R 2.15.0 is released

Bellow is the announcement made by Peter Dalgaard:

The build system rolled up R-2.15.0.tar.gz (codename “Easter Beagle”) at 9:00 this morning. This is the first release of the 2.15 series and contains several new features and changes; see the list below for details.

You can get the source code from


or wait for it to be mirrored at a CRAN site nearer to you.

Binaries for various platforms will appear in due course.

For the R Core Team

Peter Dalgaard

These are the md5sums for the freshly created files, in case you wish
to check that they are uncorrupted:

MD5 (AUTHORS) = cbf6da8f886ccd8d0dda0cc7ffd1b8ec
MD5 (COPYING) = eb723b61539feef013de476e68b5c50a
MD5 (COPYING.LIB) = a6f89e2100d9b6cdffcea4f398e37343
MD5 (FAQ) = c6cf7cff235e9bd3c823e6a1a3d76cd5
MD5 (INSTALL) = 37adac6d0fbadf25b5a40e3f7535415e
MD5 (NEWS) = 31dee994d35636656c9e254bfb819d7c
MD5 (NEWS.html) = 0551e23b675fa9dc709830d1a4ee738c
MD5 (ONEWS) = 0c3e10eef74439786e5fceddd06dac71
MD5 (OONEWS) = b0d650eba25fc5664980528c147a20db
MD5 (R-latest.tar.gz) = 905f638990492618559202cc1e48a867
MD5 (README) = 296871fcf14f49787910c57b92655c76
MD5 (RESOURCES) = a7a02d98a407c3cb8674d067608f14fc
MD5 (THANKS) = 159efc7bd4ae7b23dda07c1d431657bc
MD5 (R-2/R-2.15.0.tar.gz) = 905f638990492618559202cc1e48a867

This is the relevant part of the NEWS file



o The behaviour of unlink(recursive = TRUE) for a symbolic link to
a directory has changed: it now removes the link rather than the
directory contents (just as rm -r does).

On Windows it no longer follows reparse points (including
junctions and symbolic links).


o Environment variable RD2DVI_INPUTENC has been renamed to

o .Deprecated() becomes a bit more flexible, getting an old

o Even data-only packages without R code need a namespace and so
may need to be installed under R 2.14.0 or later.

o assignInNamespace() has further restrictions on use apart from at
top-level, as its help page has warned. Expect it to be disabled
from programmatic use in the future.

o system() and system2() when capturing output report a non-zero
status in the new “status” attribute.

o kronecker() now has an S4 generic in package methods on which
packages can set methods. It will be invoked by X %x% Y if
either X or Y is an S4 object.

o pdf() accepts forms like file = “|lpr” in the same way as

o pdf() accepts file = NULL. This means that the device does NOT
create a PDF file (but it can still be queried, e.g., for font
metric info).

o format() (and hence print()) on “bibentry” objects now uses
options(“width”) to set the output width.

o legend() gains a text.font argument. (Suggested by Tim Paine,

o nchar() and nzchar() no longer accept factors (as integer
vectors). (Wish of PR#6899.)

o summary() behaves slightly differently (or more precisely, its
print() method does). For numeric inputs, the number of NAs is
printed as an integer and not a real. For dates and datetimes,
the number of NAs is included in the printed output (the latter
being the wish of PR#14720).

The “data.frame” method is more consistent with the default
method: in particular it now applies zapsmall() to
numeric/complex summaries.

o The number of items retained with options(warn = 0) can be set by

o There is a new function assignInMyNamespace() which uses the
namespace of the function it is called from.

o attach() allows the default name for an attached file to be

o bxp(), the work horse of boxplot(), now uses a more sensible
default xlim in the case where at is specified differently from
1:n, see the discussion on R-devel, .

o New function paste0(), an efficient version of paste(*, sep=””),
to be used in many places for more concise (and slightly more
efficient) code.

o Function setClass() in package methods now returns, invisibly, a
generator function for the new class, slightly preferred to
calling new(), as explained on the setClass help page.

o The “dendrogram” method of str() now takes its default for
last.str from option str.dendrogram.last.

o New simple fitted() method for “kmeans” objects.

o The traceback() function can now be called with an integer
argument, to display a current stack trace. (Wish of PR#14770.)

o setGeneric() calls can be simplified when creating a new generic
function by supplying the default method as the def argument.
See ?setGeneric.

o serialize() has a new option xdr = FALSE which will use the
native byte-order for binary serializations. In scenarios where
only little-endian machines are involved (these days, close to
universal) and (un)serialization takes an appreciable amount of
time this may speed up noticeably transferring data between

o The internal (un)serialization code is faster for long vectors,
particularly with XDR on some platforms. (Based on a suggested
patch by Michael Spiegel.)

o For consistency, circles with zero radius are omitted by points()
and grid.circle(). Previously this was device-dependent, but
they were usually invisible.

o NROW(x) and NCOL(x) now work whenever dim(x) looks appropriate,
e.g., also for more generalized matrices.

o PCRE has been updated to version 8.30.

o The internal R_Srcref variable is now updated before the browser
stops on entering a function. (Suggestion of PR#14818.)

o There are ‘bare-bones’ functions .colSums(), .rowSums(),
.colMeans() and .rowMeans() for use in programming where ultimate
speed is required.

o The formerly internal function .package_dependencies() from
package tools for calculating (recursive) (reverse) dependencies
on package databases has been renamed to package_dependencies()
and is now exported.

o There is a new function optimHess() to compute the (approximate)
Hessian for an optim() solution if hessian = TRUE was forgotten.

o .filled.contour() is a ‘bare-bones’ function to add a
filled-contour rectangular plot to an already prepared plot

o The stepping in debugging and single-step browsing modes has
changed slightly: now left braces at the start of the body are
stepped over for if statements as well as for for and while
statements. (Wish of PR#14814.)

o library() no longer warns about a conflict with a function from
package:base if the function has the same code as the base one
but with a different environment. (An example is Matrix::det().)

o When deparsing very large language objects, as.character() now
inserts newlines after each line of approximately 500 bytes,
rather than truncating to the first line.

o New function rWishart() generates Wishart-distributed random

o Packages may now specify actions to be taken when the package is
loaded (setLoadActions()).

o options(max.print = Inf) and similar now give an error (instead
of warnings later).

o The “difftime” replacement method of units tries harder to
preserve other attributes of the argument. (Wish of PR#14839.)

o poly(raw = TRUE) no longer requires more unique points than the
degree. (Requested by John Fox.)

PACKAGE parallel:

o There is a new function mcmapply(), a parallel version of
mapply(), and a wrapper mcMap(), a parallel version of Map().

o A default cluster can be registered by the new function
setDefaultCluster(): this will be used by default in functions
such as parLapply().

o clusterMap() has a new argument .scheduling to allow the use of

o There are new load-balancing functions parLapplyLB() and

o makePSOCKCluster() has a new option useXDR = FALSE which can be
used to avoid byte-shuffling for serialization when all the nodes
are known to be little-endian (or all big-endian).


o Non-ASCII vignettes without a declared encoding are no longer

o C/C++ code in packages is now compiled with -NDEBUG to mitigate
against the C/C++ function assert being called in production use.
Developers can turn this off during package development with

o R CMD INSTALL has a new option –dsym which on Mac OS X (Darwin)
dumps the symbols alongside the .so file: this is helpful when
debugging with valgrind (and especially when installing packages
into R.framework). [This can also be enabled by setting the
undocumented environment variable PKG_MAKE_DSYM, since R 2.12.0.]

o R CMD INSTALL will test loading under all installed
sub-architectures even for packages without compiled code, unless
the flag –no-multiarch is used. (Pure R packages can do things
which are architecture-dependent: in the case which prompted
this, looking for an icon in a Windows R executable.)

o There is a new option install.packages(type = “both”) which tries
source packages if binary packages are not available, on those
platforms where the latter is the default.

o The meaning of install.packages(dependencies = TRUE) has changed:
it now means to install the essential dependencies of the named
packages plus the Suggests, but only the essential dependencies
of dependencies. To get the previous behaviour, specify
dependencies as a character vector.

o R CMD INSTALL –merge-multiarch is now supported on OS X and
other Unix-alikes using multiple sub-architectures.

o R CMD INSTALL –libs-only now by default does a test load on
Unix-alikes as well as on Windows: suppress with –no-test-load.


o R CMD check now gives a warning rather than a note if it finds
inefficiently compressed datasets. With bzip2 and xz compression
having been available since R 2.10.0, it only exceptionally makes
sense to not use them.

The environment variable _R_CHECK_COMPACT_DATA2_ is no longer
consulted: the check is always done if _R_CHECK_COMPACT_DATA_ has
a true value (its default).

o Where multiple sub-architectures are to be tested, R CMD check
now runs the examples and tests for all the sub-architectures
even if one fails.

o R CMD check can optionally report timings on various parts of the
check: this is controlled by environment variable
_R_CHECK_TIMINGS_ documented in ‘Writing R Extensions’. Timings
(in the style of R CMD BATCH) are given at the foot of the output
files from running each test and the R code in each vignette.

o There are new options for more rigorous testing by R CMD check
selected by environment variables – see the ‘Writing R
Extensions’ manual.

o R CMD check now warns (rather than notes) on undeclared use of
other packages in examples and tests: increasingly people are
using the metadata in the DESCRIPTION file to compute information
about packages, for example reverse dependencies.

o The defaults for some of the options in R CMD check (described in
the ‘R Internals’ manual) have changed: checks for unsafe and
.Internal() calls and for partial matching of arguments in R
function calls are now done by default.

o R CMD check has more comprehensive facilities for checking
compiled code and so gives fewer reports on entry points linked
into .so/.dll files from libraries (including C++ and Fortran

Checking compiled code is now done on FreeBSD (as well as the
existing supported platforms of Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris and

o R CMD build has more options for –compact-vignettes: see R CMD
build –help.

o R CMD build has a new option –md5 to add an MD5 file (as done by
CRAN): this is used by R CMD INSTALL to check the integrity of
the distribution.

If this option is not specified, any existing (and probably
stale) MD5 file is removed.


o R CMD Rd2dvi is now defunct: use R CMD Rd2pdf.

o Options such –max-nsize, –max-vsize and the function
mem.limits() are now defunct. (Options –min-nsize and
–min-vsize remain available.)

o Use of library.dynam() without specifying all the first three
arguments is now disallowed.

Use of an argument chname in library.dynam() including the
extension .so or .dll (which was never allowed according to the
help page) is defunct. This also applies to
library.dynam.unload() and to useDynLib directives in NAMESPACE

o The internal functions .readRDS() and .saveRDS() are now defunct.

o The off-line help() types “postscript” and “ps” are defunct.

o Sys.putenv(), replaced and deprecated in R 2.5.0, is finally

o Some functions/objects which have been defunct for five or more
years have been removed completely. These include .Alias(),
La.chol(), La.chol2inv(), La.eigen(), Machine(), Platform(),
Version, codes(), delay(), format.char(), getenv(), httpclient(),
loadURL(), machine(), parse.dcf(), printNoClass(), provide(),
read.table.url(), restart(), scan.url(), symbol.C(), symbol.For()
and unix().

o The ENCODING argument to .C() is deprecated. It was intended to
smooth the transition to multi-byte character strings, but can be
replaced by the use of iconv() in the rare cases where it is
still needed.


o Building with a positive value of –with-valgrind-instrumentation
now also instruments logical, complex and raw vectors.

o There is experimental support for _link-time optimization_ with
gcc 4.5.0 or later on platforms which support it.


o Passing R objects other than atomic vectors, functions, lists and
environments to .C() is now deprecated and will give a warning.
Most cases (especially NULL) are actually coding errors. NULL
will be disallowed in future.

.C() now passes a pairlist as a SEXP to the compiled code. This
is as was documented, but pairlists were in reality handled
differently as a legacy from the early days of R.

o call_R and call_S are deprecated. They still exist in the
headers and as entry points, but are no longer documented and
should not be used for new code.


o str(x, width) now obeys its width argument also for function
headers and other objects x where deparse() is applied.

o The convention for x %/% 0L for integer-mode x has been changed
from 0L to NA_integer_. (PR#14754)

o The exportMethods directive in a NAMESPACE file now exports S4
generics as necessary, as the extensions manual said it does.
The manual has also been updated to be a little more informative
on this point.

It is now required that there is an S4 generic (imported or
created in the package) when methods are to be exported.

o Reference methods cannot safely use non-exported entries in the
namespace. We now do not do so, and warn in the documentation.

o The namespace import code was warning when identical S4 generic
functions were imported more than once, but should not (reported
by Brian Ripley, then Martin Morgan).

o merge() is no longer allowed (in some ways) to create a data
frame with duplicate column names (which confused PR#14786).

o Fixes for rendering raster images on X11 and Windows devices when
the x-axis or y-axis scale is reversed.

o getAnywhere() found S3 methods as seen from the utils namespace
and not from the environment from which it was called.

o selectMethod(f, sig) would not return inherited group methods
when caching was off (as it is by default).

o dev.copy2pdf(out.type = “cairo”) gave an error. (PR#14827)

o Virtual classes (e.g., class unions) had a NULL prototype even if
that was not a legal subclass. See ?setClassUnion.

o The C prototypes for zdotc and zdotu in R_ext/BLAS.h have been
changed to the more modern style rather than that used by f2c.
(Patch by Berwin Turlach.)

o isGeneric() produced an error for primitives that can not have

o .C() or .Fortran() had a lack-of-protection error if the
registration information resulted in an argument being coerced to
another type.

o boxplot(x=x, at=at) with non finite elements in x and non integer
at could not generate a warning but failed.

o heatmap(x, symm=TRUE, RowSideColors=*) no longer draws the colors
in reversed order.

o predict() was incorrect in the multivariate case, for p >= 2.

o print(x, max=m) is now consistent when x is a “Date”; also the
“reached … max.print ..” messages are now consistently using
single brackets.

o Closed the

  • tag in pages generated by Rd2HTML(). (PR#14841.)

    o Axis tick marks could go out of range when a log scale was used.

    o Signature objects in methods were not allocated as S4 objects
    (caused a problem with trace() reported by Martin Morgan).

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