Re: [Rd] Inconsistency in for stringsAsFactors

From: hadley wickham <>
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2010 07:47:09 -0600

>> Some of us (including me) have strongly argued on several
>> occasions that  global options() settings should *not* have an effect
>> on anything "computing" but just on "output"
>> i.e. printing/graphing of R results.
>> As it is currently, potentially R scripts and R functions may
>> only work correctly for one setting of
>>     options( stringsAsFactors = * )
>> which is against all principles of functional programming.
> A similar argument would also seem to apply to defaultPackages,
> deparse.max.lines, download.file.method, encoding, expressions, warn
> and na.action.  There are plenty of functions in R that violate other
> principles of functional programming, so, by itself, this argument
> seems a little weak to me.  There are obviously differences of opinion
> about this issue in R core, and it's unfortunate that the user has to
> be exposed to them through inconsistent function definitions.

Which isn't to say I don't think that you're right - I would hate for R to head in the direction of PHP where every script has to check three or four different global variables in order to work on all installations.



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