Re: [Rd] CRAN policies

From: Gabor Grothendieck <>
Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2012 10:26:43 -0400

On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 9:57 AM, Paul Gilbert <> wrote:
> Mark
> I would like to clarify two specific points.
> On 12-03-31 04:41 AM, wrote:
>> ...
>> Someone has subsequently decided that code should look a certain way, and
>> has added a check that
>> isn't in the language itself-- but they haven't thought of everything, and
>> of course they never could.
> There is a large overlap between people writing the checks and people
> writing the interpreter. Even though your code may have been working, if
> your understanding of the language definition is not consistent with that of
> the people writing the interpreter, there is no guarantee that it will
> continue to work, and in some cases the way in which it fails could be that
> it produces spurious results. I am inclined to think of code checks as an
> additional way to be sure my understanding of the R language is close to
> that of the people writing the interpreter.

The point is that it has been historically possible to push R in different directions even without the blessing of the core team but if its locked down too tightly then we lose that facility and its that loss or potential loss that is worrying. The idea of the package system is that it should be possible to extend R without having to modify the core of R itself.

>> It depends on how Notes are being interpreted, which from this thread is
>> no longer clear.
>> The R-core line used to be "Notes are just notes" but now we seem to have
>> "significant Notes" and ...
> My understanding, and I think that of a few other people, was incorrect, in

I don't think so. I think it was changed on us and I think it ought to be changed back.

Some people on this thread seem to be framing this as a quality issue but its nothing of the sort. The specifics cited make it clear that the current handling of Notes is not improving the quality of any package but is potentially causing thousands of package developers needless work on packages that have been working for years. If the Notes are just there to be helpful that is one thing but changing the idea of Notes so that an undefined subset of them are arbitrarily imposed at the whim of the R core group is what is objectionable.

Statistics & Software Consulting
GKX Group, GKX Associates Inc.
tel: 1-877-GKX-GROUP
email: ggrothendieck at

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