Re: [Rd] SystemRequirements (was DESCRIPTION and PACKAGES files )

From: Martin Maechler <>
Date: Thu 27 Jul 2006 - 09:16:43 GMT

>>>>> "Allen" == Allen S Rout <> >>>>> on 24 Jul 2006 12:27:39 -0400 writes:

    Allen> Seth Falcon <> writes:
>> For the Bioconductor project, we also wanted more
>> information to be programatically available regarding the
>> packages in a repository. Instead of bloating the
>> PACKAGES file, we put a separate file, VIEWS in our
>> repository. [...]
>> So, if you were able to host a CRAN mirror, you could
>> annotate it similarly.

    Allen> Thanks, Seth; I am hoping that I will be able to
    Allen> avoid introducing any new data to the PACKAGES
    Allen> stream.  So far, I'm doing all right with
    Allen> concatenating all the DESCRIPTIONS files from the
    Allen> Descriptions/ subdir of a CRAN mirror.

    Allen> I'm wondering about SystemRequirements, though; I
    Allen> ass-u-med from its mention in 'Writing R Extensions'
    Allen> that it was intended to have a format similar to
    Allen> Depends. Some package authors seem to feel the same     Allen> way, but many clearly do not.

    Allen> cran2ebuild $ grep -i systemre descs/PACKAGES


    Allen> So, 30-some out of 788 packages use
    Allen> SystemRequirements.  Clearly, a 'Depends'-esque
    Allen> format is the most popular, though there are several
    Allen> unparseable variants in the list.

    Allen> I'm suggesting a tighter formatting to a few authors,
    Allen> (i.e. the packages I happen to use right now) but I
    Allen> wonder if there is any central philosophical opinion
    Allen> on how that field ought to look?  If the Gods of R
    Allen> think that automated parsing of SystemRequirements is     Allen> unimportant, I'll have to maintain them by hand.

I think some R-core members would welcome a detailed proposal on how 'SystemRequirements' should be formatted -- maybe even accompanied by R code to parse it.
That's a topic also quite well fit to be discussed in "this theatre" ..

Martin Maechler, ETH Zurich mailing list Received on Thu Jul 27 19:24:15 2006

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