[R-gui] Re: [R] Feedback about SciViews?

Don MacQueen macq at llnl.gov
Fri May 2 16:19:43 CEST 2003

At 11:02 AM +0100 5/1/03, Luke Whitaker wrote:
>On Wed, 30 Apr 2003, A.J. Rossini wrote:
>>  "Liaw, Andy" <andy_liaw at merck.com> writes:
>>  >> The GUI itself (i.e., how it operated, what menus were where, etc.)
>>  >> was fine, but it was completely useless for anyone sitting at a
>>  >> remote host, due to dreadful image quality and poor performance when
>>  >> displaying anywhere other than on the console of the machine on which
>>  >> SPlus was actually running.
>>  >
>>  > AFAIK the problem is the X server: it gives you a black window if the X
>>  > display is 16-bit.  If you can live with 8-bit display, the Java GUI will
>>  > work.  It's that way on all Unix (X?) platform.
>>  I thought Java on Linux would do 8 and 24, but not 16?  (or something
>>  truly weird like that).
>>  But that doesn't address performance issues, which still can be pretty
>>  bad.
>It seems the problem here is limited to running R remotely. Given
>the power of cheap consumer desktop machines these days, this seems
>to me less of an issue than it used to be. Expensive commercial
>software probably gets run remotely more than it needs to because
>of licensing issues, which obviously don't apply to R.

Not only licensing issues, but platform issues. SPlus doesn't run on 
the platform that most of us here in my department have on our 

That's not the case with R, thank goodness. But there are other 
factors, such as administration and maintenance. With each new 
version of R comes the job of installing it. Will that be 10 
installations or one? Running remotely on a server it's just one, and 
that is a considerable time savings.


>If the GUI can be cleanly split from the compute engine of R, then
>it should be quite easy to get the GUI running locally even if the
>compute engine is remote - although I re-iterate my question for the
>need to run free software remotely. My very modest desktop machine
>is far more powerfull than the mainframe that I learnt to use SAS
>on, and not so far short of the very expensive file server that I
>use now.

Don MacQueen
Environmental Protection Department
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Livermore, CA, USA

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