[R] Firefox not showing R help.

Rolf Turner r.turner at auckland.ac.nz
Sun Mar 1 00:43:09 CET 2015

See inline below.

On 01/03/15 10:59, Duncan Murdoch wrote:
> On 28/02/2015 4:10 PM, Rolf Turner wrote:
>> Firefox recently updated itself on my laptop.  Now when I ask for R help
>> --- e.g. ?plot --- I just get my home page. And no help. If I do "?plot"
>> again after Firefox has opened its window, I just get yet another
>> Firefox window, opened to my home page.  (I have my preferences set to
>>       "When Firefox starts Show my homepage"
>> --- as I always have had in the past.)
> I would guess that browseURL() won't work for any URL.  Is that right?

Yes.  That is correct. E.g. if I do


I get taken to my home page, rather than to the R home page.

> What does getOption("browser") give you in R?


> If it is just a character
> string (e.g. "xdg-open" is what I get in Ubuntu), does it work from your
> command line, outside of R, e.g. for me that test would be
> xdg-open http://www.r-project.org

I tried

    /usr/bin/firefox http://www.r-project.org/

from the Linux command line and was taken to the R home page, 
seamlessly.  I also tried

     xdg-open http://www.r-project.org/

and that worked equally well.

Finally I tried


and then


and BINGO!!! the HTML help came up as requested.

So I have a working solution to my problem.  But I *really* don't 
understand why changing the browser from "/usr/bin/firefox" to 
"xdg-open" made a difference.  (Since there appears to be no difference 
at the Linux command line.)

Anyway; thanks very much for solving my problem.



> If that doesn't work, but you can figure out a command line way to open
> a particular URL, change getOption("browser") to use that.
> Duncan Murdoch
>> The Firefox that I am currently running is (according Firefox help
>> --> "About Firefox") is version 36.0.
>> Can anyone suggest to me how I can get my html R help back?
>> For what it's worth:  I am using Linux, Fedora 17.  (Yes, I know it's
>> elderly, but then so am I. :-) )
>> Also in case it has any relevance:
>>>> sessionInfo()
>>> R version 3.1.2 (2014-10-31)
>>> Platform: x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu (64-bit)
>>> locale:
>>>   [1] LC_CTYPE=en_NZ.utf8       LC_NUMERIC=C
>>>   [3] LC_TIME=en_NZ.utf8        LC_COLLATE=en_NZ.utf8
>>>   [5] LC_MONETARY=en_NZ.utf8    LC_MESSAGES=en_NZ.utf8
>>>   [7] LC_PAPER=en_NZ.utf8       LC_NAME=C
>>>   [9] LC_ADDRESS=C              LC_TELEPHONE=C
>>> attached base packages:
>>> [1] stats     graphics  grDevices utils     datasets  methods   base
>>> other attached packages:
>>> [1] spatstat_1.40-0.064 misc_0.0-16
>>> loaded via a namespace (and not attached):
>>>   [1] abind_1.4-0     deldir_0.1-7    goftest_1.0-2   grid_3.1.2
>>>   [5] lattice_0.20-29 Matrix_1.1-4    mgcv_1.8-3      nlme_3.1-118
>>>   [9] polyclip_1.3-1  tensor_1.5      tools_3.1.2

Rolf Turner
Technical Editor ANZJS
Department of Statistics
University of Auckland
Phone: +64-9-373-7599 ext. 88276
Home phone: +64-9-480-4619

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