Packages retired from CRAN [R for BE/BA]

posted by Helmut Homepage – Vienna, Austria, 2020-06-29 11:47  – Posting: # 21600
Views: 2,081

Hi krish85,

» Now checking installation error of package 'ivivc'...
» failed to install 'gWidgets'
» failed to install 'gWidgetsRGtk2'

These two packages were retired from CRAN (see here and there). After Jan 2019 their maintainer did not respond to update requests by CRAN. Brian Ripley made corrections in the last release (April 2020), built them under R4.0.0, and tagged them ORPHANED in the DESCRIPTION files. Now they are history.

To quote CRAN:

Orphaned packages have no active maintainer: they have
   Maintainer: ORPHANED
in their DESCRIPTON file.

Orphaned packages remain in the main CRAN packages section as long as they pass "R CMD check" for the current release version of R.

Everybody is more than welcome to take over as maintainer of an orphaned package. Simply download the package sources, make changes if necessary (respecting original author and license!) and resubmit the package to CRAN with your name as maintainer in the DESCRIPTION file of the package.

Possible reasons for orphanizing a package:

  1. The current maintainer actively wants to orphanize the package, e.g., due to no longer having time or interest to act as package maintainer.
  2. Emails sent to the current maintainer by the CRAN admins bounced, or were not answered for longer periods of time.

The current orphanizing process:

  1. File in CRAN's src/contrib directory (the repository package metadata file) adds a Maintainer: ORPHANED override and an X-CRAN-Comment entry providing information about the original maintainer, and the date and reason for orphanizing.
  2. Package sources and binaries are updated on CRAN without increasing the version number.
  3. If the package cleanly passes R CMD check for the current release version of R, it remains in CRAN's src/contrib directory. Otherwise, it is moved to the Archive.

I think you have three options:
  1. If you have the devtools and all dependent packages (a lot!), you can build the packages from their latest archived sources (gWidgets 0.0-54.2, gWidgetsRGtk2 0.0-86.1). Not something I would recommend an inexperienced RUser. See also the note at the end.
  2. Install gWidgets2, gWidgets2RGtk2, and gWidgets2tcltk. These packages have the same maintainer as the retired packages. Try whether ivivc runs with them. If not:
  3. Since the original GUI-packages are retired, it’s up to Yung-jin to deal with the problem (i.e., adapt his packages to work with the gWidgets*2 packages).
    • “The gWidgets2 package provides a programming interface for making graphical user interfaces within R. The package is a rewrite of the gWidgets package, introducing a few external changes but a significant number of internal ones.”
    (my emphasis; sorry…)

The packages didn’t pass CRAN’s checks with­out error(s) on R4.0.1 (otherwise, there wouldn’t be a reason to archive them). Even if you succeed in building them from the sources, there is no guarantee to work as intended on your R4.0.2 installation.

Dif-tor heh smusma 🖖
Helmut Schütz

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