Offer zip builds

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Offer zip builds

Steven Penny
If you go here:

https://cran.cnr.berkeley.edu/bin/windows/base

you see EXE installers for Windows. This contrasts with other programming
languages that offer both an executable installer and ZIP files that can be
extracted and run. For example Go:

https://golang.org/dl

and Nim:

https://nim-lang.org/install_windows.html

Python:

https://python.org/downloads/release/python-373

and C#:

https://dotnet.microsoft.com/download/dotnet-core/2.2

PHP:

https://windows.php.net/download

Perl:

http://strawberryperl.com/releases.html

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Re: Offer zip builds

Abby Spurdle
> If you go here:
> https://cran.cnr.berkeley.edu/bin/windows/base
> you see EXE installers for Windows. This contrasts with other programming
> languages that offer both an executable installer and ZIP files that can
be
> extracted and run

Are you suggesting that R should do the same?
If so, I second that, excellent idea.
(However, gzip preferred).

I've had significant problems with the Windows installer.
I've never had significant problems with zip files.
Also, I assuming that the zip approach would be easier for systems
administrators.
However, I'm not a systems administrator...


Abs

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Re: Offer zip builds

R devel mailing list


> On Jun 3, 2019, at 4:40 PM, Abby Spurdle <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> If you go here:
>> https://cran.cnr.berkeley.edu/bin/windows/base
>> you see EXE installers for Windows. This contrasts with other programming
>> languages that offer both an executable installer and ZIP files that can
> be
>> extracted and run
>
> Are you suggesting that R should do the same?
> If so, I second that, excellent idea.
> (However, gzip preferred).
>
> I've had significant problems with the Windows installer.
> I've never had significant problems with zip files.
> Also, I assuming that the zip approach would be easier for systems
> administrators.
> However, I'm not a systems administrator...
>
>
> Abs


Hi,

First, I do not speak for R Core, who would, in the end, be responsible for offering something official here.

Second, prior discussions on this topic have generally pointed to:

  https://sourceforge.net/projects/rportable/

as one source for a portable version of R, albeit, with some dependencies (e.g. PortableApps framework)

That being said, again, based upon prior discussions on this topic, the typical reason for needing a ZIP archive of an R installation, is to circumvent Windows OS security restrictions, whereby a useR does not have the requisite Admin rights to install R via the default installer.

Thus, you can presumably download a ZIP of an R installation, unzip it in a location of your choosing, whereby you can then execute/run the R .exe binary. If you can't do that, then a ZIP will not be helpful to you.

I have not tried it, but if that is the case here, you may be able to use the normal R binary installer, but adjust the default install options when prompted, allowing you to customize the install location and other parameters, that may be suitable in the absence of Admin rights.

Prior statements, not official, would suggest that R Core is not likely to assist in providing official options for useRs to circumvent OS security restrictions.

Regards,

Marc Schwartz

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Re: Offer zip builds

Steven Penny
On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 4:11 PM Marc Schwartz wrote:
> I have not tried it, but if that is the case here, you may be able to use the
> normal R binary installer, but adjust the default install options when
> prompted, allowing you to customize the install location and other parameters,
> that may be suitable in the absence of Admin rights.
>
> Prior statements, not official, would suggest that R Core is not likely to
> assist in providing official options for useRs to circumvent OS security
> restrictions.

Theres nothing nefarious here. It would allow people to use the R environment
without running an installer. If someone is a new user they may want to try
R out, and installers can be invasive as they commonly:

- copy files to install dir
- copy files to profile dir
- set registry entries
- set environment variables
- set start menu entries

and historically uninstallers have a bad record of reverting these changes.
should not put this burden upon new users or even having them resort to virtual
machine to avoid items above. having a ZIP file allows new users to run the
R environment, then if they like it perhaps they can run the installer going
forward. Are you familiar with Windows? As everything I am describing hasnt
changed in at least 20 years.

I dont have a criticism of the R installer, I have not run tests to be able to
determine if its well behaved or not. Its the *not knowing* that is the issue.
With Windows, every installer could be perceived as a "black box".

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Re: Offer zip builds

R devel mailing list


> On Jun 3, 2019, at 6:31 PM, Steven Penny <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 4:11 PM Marc Schwartz wrote:
>> I have not tried it, but if that is the case here, you may be able to use the
>> normal R binary installer, but adjust the default install options when
>> prompted, allowing you to customize the install location and other parameters,
>> that may be suitable in the absence of Admin rights.
>>
>> Prior statements, not official, would suggest that R Core is not likely to
>> assist in providing official options for useRs to circumvent OS security
>> restrictions.
>
> Theres nothing nefarious here. It would allow people to use the R environment
> without running an installer. If someone is a new user they may want to try
> R out, and installers can be invasive as they commonly:
>
> - copy files to install dir
> - copy files to profile dir
> - set registry entries
> - set environment variables
> - set start menu entries
>
> and historically uninstallers have a bad record of reverting these changes.
> should not put this burden upon new users or even having them resort to virtual
> machine to avoid items above. having a ZIP file allows new users to run the
> R environment, then if they like it perhaps they can run the installer going
> forward. Are you familiar with Windows? As everything I am describing hasnt
> changed in at least 20 years.
>
> I dont have a criticism of the R installer, I have not run tests to be able to
> determine if its well behaved or not. Its the *not knowing* that is the issue.
> With Windows, every installer could be perceived as a "black box".


Hi,

I am on macOS primarily, albeit, I have run both Windows and Linux routinely in years past.

That being said, these days, I do run Windows 10 under a Parallels VM on macOS, as I have a single commercial application that I need to run for clients now and then, and it sadly only runs on a real Windows install (e.g. not with Wine).

To your points:

The R for Windows FAQ does provide some information on installing R as a non-Admin:

  https://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/base/rw-FAQ.html#How-do-I-install-R-for-Windows_003f

as well as Registry change related information:

  https://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/base/rw-FAQ.html#Does-R-use-the-Registry_003f

There is also information on running from external media:

 https://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/base/rw-FAQ.html#Can-I-run-R-from-a-CD-or-USB-drive_003f

and uninstalling:

  https://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/base/rw-FAQ.html#How-do-I-UNinstall-R_003f


In addition, the R-Admin manual provides information on the Inno Setup installer:

  https://cran.r-project.org/doc/manuals/r-release/R-admin.html#Building-the-Inno-Setup-installer
  https://cran.r-project.org/doc/manuals/r-release/R-admin.html#The-Inno-Setup-installer

which leads you to:

  http://jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php

and shows that Inno Setup is, like R, fully open source, hence reviewable and not a black box, any more than R itself is. That should not be a surprise...

While I understand the use case you describe, it is, as I noted initially, up to R Core to be willing to provide an official release of a ZIP based installation. Unless you can make the case to them to expend the finite resources that they have to support this as part of each version release process, in light of the prior discussions, it is not clear that this appears to be a priority.

Again, I do not speak for them.

Otherwise, it falls to the community to volunteer to engage in that activity and fulfill the need.

Regards,

Marc

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Re: Offer zip builds

Steven Penny
On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 6:54 PM Marc Schwartz wrote:
> I am on macOS primarily, albeit, I have run both Windows and Linux routinely
> in years past.

With all due respect, then you have no business in this thread.

> That being said, these days, I do run Windows 10 under a Parallels VM on
> macOS, as I have a single commercial application that I need to run for
> clients now and then, and it sadly only runs on a real Windows install (e.g.
> not with Wine).

Further demonstrating my point. You run Windows in a virtual machine, meaning
even if you encountered some bad installer, you could just revert to a snapshot
or similar.

> To your points:
>
> [bunch of links]

I am sorry if I miscommunicated, I didnt and dont wish to be convinced about how
well behaved R installer is. I wish for R to offer zip builds. Many other
programming languages do:

- http://strawberryperl.com/releases.html
- https://dotnet.microsoft.com/download/dotnet-core/2.2
- https://golang.org/dl
- https://nim-lang.org/install_windows.html
- https://python.org/downloads/release/python-373
- https://windows.php.net/download

As I see it, the question isnt "should R offer zip builds", its "why isnt R
offering zip builds".

> Unless you can make the case to them to expend the finite resources that they
> have to support this as part of each version release process, in light of the
> prior discussions, it is not clear that this appears to be a priority.

Thats the point of my original post. If they choose to continue with only EXE,
I will just keep using other programming languages. So you could see how it
might be in R interest to offer this, as no zip builds might be one of the
reasons people avoid the language.

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Re: Offer zip builds

Duncan Murdoch-2
In reply to this post by Steven Penny
On 01/06/2019 11:02 p.m., Steven Penny wrote:
> If you go here:
>
> https://cran.cnr.berkeley.edu/bin/windows/base
>
> you see EXE installers for Windows. This contrasts with other programming
> languages that offer both an executable installer and ZIP files that can be
> extracted and run. For example Go:

We did offer both zips and an installer until 2001 or 2002.  It was
decided then that it wasn't worth the trouble of offering both.

I don't recall anyone asking for the zip in the 17 years after that
change, until now (though I haven't been paying attention lately, since
I retired from building the binaries a couple of years ago).

If you think it's worthwhile to do it, then I don't think anyone would
object if you went ahead and did so.

Duncan Murdoch

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Re: Offer zip builds

Steven Penny
On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 8:04 PM Duncan Murdoch wrote:
> I don't recall anyone asking for the zip in the 17 years after that
> change, until now (though I haven't been paying attention lately, since
> I retired from building the binaries a couple of years ago).
>
> If you think it's worthwhile to do it, then I don't think anyone would
> object if you went ahead and did so.

If I visited this page:

https://cran.cnr.berkeley.edu/bin/windows/base

and found Zip builds I would use those. Not only do those not exist, but the
installer has been created in such a way that it cant even be extracted from.
Just because you dont recall it, doesnt mean the demand isnt there. The R
community isnt exactly reachable:

> NOTE: due to abuse by spammers, since 2016-07-09 only “members” (including all
> who have previously submitted bugs) can submit new bugs on R’s Bugzilla. For
> now, either post (e-mail) your bug report to R-devel or ask an R Core member to
> add you manually to R’s Bugzilla members.

http://r-project.org/bugs.html

So bugs and feature requests cant even be posted to bugzilla. Then regarding the
mailing list, even if subscribed you cant post, as all posts are moderated.
Compare to other languages, where you just log in an post an issue:

- https://github.com/crystal-lang/crystal/issues
- https://github.com/dart-lang/sdk/issues
- https://github.com/dotnet/coreclr/issues
- https://github.com/JuliaLang/julia/issues
- https://github.com/ponylang/ponyc/issues
- https://github.com/ziglang/zig/issues

If R team is happy with current status quo, then do nothing. If they are
interested in growing the userbase this might be one way to do it.

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Re: Offer zip builds

Duncan Murdoch-2
On 03/06/2019 9:16 p.m., Steven Penny wrote:

> On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 8:04 PM Duncan Murdoch wrote:
>> I don't recall anyone asking for the zip in the 17 years after that
>> change, until now (though I haven't been paying attention lately, since
>> I retired from building the binaries a couple of years ago).
>>
>> If you think it's worthwhile to do it, then I don't think anyone would
>> object if you went ahead and did so.
>
> If I visited this page:
>
> https://cran.cnr.berkeley.edu/bin/windows/base
>
> and found Zip builds I would use those. Not only do those not exist, but the
> installer has been created in such a way that it cant even be extracted from.
> Just because you dont recall it, doesnt mean the demand isnt there. The R
> community isnt exactly reachable:
>
>> NOTE: due to abuse by spammers, since 2016-07-09 only “members” (including all
>> who have previously submitted bugs) can submit new bugs on R’s Bugzilla. For
>> now, either post (e-mail) your bug report to R-devel or ask an R Core member to
>> add you manually to R’s Bugzilla members.
>
> http://r-project.org/bugs.html
>
> So bugs and feature requests cant even be posted to bugzilla. Then regarding the
> mailing list, even if subscribed you cant post, as all posts are moderated.
> Compare to other languages, where you just log in an post an issue:
>
> - https://github.com/crystal-lang/crystal/issues
> - https://github.com/dart-lang/sdk/issues
> - https://github.com/dotnet/coreclr/issues
> - https://github.com/JuliaLang/julia/issues
> - https://github.com/ponylang/ponyc/issues
> - https://github.com/ziglang/zig/issues
>
> If R team is happy with current status quo, then do nothing. If they are
> interested in growing the userbase this might be one way to do it.
>

You are as much a member of the R team as I am.  If you are interested
in growing the userbase, then you should go ahead and do it.

By the way, I realized after posting that I was wrong when I said nobody
would object if you did that.  People object to everything.

Duncan Murdoch

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Re: Offer zip builds

Iñaki Ucar
In reply to this post by Steven Penny
FWIW, innoextract extracts the contents of the installer just fine.

Iñaki

On Tue, 4 Jun 2019 at 17:40, Steven Penny <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 6:54 PM Marc Schwartz wrote:
> > I am on macOS primarily, albeit, I have run both Windows and Linux routinely
> > in years past.
>
> With all due respect, then you have no business in this thread.
>
> > That being said, these days, I do run Windows 10 under a Parallels VM on
> > macOS, as I have a single commercial application that I need to run for
> > clients now and then, and it sadly only runs on a real Windows install (e.g.
> > not with Wine).
>
> Further demonstrating my point. You run Windows in a virtual machine, meaning
> even if you encountered some bad installer, you could just revert to a snapshot
> or similar.
>
> > To your points:
> >
> > [bunch of links]
>
> I am sorry if I miscommunicated, I didnt and dont wish to be convinced about how
> well behaved R installer is. I wish for R to offer zip builds. Many other
> programming languages do:
>
> - http://strawberryperl.com/releases.html
> - https://dotnet.microsoft.com/download/dotnet-core/2.2
> - https://golang.org/dl
> - https://nim-lang.org/install_windows.html
> - https://python.org/downloads/release/python-373
> - https://windows.php.net/download
>
> As I see it, the question isnt "should R offer zip builds", its "why isnt R
> offering zip builds".
>
> > Unless you can make the case to them to expend the finite resources that they
> > have to support this as part of each version release process, in light of the
> > prior discussions, it is not clear that this appears to be a priority.
>
> Thats the point of my original post. If they choose to continue with only EXE,
> I will just keep using other programming languages. So you could see how it
> might be in R interest to offer this, as no zip builds might be one of the
> reasons people avoid the language.
>
> ______________________________________________
> [hidden email] mailing list
> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel



--
Iñaki Úcar

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Re: Offer zip builds

Steven Penny
On Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 11:06 AM Iñaki Ucar wrote:
> FWIW, innoextract extracts the contents of the installer just fine.

That is great, thank you very much:

https://github.com/dscharrer/innoextract

Between this thread and others I have interacted with 14 people, and you are the
first person to post an actual solution rather than arguing.

I still think zip builds should be offered, but this is a good workaround until
then. Thanks again.

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Re: Offer zip builds

Martin Maechler
In reply to this post by Iñaki Ucar
>>>>> Iñaki Ucar
>>>>>     on Tue, 4 Jun 2019 18:06:34 +0200 writes:

    > FWIW, innoextract extracts the contents of the installer just fine.

    > Iñaki

Thank you, Iñaki

For me too.  On the Windows server (I almost only use for testing R and
ESS), I've always been happy I could install *several* versions
of R (and use them easily simultaneously with ESS in the same
emacs instance running).

Maybe the R project is rather the example the other projects should take:
It costs much less maintainer time (including documenting,
helping users to solve problems, ... da da da) to provide it in this
one form which *does* provide the flexibility of installing
anywhere on your computer and *is* based on FOSS.

    > On Tue, 4 Jun 2019 at 17:40, Steven Penny <[hidden email]> wrote:
    >>
    >> On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 6:54 PM Marc Schwartz wrote:
    >> > I am on macOS primarily, albeit, I have run both Windows and Linux routinely
    >> > in years past.
    >>
    >> With all due respect, then you have no business in this thread.
    >>
    >> > That being said, these days, I do run Windows 10 under a Parallels VM on
    >> > macOS, as I have a single commercial application that I need to run for
    >> > clients now and then, and it sadly only runs on a real Windows install (e.g.
    >> > not with Wine).
    >>
    >> Further demonstrating my point. You run Windows in a virtual machine, meaning
    >> even if you encountered some bad installer, you could just revert to a snapshot
    >> or similar.
    >>
    >> > To your points:
    >> >
    >> > [bunch of links]
    >>
    >> I am sorry if I miscommunicated, I didnt and dont wish to be convinced about how
    >> well behaved R installer is.
    >> I wish for R to offer zip builds.

Are you volunteering to do this for every release? .. on an
ongoing basis ..  unpaid ?

To mention examples of BIG BIG company products such as Microsoft
or Google (below) is really ridiculous.
They have lots of money to spend and pay many many work hours to
pay.

We don't want to:  Given such (and potentially many more similar) e-mail
threads plus the issues mentioned above (plus Virus scanners,
plus broken file transfers less easily detected than with an
*.exe, plus ...),
this is mainly a big time sink with an epsilon benefit.

As Duncan Murdoch explained nicel, you may do it.

Martin Maechler
ETH Zurich and R Core Team



    >> Many other programming languages do:
    >>
    >> - http://strawberryperl.com/releases.html
    >> - https://dotnet.microsoft.com/download/dotnet-core/2.2
    >> - https://golang.org/dl
    >> - https://nim-lang.org/install_windows.html
    >> - https://python.org/downloads/release/python-373
    >> - https://windows.php.net/download
    >>
    >> As I see it, the question isnt "should R offer zip builds", its "why isnt R
    >> offering zip builds".
    >>
    >> > Unless you can make the case to them to expend the finite resources that they
    >> > have to support this as part of each version release process, in light of the
    >> > prior discussions, it is not clear that this appears to be a priority.
    >>
    >> Thats the point of my original post. If they choose to continue with only EXE,
    >> I will just keep using other programming languages. So you could see how it
    >> might be in R interest to offer this, as no zip builds might be one of the
    >> reasons people avoid the language.
    >>
    >> ______________________________________________
    >> [hidden email] mailing list
    >> https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel



    > --
    > Iñaki Úcar

    > ______________________________________________
    > [hidden email] mailing list
    > https://stat.ethz.ch/mailman/listinfo/r-devel

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Re: Offer zip builds

Abby Spurdle
In reply to this post by Duncan Murdoch-2
> If they choose to continue with only EXE,
> I will just keep using other programming languages.

I did agree with your original suggestion.
However, I don't think that a lack of zip formats, is a disincentive from
using R.

If you have an issue with the Windows installer, the obvious option is to
install the source version, and compile from it.

This is, after all, how open source is designed to work.

Also, I agree with what Duncan said.


Abs

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Re: Offer zip builds

Duncan Murdoch-2
On 05/06/2019 4:48 p.m., Abby Spurdle wrote:
>  > If they choose to continue with only EXE,
>  > I will just keep using other programming languages.
>
> I did agree with your original suggestion.
> However, I don't think that a lack of zip formats, is a disincentive
> from using R.

If you don't want to run the installer, see Iñaki's message for how to
extract the files without running it.  I don't know if any of the
configuration done by the installer is essential; you can read the
source in https://svn.r-project.org/R/trunk/src/gnuwin32/installer if
you are curious.

Duncan Murdoch

>
> If you have an issue with the Windows installer, the obvious option is
> to install the source version, and compile from it.
>
> This is, after all, how open source is designed to work.
>
> Also, I agree with what Duncan said.
>
>
> Abs
>
>
>

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Re: Offer zip builds

Jeroen Ooms-2
In reply to this post by Steven Penny
On Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 5:40 PM Steven Penny <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Theres nothing nefarious here. It would allow people to use the R environment
> without running an installer. If someone is a new user they may want to try
> R out, and installers can be invasive as they commonly:
>
> - copy files to install dir
> - copy files to profile dir
> - set registry entries
> - set environment variables
> - set start menu entries
>
> and historically uninstallers have a bad record of reverting these changes.
> should not put this burden upon new users or even having them resort to virtual
> machine to avoid items above. having a ZIP file allows new users to run the
> R environment, then if they like it perhaps they can run the installer going
> forward.

This is a valid suggestion, but probably impossible to do reliably.
Most installers (the R one is completely open source btw) perform
those steps for a reason. It is great if software can be installed
simply by extracting a zip file somewhere, but if this is what you
desire, you're using the wrong operating system.

We only offer official installation options that work 100% reliably
and I don't think this can be accomplished with a zip file. For
example a zip file won't be able to set the installation location in
the registry, and hence other software such as RStudio won't be able
to find the R installation. Also a zip installation might mix up
package libraries from different R versions (which is bad), or users
might expect they can upgrade R by overwriting their installation with
a new zip (also bad). Hence I'm afraid offering such alternative
installation options would open a new can of worms with bug reports
from Windows users with broken installations, or packages that don't
work as expected.

As for alternatives, 'rportable' and 'innoextract' have already been
mentioned if you really just want to dump the files from the
installer, if that works for you. Another popular option to install
(any) Windows software without manually running installers is using
chocolatey, for example:

  choco install miktex
  choco install r.project

This will still indirectly use official installers, but the installers
have been verified as "safe" by external folks and the installation is
completely automated. Perhaps that's another compromise you could live
with.

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Re: Offer zip builds

Simon Urbanek
Just to add to that point - it is expected that the registry is appropriately updated so the correct version of R can be located. Just unpacking a ZIP won't work in general since tools using R have no reliable way to find it.

Cheers,
Simon


> On Jun 6, 2019, at 6:33 AM, Jeroen Ooms <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 5:40 PM Steven Penny <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> Theres nothing nefarious here. It would allow people to use the R environment
>> without running an installer. If someone is a new user they may want to try
>> R out, and installers can be invasive as they commonly:
>>
>> - copy files to install dir
>> - copy files to profile dir
>> - set registry entries
>> - set environment variables
>> - set start menu entries
>>
>> and historically uninstallers have a bad record of reverting these changes.
>> should not put this burden upon new users or even having them resort to virtual
>> machine to avoid items above. having a ZIP file allows new users to run the
>> R environment, then if they like it perhaps they can run the installer going
>> forward.
>
> This is a valid suggestion, but probably impossible to do reliably.
> Most installers (the R one is completely open source btw) perform
> those steps for a reason. It is great if software can be installed
> simply by extracting a zip file somewhere, but if this is what you
> desire, you're using the wrong operating system.
>
> We only offer official installation options that work 100% reliably
> and I don't think this can be accomplished with a zip file. For
> example a zip file won't be able to set the installation location in
> the registry, and hence other software such as RStudio won't be able
> to find the R installation. Also a zip installation might mix up
> package libraries from different R versions (which is bad), or users
> might expect they can upgrade R by overwriting their installation with
> a new zip (also bad). Hence I'm afraid offering such alternative
> installation options would open a new can of worms with bug reports
> from Windows users with broken installations, or packages that don't
> work as expected.
>
> As for alternatives, 'rportable' and 'innoextract' have already been
> mentioned if you really just want to dump the files from the
> installer, if that works for you. Another popular option to install
> (any) Windows software without manually running installers is using
> chocolatey, for example:
>
>  choco install miktex
>  choco install r.project
>
> This will still indirectly use official installers, but the installers
> have been verified as "safe" by external folks and the installation is
> completely automated. Perhaps that's another compromise you could live
> with.
>
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Re: Offer zip builds

Abby Spurdle
> Just to add to that point - it is expected that the registry is
appropriately updated so the correct version of R can be located. Just
unpacking a ZIP won't work in general since tools using R have no reliable
way to find it.

Shouldn't it be sufficient to set the "Path" system or environment
variables?

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