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

From: Duncan Murdoch <>
Date: Tue, 03 Nov 2009 10:00:38 -0500

On 11/3/2009 9:49 AM, Michael Dewey wrote:

> At 10:02 03/11/2009, Prof Brian Ripley wrote:
> Comment in line below

>>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).
> What would be involved in testing such versions? Do you want people 
> who are just regular users with limited computing skills like me, or 
> users living on the cutting edge of computational statistics? 

I don't know what Brian would say, but I would like to see both of the above groups testing, and familiar with the changes that are coming. All you need to do is to download and install a test version and see if anything goes wrong on your system.

 > At what
> stage in the process do pre-compiled versions (for Windows) come in? > Is there somewhere I should have looked this up?

There are announcements in the r-announce group when alpha or beta versions are about to be released, but you can download the r-devel builds any time to see what sort of things are going on, or subscribe to the RSS feed of NEWS changes to it.

The main problem with watching R-devel is that often it contains incomplete code, and some decisions aren't finalized until the end of the alpha testing period. So please don't report things as bugs or expect everything to be in its final state, but do point out things that are causing problems.

Duncan Murdoch


>>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.
>>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>>From: []
>>>>Behalf Of alexios
>>>>Sent: November-01-09 6:05 PM
>>>>To: Duncan Murdoch
>>>>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
>> mailing list
> Michael Dewey
> ______________________________________________
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