Re: [Rd] typo in docs for unlink()

From: Henrik Bengtsson <>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 12:27:29 +0100

On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 11:36 AM, Duncan Murdoch <> wrote:
> On 10/11/2009 11:16 PM, Tony Plate wrote:
>> PS, I should have said that I'm reading the docs for unlink in R-2.10.0 on
>> a Linux system.  The docs that appear in a Windows installation of R are
>> different (the Windows docs do not mention that not all systems support
>> recursive=TRUE).
>> Here's a plea for docs to be uniform across all systems!  Trying to write
>> R code that works on all systems is much harder when the docs are different
>> across systems, and you might only see system specific notes on a different
>> system than the one you're working on.
> That's a good point, but in favour of the current practice, it is very
> irritating when searches take you to functions that don't work on your
> system.
> One thing that might be possible is to render all versions of the help on
> all systems, but with some sort of indicator (e.g. a colour change) to
> indicate things that don't apply on your system, or only apply on your
> system.  I think the hardest part of doing this would be designing the
> output; actually implementing it would not be so bad.

I 2nd this wishlist - to see the documentation for all (known) platforms, if possible. A very simple solution is to have an Rd section on operating-system specific features, e.g. \section{Differences between operating systems}{...}.

This would decrease the trial and error of producing cross-platform code.


> Duncan Murdoch
>> -- Tony Plate
>> Tony Plate wrote:
>>> The VALUE section in the help for 'unlink' says:
>>> |  0| for success, |1| for failure. Not deleting a non-existent file is
>>> not a failure, nor is being unable to delete a directory if |recursive =
>>> FALSE|. However, missing values in |x| result are regarded as failures.
>>> The last phrase doesn't make sense to me.  Should it be either "missing
>>> values in x are regarded as failures" or "missing values in x result in
>>> failure" ?
>>> Also, after reading the docs, I'm still unable to work out if unlink()
>>> will return 1 when the user tries to recursively delete a directory on
>>> systems that don't support recursive=T.
>>> The DETAILS section says "recursive=TRUE is not supported on all
>>> platforms, and may be ignored, with a warning", which could be interpreted
>>> as implying no special action when recursive=TRUE is not implemented (other
>>> than a warning()), and the VALUE section doesn't say what the return value
>>> will be under such conditions.
>>> I've skimmed the various *_unlink functions in src/main/platform.c, and
>>> it looks like they all implement recursive=TRUE, so I'm still in the dark
>>> about the required behavior on systems that don't support it.  Could this be
>>> clarified in the help file?
>>> thanks,
>>> Tony Plate
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> mailing list
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> mailing list Received on Wed 11 Nov 2009 - 11:31:49 GMT

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