RStudio does not start when using a R version built from source

January 25, 2012
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(This article was first published on NumberTheory » R stuff, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Because I do not have root privileges on some of the machines I use, I build part of my software from source and install it into my own homedirectory. Doing that requires one to download R from CRAN, e.g. R 2.14.1. Compiling R now is a matter of running:

tar -xzvf R-2.14.1.tar.gz
./configure --prefix=/home/usrname/local_software
make; make install

I recently had to upgrade R, thus forcing me to repeat this process. I had been using RStudio already for a while, therefore I was very surprised to see that it failed to start. RStudio could not find R, and thus failed to start. Before re-compiling R all was fine. It turned out that the problem was related to the shared library of R. By default, the R shared library is not built. RStudio needs it, and thus my RStudio was crashing. To solve this, you need to adapt building R a little bit:

tar -xzvf R-2.14.1.tar.gz
./configure --prefix=/home/usrname/local_software --enable-R-shlib
make; make install

Adding the extra configuration flag causes the R shared library to be built, fixing the problem with RStudio.

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