[R] Re: Possible solution for Mozilla/help.start() search problems

Marc Schwartz MSchwartz at medanalytics.com
Sat Nov 23 22:21:34 CET 2002

ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk wrote:
> Marc,
> I think that is the clue.  I copied the Netscape installation of the Java
> plugins into my Moz 1.2b installation.  For 1.1 I let Mozilla download
> Java support.  The first works with R, the second did not.
> Looks like _adding_ Java support to Mozilla is not setup correctly.
> Thanks for your patience in looking into this.
> Brian

Professor Ripley,

Glad to be of help and thank you for your kind comments.

In my review of the Sun and Mozilla sites, there appear to be common 
installation/update design issues that impact the proper functioning of 
the Java plugins and therefore the applets. There are many posts in 
Bugzilla, which lead me to think that a resolution to this may require a 
level of standardization and cooperation between the involved parties. 
There is a definite "chicken and egg" disposition that comes through in 
some of the posts.

One can reasonably argue however, that the burden would be on the 
browser folks, since Java is meant to be platform/application 
independent. If a browser module/plugin is required for a particular 
page, the browser should search for it and if not installed, request 
that it be installed and update it's links accordingly for subsequent 
use. It is this process that seems to escape Mozilla at present.

Of course, having the Java plugins themselves in a standardized (ie. 
non-version specific) location would be of immense help as well and save 
search time.

Near term, it may be appropriate to consider adding a note in 
?help.start, the R FAQ and/or perhaps on 
.../doc/html/search/SearchEngine.html to refer folks to the release 
notes/FAQ for their platform/browser combination as to any issues 
relevant to the proper functioning of the Java plugins and therefore the 
R search applet.

Given the plethora of combinations of OSs and browsers, it may be 
problematic to provide specific instructions that would be relevant to 
any particular R user. Though, it may be reasonable that Mozilla and its 
Gecko based derivatives are sufficiently prevalent within the R 
Community that providing detailed instructions in that case would be 
appropriate. I would defer to others on that.

Best regards,

Marc Schwartz

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