"))
trying URL
'' Content type 'application/zip' length 144676 bytes opened URL
downloaded 141Kb

package 'tree' successfully unpacked and MD5 sums checked

The downloaded packages are in

         C:\Documents and Settings\ripley\Local Settings\Temp\Rtmp13777\downloaded_packages updating HTML package descriptions
Warning message:
package MASS is in use and will not be installed

which seems perfectly reasonable.

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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