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

From: Duncan Murdoch <>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 06:36:53 -0500

Martin Maechler wrote:
>>>>>> "SF" == Seth Falcon <>
>>>>>> on Wed, 11 Nov 2009 18:49:12 -0800 writes:
> SF> On 11/11/09 2:36 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.
> SF> I would be strongly in favor of a change that provided documentation for
> SF> all systems on all systems.
> SF> Since platform specific behavior for R functions is the exception rather
> SF> than the norm, I would imagine that simply displaying doc sections by
> SF> platform would be sufficient.
> SF> I think the benefit of being able to see what might not work on another
> SF> platform far out weighs the inconvenience of finding doc during a search
> SF> for something that only works on another platform -- hey, that still
> SF> might be useful as it would tell you what platform you should use ;-)
> I strongly agree.
> As someone said, this only applies to relatively few help pages,
> and I'm not sure if it's worth (at the moment) of first
> designing a rendering scheme to emphasize your current platform.
> Maybe even to the contrary, I'd want the PDF version of the
> help page to (almost (*)) entirely platform independent.
> It depends how thing *are* platform dependent.
> If one function argument only applies to Windows, then the
> corresponding paragraph could simply start,
> "On Windows, .....".
> In other situations, using something similar to what Henrik
> proposed, a \section{..} on platform specific parts would
> suffice.

If that's the intention, there's nothing to stop you from editing the existing pages. A quick grep suggests that there are about 100 pages with #ifdef in the base and recommended packages; there are also a few dozen pages which are completely platform-specific (mostly related to Windows API or GUI topics). I suspect the Linux users are going to be the biggest complainers if the Windows-only material starts showing up on their systems. They don't like to be told they should be using Windows rather than Linux.

Duncan Murdoch
> I also find it very important that I read on "my" (OS) help page,
> about less or more functionality on another platform, and I'd
> rather want the full details of that platform than just
> a note that something is platform dependent.
> Of course, there's the situation of missing / extra capabilities()
> but I think these are well documented where applicable, and they
> *do* follow the idea that you should also learn about things
> that are currently not available to you.
> Martin
> mailing list Received on Thu 12 Nov 2009 - 11:41:11 GMT

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