Binary R Packages for Linux: Past, Present and Future

Iñaki Ucar, Dirk Eddelbuettel

Pre-compiled binary packages provide a very convenient way of efficiently distributing software that has been adopted by most Linux package management systems. However, the heterogeneity of the Linux ecosystem, combined with the growing number of R extensions available, poses a scalability problem. As a result, efforts to bring binary R packages to Linux have been scattered, and lack a proper mechanism to fully integrate them with R's package manager. This work reviews past and present of binary distribution for Linux, and presents a path forward by showcasing the `cran2copr' project, an RPM-based proof-of-concept implementation of an automated scalable binary distribution system with the capability of building, maintaining and distributing thousands of packages, while providing a portable and extensible bridge to the system package manager.

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