[Rd] Idea for install.packages on (certain) linux distributions

From: Prof. John C Nash <nashjc_at_uottawa.ca>
Date: Tue, 02 Mar 2010 07:31:49 -0500

Some time ago, I had some email discussion with Dirk E. about putting a front-end on install.packages to first look at the debian repositories for R and use them before trying to install from source. The code for this would not be very large. As Uwe points out in another posting, the issue then becomes one of repository maintenance. And as more types of installers get included, the code and the chance of package mismatches get more risky.

However, where we have repositories, it may be useful to have example code to try such an approach. In pseudo-code this could be implemented without damaging install.packages as:

    [start of my.install.packages]
    if (exist(local.install) ) {

    } else {


If anyone gets enthused about this, I'd suggest posting on R-wiki. Note that local.install will have to be pretty aggressive at checking the OS version etc.


> Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2010 16:33:08 +0100
> From: "Carlos J. Gil Bellosta" <cgb_at_datanalytics.com>
> To: r-devel_at_r-project.org
> Subject: [Rd] Idea for install.packages on (certain) linux
> distributions
> Message-ID: <4B8BDE34.6070000@datanalytics.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> Hello,
> I do not know whether this idea would be considered useful or not. Or
> easy to implement.
> But it is the case that on certain Linux distributions there are OS
> packages with precompiled R packages. However, install.packages (and
> related functions) download the source ones.
> Would it be possible to add an extra "repository" (or option) on
> install.packages that would direct R to use the OS level package manager
> (apt-get, yum or the like) so as to install the precompiled packages
> from the distribution mirrors instead of the CRAN ones?
> Best regards,
> Carlos J. Gil Bellosta
> http://www.datanalytics.com

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