Re: [Rd] Request: bring back windows chm help support (PR#14034)

From: Prof Brian Ripley <>
Date: Tue, 03 Nov 2009 10:02:24 +0000 (GMT)

Duncan gave the definitive answer in an earlier reply: the active R developers are no longer willing to support CHM help. It is not open for discussion, period.

But three comments to ponder (but not discuss).

(a) CHM is unusable for many of us. A year or two ago Microsoft disabled it on non-local drives via a Windows patch because of security risks -- overnight it simply failed to work (no error, no warning, just no response) in our computer labs. And this year CERT issued a serious advisory on the CHM compiler that Microsoft has not fixed (and apparently is not going to) -- so many of us are banned from having it on a networked machine by company policy.

(b) CHM support was in the sources at the beginning of the 2.10.0 alpha testing. Not one user asked for it at that point, let alone compiled it up and tested it. Since no one asked for it (not what we had anticipated), the sources were cleaned up.

The main consultation over R development is the making available of development versions for users to test out.

(c) We did ask for support for cross-compliation before removing it ( no one responded but two shameless users months later whinged about its removal on this list. That has left a sour taste and zero enthusiasm for supporting things that no one is prepared even to write in about when asked. Ask not what the R developers can do for you, but what you can do for R development (and faithful alpha/beta testing would be a start).

One more comment inline.

On Mon, 2 Nov 2009, John Fox wrote:

> Dear Alexios and Duncan,
> I think that there's one more thing to be said in favour of chm help, and
> that's that its format is familiar to Windows users. I've been using html
> help on Windows myself for a long time, but before R 2.10.0 recommended chm
> help to new Windows users of R. That said, I expect that retaining chm help
> just isn't worth the effort.
> Regards,
> John
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: []
> On
>> Behalf Of alexios
>> Sent: November-01-09 6:05 PM
>> To: Duncan Murdoch
>> Cc:
>> Subject: Re: [Rd] Request: bring back windows chm help support (PR#14034)
>> Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>>> On 01/11/2009 5:47 PM, alexios wrote:
>>>> Peter Ehlers wrote:
>>>>> Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>>>>>> On 31/10/2009 6:05 PM, wrote:
>>>>>>> Full_Name: alex galanos
>>>>>>> Version: 2.10.0
>>>>>>> OS: windows vista
>>>>>>> Submission from: (NULL) (
>>>>>>> I respectfully request that the chm help support for windows, which
>>>>>>> was very
>>>>>>> convenient, be reinstated...couldn't an online poll have been
>>>>>>> conducted to gauge
>>>>>>> the support of this format by window's users?
>>>>> First, I don't think that complaints are bugs.
>>>>> Secondly, why not give the new format a chance. Personally, I
>>>>> like it. Thanks, Duncan.
>>>>> -Peter Ehlers
>>>> It was not a complaint but a simple request, which given the presence
>>>> of a wishlist subdirectory I thought was appropriate to post.
>>>> Apologies if it came across as such.

It did, because you did not follow the instructions: from the FAQ:

  There is a section of the bug repository for suggestions for   enhancements for R labelled 'wishlist'. Suggestions can be   submitted in the same ways as bugs, but please ensure that the   subject line makes clear that this is for the wishlist and not a bug   report, for example by starting with 'Wishlist:'.

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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