Re: [Rd] using R as SHELL in gnu make

From: Paul Gilbert <>
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2011 13:31:57 +0000

Other than the RServe part, I do this all the time. It works well. Perhaps we can put together some notes off-line and then bring it back to the list.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:r-devel-bounces_at_r-
>] On Behalf Of Cook, Malcolm
> Sent: September 19, 2011 6:35 PM
> To: ''; ''
> Subject: [Rd] using R as SHELL in gnu make
> I am intrigued by the possibility of using R as the SHELL in a (Gnu)
> makefile (instead of /bin/sh). (c.f.
> Well, rather, I would like the makefile's SHELL to be a command which
> communicated with an R process.
> The makefile targets/prerequistes would, as always, be OS files, which
> would be written/read using standard R file IO.
> The makefile's "recipe"s would be written in R (instead of the usual
> shell).
> The R process would be able to be initiated by `load`ing one or more R
> datasets, libraries or entire images.
> The R process would be able to accumulate state as the makefile
> progressed. The recipe's would be able to refer to that state,
> allowing conditional execution.
> The R process would optionally be saved as an image of on job
> termination/completion.
> The R process might be managed using the RServe package, and would need
> to be initiated once only, when the makefile was first invoked.
> I would appreciate learning if anyone had any success, informative
> failures, or other lore that may help in (or dissuade me from)
> embarking on attempt this.
> Thanks,
> Malcolm Cook
> Stowers Institute for Medical Research
> ______________________________________________
> mailing list

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