[ESS] Clues for the User on the Specific Emacs/ESS setup

John Maindonald john.maindonald at anu.edu.au
Thu Aug 18 02:02:29 CEST 2011

On 18/08/2011, at 5:50 AM, Stephen Eglen wrote:

> Thanks for these points John.
>> In the README (http://ess.r-project.org/Manual/readme.html), it says,
>> under "1.6 Unix installation":
>> <<<
>> 2. Then, add the line
>>          (require 'ess-site)
>> to ~/.emacs and restart Emacs.
>> 3. If you see a buffer named *ESS*, then the simple instructions were
>> most likely successful. If not, then read further.
> We probably can mention that 1.6 is not even relevant if the user has
> got a pre-installed version of ESS.

There's an issue of what pre-installed means.  I'd thought Carbon Emacs
had a pre-installed version of ESS, but in the way that I had it set up,
I was accessing a regular Unix style ESS installation.  I'd not expected
anything to be much different when I moved to Vincent Goulet's install

>> There might be a separate brief section on MacOS X installation, but I
>> judge that this issue is wider than MacOS X.
> Yes, e.g. it might affect debian installs (thanks Ramon).  I need to
> check.
>> Vincent, it would I think be helpful to include on your web page
>> http://vgoulet.act.ulaval.ca/en/emacs/ a note warning that (at least
>> for the OS X version), customisations that must be loaded prior to
>> loading ess-site should go into site-start.el (or default.el, if that
>> is how you decide to do it), prior to the line that loads ess-site,
>> not into .emacs.
> Certainly now that we have raised this issue, we should try to think of
> a way to cleanly fix it so that user's don't need such warnings.  e.g. I
> think the default.el approach should work.

Users may still for other customisation reasons need to know where ess-site is loaded.
See the suggestion below re an 'ess-setup-info' command

>> Actually (returning to the customisation issue with which this started), why not include
>>  (setq ess-r-versions '("R-2" "R32" "R64"))
>> in the site-start.el file (or in default.el, if that is what you
>>  decide to go with)?
> This is probably something we can do anyway for all users of ESS on mac,
> not just those using Vincent's install.  Should be straightforward.
>> Would it make sense to flag, when ess-site is loaded, the file that has the command 
>> that loads it?
> I'd be reluctant to do that -- we should teach the user's instead to use
> M-x locate-library RET as that is the general Emacs approach.

One has to know what one is looking for -- default.el or (as things stand) site-start.el.
How about a command
  M-x ess-setup-info
Anything that may be relevant to the specific installation can then be noted (no more
than 2 or 3 sentences, I'd hope), with a further note about the use of M-x locate-library.
The README would suggest using 'M-x ess-setup-info' to get installation specific 
information.  This keeps the README simple, and provides the information where
it is (or may be) required.  It may also allow very brief and simple responses to some
queries on this email list.

[A side comment is that any R package that requires access to executable(s) that are
external to the package might usefully have something line a setup_info() command.
There's a spatial analysis package -- I cannot for the moment identify it -- that does.]

John Maindonald             email: john.maindonald at anu.edu.au
phone : +61 2 (6125)3473    fax  : +61 2(6125)5549
Centre for Mathematics & Its Applications, Room 1194,
John Dedman Mathematical Sciences Building (Building 27)
Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200.

> Stephen

More information about the ESS-help mailing list