Re: [Rd] CRAN build/checks: Dependencies on non-CRAN packages?

From: Prof Brian Ripley <>
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 2009 10:17:37 +0100 (BST)

On Mon, 8 Jun 2009, Kurt Hornik wrote:

>>>>>> Henrik Bengtsson writes:
>> Hi,
>> how is the CRAN build/check system dealing with dependencies on
>> non-CRAN packages? Are there external repositories that are dealt
>> with in special ways, e.g. Bioconductor and Omegahat? Is this
>> documented somewhere?
>> The most recent note on this that I could locate is "[Rd] CRAN,
>> Bioconductor and ctv package dependency questions", Kurt Hornik, Sept
>> 8, 2005;
>> Does the comments in that thread still reflect how CRAN works?
> Not quite. No more special casing of BioC or Ohat dependencies: they
> simply "work", and packages with such dependencies can fully be checked.

With some caveats. The CRAN check summaries are from four sets of systems (CRAN's, the Windows and Mac autobuilders and my server using the Sun Studio compiler) and hence four supervisors.

Most of us install the BioC and Omegahat packages that are needed as dependencies in so far as we can (this looks to be less so for the Mac autobuilder). But 'in so far as we can' has limits, not least the time needed to fiddle around with some of them.

In principle if a package depended on an off-CRAN/BioC/Omegahat package and it was clear where to get it we would try to install it -- however, in all past instances I have failed in that installation.

It may be worth adding that as the number of packages grows the total time available to work on those that fail does not increase (and all of us involved have less time for this than we once had), so the effort available per problematic package has decreased considerably. Also, Omegahat no longer provides Windows binaries and the alternatives (CRAN extras, BioC extras) only cover a few.

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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