R-devel in parallel to regular R installation

July 1, 2015

(This article was first published on log Fold Change » r, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Unfortunately, you need both: R-devel (development version of R) if you want to submit your packages to CRAN, and regular R for your research (you don’t want the unstable release for that).

Fortunately, installing R-devel in parallel is less trouble than one might think.

Say, we want to install R-devel into a directory called ~/R-devel/, and we will download the sources to ~/src/. We will first set up two environment variables to hold these two directories:

export RSOURCES=~/src
export RDEVEL=~/R-devel

Then we get the sources with SVN:

mkdir -p $RSOURCES
svn co https://svn.r-project.org/R/trunk R-devel

Then, we compile R-devel:

mkdir -p $RDEVEL
$RSOURCES/R-devel/configure && make -j

That's it. Now we just need to set up a script to launch the development version of R:

export PATH="$RDEVEL/bin/:$PATH"
export R_LIBS=$RDEVEL/library
R "[email protected]"

You need to save the script in an executable file somewhere in your $PATH, e.g. ~/bin might be a good idea.

Here are commands that make this script automatically in ~/bin/Rdev:

cat <~/bin/Rdev;

export R_LIBS=$RDEVEL/library
export PATH="$RDEVEL/bin/:$PATH"
R "[email protected]"
chmod a+x ~/bin/Rdev

One last thing remaining is to populate the library with packages necessary for the R-devel to run and check the packages, in my case c("knitr", "devtools", "ellipse", "Rcpp", "extrafont", "RColorBrewer", "beeswarm", "testthat", "XML", "rmarkdown" ) and others (I keep expanding this list while checking my packages). Also, bioconductor packages limma and org.Hs.eg.db, which I need for a package which I build.

Now I can check my packages with Rdev CMD build xyz / Rdev CMD check xyz_xyz.tar.gz

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