Re: [Rd] function remains loaded in the search space after detaching the package

From: Joris Meys <>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 16:09:45 +0100

2012/2/24 Prof Brian Ripley <>:
> As
> getS3method('print', 'object_size')
> would have confirmed the expectations of a 'one' with a less sketchy
> understanding of R.
Yes, getS3method() sends you -not very surprisingly- to the one from gdata. I realized, as print(object.size(iris)) gets that one as well, and even in my sketchy understanding of R I suspect that both actions have a similar underlying mechanism. But that's not my point.

Why would I have to expect the gdata version is still used (under the correct assumption that I haven't been writing on the R source code myself)? As a maybe-not-so-smart basic user of R, I would expect that detach() and eventually unloadNamespace() would revert the effect of library() (and loadNamespace() ). Apparently they don't.

The only way to reverse the action of require(gdata) seems to be to restart R. That's at least what my limited brain could understand from the valuable information given by both you and Martin. Seemingly having to restart an application to undo an action, even in the presence of functions with names that make you believe they revert a former action, might in general be conceived as rather unexpected by somebody with the same sketchy understanding of R as me. I would be delighted if you could explain to me which part of R I understand wrongly to come to this silly observation.


Joris Meys
Statistical consultant

Ghent University
Faculty of Bioscience Engineering
Department of Mathematical Modelling, Statistics and Bio-Informatics

tel : +32 9 264 59 87
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