R-beta: Re: S Compatibility

Z. Todd Taylor zt_taylor at pnl.gov
Wed Apr 30 01:43:30 CEST 1997

Ross Ihaka <ihaka at stat.auckland.ac.nz> wrote:

[ in response to discussions about S compatibility ]

> Some things we almost certainly won't be changing.  Scoping is one of
> these (although I have to confess that I have made the pitch to Robert
> that we should drop our scoping in favour of the S version - he
> sensibly said "no").

I have a question/comment on this topic.  If I understand what
I've read, R's lexical scoping rules are what require that all
of R's data be held in memory (as opposed to S's method of
storing each object on disk and reading it as often as

My question is whether there will ever be a way around having to
store everything in memory.  I make heavy use of S's
user-defined database mechanism to gain transparent access to
some huge datasets.  I store tens of thousands of
individually-compressed S objects that I can access
transparently via my user-defined database.

In S, I attach my user-defined database(s) and all those objects
are available; but they don't use any memory until I actually
use them.  Obviously, I rarely access all of them in one
session, but usually access more than I could hold in memory
at once.

So, how could I do this in R?

Z. Todd Taylor
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
zt_taylor at pnl.gov
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