[ESS] Odd behaviour of graphics window in Windoze XP inside VirtualBox

Chris Evans chris at psyctc.org
Sat Nov 30 15:03:39 CET 2013

I don't often use Emacs/ESS/R in my windoze virtual box so I can't say whether this is down to any of a number of recent changes (windoze patches, new VirtualBox are certainly candidates).  I have Emacs/ESS/R working fine in Linux but I have been badly burned by LibreOffice/Word incompatibilities recently so as I'm working up a paper with Word users I thought I'd work in a Windoze VM not least as pasting graphics from R to the Word file would be easy (if not literate statistics).

What is happening is that if I run a plot() I get the graphics window but it's just a blank window.  

If I run the same commands, such as:
  x <- runif(2000)
  y <- rnorm(2000)
in raw R I get the graphics window fine.  RStudio also brings up the graphics fine.  If I route the graphics to PDF from Emacs/ESS it outputs fine!

It's only the raw graphics window that is misbehaving.  To make things even more odd, if I then kill the first graphics window with dev.off() from ESS and re-run the plot(x,y) from there, the window comes up and I can execute more graphics instructions in ESS and they work fine.  However, the graphics window isn't healthy: it won't resize to full screen either by double clicking on the title bar or the "fullscreen" icon in the top right and the three commands ("File History Resize") below the title window are greyed out and inoperative. Seems weird to me and I assume it must be something to do with the way ESS hands off the R graphics through to windoze.

I'm using a recently updated Windoze XP sp3, R 3.0.2 32-bit, VirtualBox 4.3.4 r91027 and Emacs 24.3.1 (i386-mingw-nt5.1.2600) with ESS 13.09 from Vincent Goulet's current installation for 32 bit windoze.  The host OS is Debian 6.0.8 32 bit with kernel 3.2.0 on a (horrible in my opinion) Toshiba Satellite i5 machine.  I don't have easy access to other machines in which I could see if this replicates.

This used to work fine some months ago but I think everything (R, Emacs and ESS) have been updated as well as the other OS changes since I last used it.

Anyone have suggestions or thoughts?  TIA,


Chris Evans <chris at psyctc.org> Skype: chris-psyctc
Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy & Professor, University of Nottingham
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