Douglas Bates (
22 Jun 1998 10:04:46 -0500

To: Friedrich Leisch <>
Subject: Re: R-beta: INSTALL -- "RPROFILE"
From: Douglas Bates <>
Date: 22 Jun 1998 10:04:46 -0500
In-Reply-To: Friedrich Leisch's message of Mon, 22 Jun 1998 09:20:23 +0200 (CEST)

Friedrich Leisch <> writes:

> >>>>> On 20 Jun 1998 01:14:36 +0200,
> >>>>> Peter Dalgaard BSA (PDB) wrote:
> PDB> Martin Maechler <> writes:
> >> 
> Jim> It would also be nice if the proper options were given to mkdir for
> Jim> installing libraries: every time a library is reinstalled (debugging),
> Jim> mkdir now complains (twice) that it cannot create the directories
> Jim> because they already exist.
> >> 
> >> You are right.  Fritz ?
> PDB> That's "mkdir -p" but where do we have the offending commands? Is it
> PDB> only in (I'll fix those)?
> We already had this once before ... just telling mkdir to ignore the
> existing dirs is not sufficient, because re-installing a library
> without first removing it is currently not clean.

> I will look into automatically calling R REMOVE if the library already
> exists. Will probably get to it this afternoon.

I'm not sure that is the best thing to do.  In my experience the
slowest part of installing large R libraries is creating the
documentation files.  Especially when you make a small change in the
source code, I have found that using
 R INSTALL --no-docs ...  
is much faster than going through the compilation of the documentation
again.  We know that creating the documentation files is a slow
process.  We have discussed the possibility of using a perl script to
check if the documentation source file had changed at all before
overwriting every file in the help, html, and latex directories.

If the first thing that is done when installing a library is to remove
any old copies, we are guaranteeing that the process will always be
slow because of the creation of the help, latex, and html files.

As of R-0.62.1 there is only one file in the R and libs
subdirectories.  Those files will always be overwritten by the new
versions.  The only danger in not removing the old library before
installing a new version is retaining out-of-date files that should
not be present in the data or the documentation directories.  It seems
to be a small price to pay for not having to wait for all the
documentation to be parsed every time you re-install the library.

Douglas Bates                  
Statistics Department                    608/262-2598
University of Wisconsin - Madison
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