[R] R, VR, and Debian

From: Ted Harding <Ted.Harding_at_manchester.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 06 Apr 2008 23:58:31 +0100 (BST)

Hi Folks,
A while ago (September 2007) I set up an experimental Debian 4.0 Etch installation, and installed R on it, along with several packages -- including e1071 and the "Bundle" VR -- by means of the Debian package manager. Most of the time, R works fine. But not always.

Just now, I wanted to try the code suggested by Johannes Hüsing for "Stroparia"'s Multiset Permutation question.

The first line is "library(e1071)" -- this failed because:

Loading required package: class
Error: package 'class' could not be loaded
In addition: Warning message:
there is no package called 'class' in: library(pkg, character.only = TRUE, logical = TRUE, lib.loc = lib.loc)

The Debian package manager tells me that "r-cran-vr" is fully installed, and that
"The VR package contains four individuals packages: MASS, class, nnet and spatial."

Also, that the installed version of r-cran-vr is 7.2.29-1 and also that this is the latest version. However, the version on CRAN is 7.2-41.

A search downwards from /usr/lib/R finds nothing that matches "class", "nnet", nor "spatial", though MASS is there. 'locate class', 'locate nnet', 'locate spatial' all draw blanks (as far as anything to do with R is concerned). So these packages, allegedly part of VR, have not been installed.

I thought of uninstalling VR and re-installing, but after I marked it for deletion I was told that lots of other packages would disappear as well, so I backed off.

It would seem, therefore, that installing R via the Debian repositories can be a close approximation to a waste of time!

Additionally, in the past I have encountered a block when trying to install R packages from source, on this system, because something is wrong with 'gfortran'.

I do not want to have to fight Debian in order to get on with using R, and (once again) feel discouraged about continuing to use a Linux distribution which, in other respects, is of high repute.

I would be grateful for comments on the above observations, and particularly grateful for suggestions about how to overcome these problems.

With best wishes to all,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding_at_manchester.ac.uk> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 06-Apr-08                                       Time: 23:58:27
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