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2.1 Installing R

In this session#

  • Understand the different mechanisms for installing R

  • Installing R from source and pre-compiled binaries

Three mechanisms for installing R#

You have three different mechanisms for installing R on a Linux machine:

  • Install from a Linux package manager

    • For example yum (Red Hat) or apt (Ubuntu)
  • Compile from source

    • Download the R source code and compile using the relevant GCC compiler
  • Install from pre-compiled binaries provided by RStudio

    • Download and install the pre-compiled binaries available from RStudio

Method 1: Installing R using yum or apt#

Installing from yum or apt (or similar) is traditionally the mechanism that most administrators would use.

Alert

However, updating the R installation will overwrite previous installations.

For data science work in production, it is important to provide code stability by installing multiple versions of R side-by-side.

This means that using your Linux package manager for installing R in production is not a good idea.

Recommendation

We recommend you don't use a Linux package manager to install R.

Method 2: Compile R from source#

For data science work in production, it is important to provide code stability by installing multiple versions of R side-by-side.

You can achieve this by installing R from source.

  • Download the source code
  • Create a "make" configuration
  • Run make
  • Run make install

This offers maximum flexibility, because you can specify the location of the installed package and you can optimize for your hardware.

Instructions for installing R from source

The downside of installing R from source is that it takes some time for the compilation to complete.

Method 3: Install from pre-compiled binaries#

RStudio recommends that in most cases you install R from pre-compiled binaries.

This gives you the benefit of:

  • Side-by-side installation of multiple versions of R
  • It is quick, since the compilation step has previously been completed

To install from pre-compiled binaries, follow the instructions at Install R

Tip

Installing from pre-compiled binaries is the recommended option in most cases

Summary#

Recommendation#

Our suggested order for making a choice of R installation is:

  1. Install from pre-compiled binaries

    • to get multiple R versions side-by-side
  2. Compile from source

    • gives more flexibility but takes longer
  3. Use yum or apt

    • Does not allow side-by-side install
    • Do not use for long-term data science stability

Your turn#

Next complete the exercise.

Signs of success

  • R is running