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Thread: R help

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  1. #1
    beew is offline I Ubuntu, Therefore, I Am
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    R help

    Hi,

    I have used R in Windows and just have it set up in Ubuntu. Now this is a really stupid question. How do I access the manuals? In the windows version there is a drop down menu under help, click it and a nice PDF manual appears. In the Linux version there is no drop down menu. I was trying various help() related commands with no avail. In the R-cran's site they tell you there are a bunch of manuals that come from the installation but they don't tell you how to access them!

    Help, please.

  2. #2
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    Re: R help

    you can use help.start(). It will start HTML help, manuals are available there.
    Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do. - B. Russell

  3. #3
    beew is offline I Ubuntu, Therefore, I Am
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    Re: R help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tart View Post
    you can use help.start(). It will start HTML help, manuals are available there.
    I know, I can also download it from their website or read it on Windows with R's windows version. But that is not my point. If there is a manual in the installation I should be able to find it without having to go through a lot of troubles.

  4. #4
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: R help

    Quote Originally Posted by beew View Post
    I know, I can also download it from their website or read it on Windows with R's windows version. But that is not my point. If there is a manual in the installation I should be able to find it without having to go through a lot of troubles.
    I don't mean to sound snide, but perhaps R is not a good software choice for you if typing "help.start()" is "a lot of troubles." R is really more of a language rather than a traditional statistics program (like Minitab or SPSS) and therefore to get to most of the information, it requires typing words rather than clicking menus. Its not better or worse, just different and it will take some getting used to.


    If you are looking for information on a particular function, you can type the function preceded by a question mark:
    Code:
    ?help.start
    ?lm
    ?resid
    And if you don't know the name of a function, but you know some keywords about what you're looking for, you can use help.search():
    Code:
    help.search("anova")
    help.search("AIC")
    help.search("t-test")
    Good luck.
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  5. #5
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    Re: R help

    Quote Originally Posted by beew View Post
    I know, I can also download it from their website or read it on Windows with R's windows version. But that is not my point. If there is a manual in the installation I should be able to find it without having to go through a lot of troubles.
    help.start() uses local installation files (links to PDFs if installed), so you can see where they are stored.
    Last edited by Tart; August 13th, 2010 at 05:54 PM.
    Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do. - B. Russell

  6. #6
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    Re: R help

    It is possible to get the PDF files on a Linux version of R, but I agree that the html version of the help is (to me) more convenient.

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install r-doc-pdf
    Look in:

    /usr/share/doc/r-doc-pdf/manual

    for the actual files.

    Because the default Linux interface . . . . sucks for less experienced users . . . . there is no drop-down accessible access to these PDF files AND new users should be forgiven for:

    1. Not knowing how to install these PDF files. They don't appear to be installed by default.
    2. Even if they install them - Good luck finding them. How many new users know that /usr/share/doc is a good place to find the documentation? Many of us know this because we've been knocking heads with Linux for $X years, but this ain't exactly obvious.

    If you would like, you can copy these to your home folder structure somewhere and then remove the package OR you can bookmark the directory in Nautilus. I usually have the docs directory bookmarked in Nautilus and I have my own dired command to open up this directory but not for R.

    For R users, the HTML interface is potentially more useful because it is more or less searchable and I personally find the ? command to be invaluable. The other nice trick that helps remembering all of the commands -- ESS mode in EMACS. If you can't remember the options for a command, ESS can tell you what they are. But whether or not ESS is the best front-end for R is not something that I feel like arguing about right now. It's just an option.

    Unfortunately, there really isn't a nice, default GUI for R. This problem has been discussed here before (at length) and if you look through the archive of this sub-forum you'll find lots of opinions, rationales, etc. You will also find different options for GUIs (ESS mode is not a GUI). RKward is popular and nice, but it will take a few minutes to install if you don't already use KDE.
    Please Insert Funny Statement Here.

  7. #7
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    Re: R help

    Quote Originally Posted by gunksta View Post
    The other nice trick that helps remembering all of the commands -- ESS mode in EMACS.
    Yes, but what is the nice trick to remembering all those archaic EMACS keystrokes???

    Besides, we all know that vi is the true way to go .....

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