[R] Building R with Microsoft Visual C++

Peter Dalgaard BSA p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk
Sat Jul 28 13:16:56 CEST 2001

"Neil Osborne" <nc_osborne at hotmail.com> writes:

> I decided to do it by myself, as the impression I got was that everybody was
> to busy to help. However, after having wasted the last three and a half
> months, I'm forced to come back, cup in hand. I would be very grateful to
> hear from anyone who has managed to build R under VC++ 6.0, and even more
> grateful, if they could e-mail me a VC project tthat builds R. It would not
> be neccessary to include R the source files, since I can download these
> myself. What would be useful though, would be the CORRECT tools (I spent
> almost a month following links in the very useful Readme files) etc.
> I  happened to stumble on R shortly after my Masters degree in Applied
> Statistics. I think it's an AMAZING product, and the fact that it is open
> source is even more amazing. I take off my hat to all those that helped to
> make it a reality. My only gripe is that of "user-friendliness" when it
> comes to building R. The impression I get is that this is a closely guarded
> secret by old grey haired be-spectapled men in white coats with 50 or more
> years of hacking UNIX, who don't have time to explain anything to any one,
> and our stuck up in their own little world  of academia - Sorry ;-).

Well, sixteen years to be precise in my case. However, you need to
know that the grey-haired men (some more than others, none of us wear
white coats though, and some of us can still manage without reading
glasses) *also* gave up on Visual C++ many moons ago. The project file
structure of VC++ is simply not strong enough to build the auxiliary
files needed for R, and we only achieved the cross-platform
portability by using the gnuwin tools. This is simply the traditional
clash between two kinds of user-friendliness: making simple things
easy vs. making difficult things possible (and automatable). (You can
read the book or wait for the movie, but in academia the latter option
may require a very long wait!)

> This is just the impression I get, and many students I've spoken to have the
> same impression and so don't post to this group if they have any queries. I
> expect anytime, to have some Professor e-mailing to "tell me off" for being
> a naughty boy ! (and to kindly inform me that it's all in the FM!).

Well, it is... *provided* you use the suggested tools. Once the tools
are installed, you start a shell, go to the relevant directory, type
"make" and sit down and watch the magic. This might have taken you
three and a half days to get to work and three and a half weeks to
begin to understand how it works... 

If you want to use a different set of tools, in particular a
proprietary one, you really can't expect anyone else to jump up and
help you out. It might be doable - versions of R for Windows around
the 0.50 revision (c.1997) were actually made with VC++ (by Robert),
but it usually took him over a month from the Unix releases were made.
However, the functionality of R has been expanded considerably since
then and I have no clue as to where VC++ stands when it comes to
dynamic linking and suchlike. I also think some non-binary items were
actually built on Unix and copied across (but my memory is fading).

   O__  ---- Peter Dalgaard             Blegdamsvej 3  
  c/ /'_ --- Dept. of Biostatistics     2200 Cph. N   
 (*) \(*) -- University of Copenhagen   Denmark      Ph: (+45) 35327918
~~~~~~~~~~ - (p.dalgaard at biostat.ku.dk)             FAX: (+45) 35327907
r-help mailing list -- Read http://www.ci.tuwien.ac.at/~hornik/R/R-FAQ.html
Send "info", "help", or "[un]subscribe"
(in the "body", not the subject !)  To: r-help-request at stat.math.ethz.ch

More information about the R-help mailing list