[ESS] XEmacs, ESS on Cygwin and R on Windows XP: inferrior-ess-prompt problem

Vasiliev, Boris Boris.Vasiliev at drdc-rddc.gc.ca
Fri Jun 3 16:25:21 CEST 2011

Good morning,

I am setting up a Windows XP system with Cygwin, XEmacs, R, and ESS and
I run into a problem - M-x R does not start an R process.  I would
greatly appreciate your help or comments on how to approach the problem.

For R, I have R for Windows, version 2.13.0, with executables in

For XEmacs, I use XEmacs 21.4 (Patch 22) that is offered in the latest
release of Cygwin 1.7.9.   XEmacs runs in Windows native GUI mode (not
X11 or console mode)
For ESS, I installed ESS 5.13 in the cygwin directory tree at

The initialization file for XEmacs, ~/.xemacs/init.el, has only few

;; ?need this definition to get XEmacs to load ESS; otherwise ESS
(defun w32-short-file-name (x)
"Placeholder for use with XEmacs.  The real function in Emacs returns
8.3 version of full path name of the
Argument.  This placeholder returns its argument only."
(setq inferior-R-program-name /cygdrive/c/R/R-2.13.0/bin/i386/Rterm.exe)
(require 'ess-site)

XEmacs recognizes ESS (there is an *ESS* buffer), but when I use "M-x R"
to start R XEmacs hangs. In the *ESS* buffer there are messages that ESS
is setting up communication with R.  The final line is
"Making Process...Buf *R*, Proc R, Prog
/cygdrive/c/R/R-2.13.0/bin/i386/Rterm.exe Start file=nil, Args=--ess ."
After a while, a message appears in the command buffer: "Timeout waiting
for prompt.  Check inferior-ess-prompt or ess-loop-timeout."
Surprisingly, if an .R file is already open I can start R by pressing
the R button below the menus.

>From looking at the forums, this is a known problem but I could not find
a solution.  Apart from installing XEmacs, ESS, and R in the same
environment, either Windows or Cygwin, is there a simple way to solve
this problem?  (I am hesitant to install R on Cygwin because the R Team
does support the Cygwin port but it supports the Windows version.  I am
hesitant to install XEmacs on Windows because I keep most of my work in
Cygwin directory tree and I am not sure how well XEmacs on Windows will
handle it.)


More information about the ESS-help mailing list