Re: R-beta: command-line editing not working in Debian Linux version

Douglas Bates (
17 Jan 1998 17:04:38 -0600

To: Jameson Burt <>
Subject: Re: R-beta: command-line editing not working in Debian Linux version
From: Douglas Bates <>
Date: 17 Jan 1998 17:04:38 -0600
In-Reply-To: Jameson Burt's message of Sat, 17 Jan 1998 16:06:50 -0500

Jameson Burt <> writes:

> I get great flexibility with command-line editing through the "readline" 
> library in the "bash" editor and the "ncftp" tool.  S-Plus has this editing 
> and I see in the preliminary "Notes on R: A Programming Environment for Data 
> Analysis and Graphics", page 65, that "R -e" might give this functionality.  
> Typically, one can use either vi or emacs commands to go back through previous 
> commands and edit the current command line.
> I notice that the readline library is not compiled into the Debian Linux 
> R.binary (ldd R.binary).  Perhaps this was an oversight, or perhaps 
> command-line editing has yet to be added.
> I notice that for vi editing style one ought to set (in "bash" shell)
>      export S_CLEDITOR=vi
> however, hopefully, the readline [not the S/R readline() function, but the 
> readline library] file ~/.inputrc parameters would work to set "vi" mode and 
> other readline parameters (if the readline library gives this command line 
> functionality in R, that is).

Which version of the Debian Linux package are you using?  The 0.61.1-2
version for Debian-2.0 was accidently compiled without readline
support.  I will compile and upload a new version.

As far as I can see, the Debian-1.3 versions should have readline
support.  Please tell me if that doesn't work.

If you are an emacs user, you should consider using ESS (Emacs Speaks
Statistics) instead.  This emacs mode allows you to run R under emacs
and provides more powerful editing and command recall than does using
Douglas Bates                  
Statistics Department                    608/262-2598
University of Wisconsin - Madison
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