R Basics

FAQ about R basic

FAQs about R

The post is R Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Question: Why R language is named R?
Answer: The name of the R language is based on the first letters of its authors (Robert Gentleman and Ross Ihaka).

Question: What is the R Foundation?
Answer: The R Foundation is a non-profit organization working in the public interest, founded by the members of the R Core Team. This foundation provides support for the R project and other innovations in statistical computing and provides a reference point for individuals, institutions, or commercial enterprises who want to support or interact with the R development community. R foundation also holds and administers the copyright of R language software and its documentation. For more information about R Foundation follow the link https://www.R-project.org/foundation

Question: What is R-Forge?
Answer: R-Forge provides a central platform for the development of R packages, R-related software, etc. It is based on GForge and offers easy access to the best in SVN, daily built and checked R packages, mailing lists, bug tracking, message board or forum, website hosting, permanent file archival, full backups, and total web-based administration. For more information see

  • The R-Forge web page
  • Stefan Theußl and Achim Zeileis (2009), “Collaborative software development using R-Forge”, The R Journal, 1(1), 9-14.

Question: What mailing lists exist for R language?
Answer: There are four mailing lists devoted to R language

  • R-announce: A moderated mailing list for major announcements about the R development and the availability of new R code.
  • R-packages: A moderated mailing list for an announcement on the availability of new or further enhanced contributed packages.
  • R-help: The main R mailing list for discussion and problems and solutions using R, announcements about the development of R, and the availability of new R code. R-help is intended for people who want to use R to solve problems.
  • R-devel: A mailing list for questions and discussions about code development in R language.

Question: What documentation exists for R language?
Answer: For most of the R functions and variables in R online documentation exists and this documentation can be printed on screen by typing help(name) or ?name at the R prompt, where the name is the name of the topic for which help is required. The R documentation can also be made available in PDF and HTML formats and as a hard copy via LaTeX. The up-to-date HTML version of R documentation is always available for web browsers at http://stat.ethz.ch/R-manual.Lot of R books and manuals are also available as R documentation.

How to get help in R follow the link Getting Help in R Language.

R Basic FAQs

Question: How to start (Run) R Language in Windows Operating System?
Answer: In Microsoft Windows, during installation, the R installer will have created a Start menu item and an icon for R on your system’s desktop. Double click R icon from desktop or from the start menu list to Run R program. For Windows 7, 8 or 10, you can use a search term like “R x64 3.2.1” (64-bit version) or “R i386 3.2.1” (32-bit version). R GUI will launch.

Question: How R can be used as a calculator?
Answer: Starting R will open the console where the user can type commands. To use R as calculator one has to enter the arithmetical expression after > prompt. For example

> 5 + 4
> sqrt(37)
> 2*4^2+17*4-3

Question: How to Quit R session?
Answer: In R console on R command prompt just type

> q( )

Question: What is q()?
Answer: The q() is a function that is used to tell R to quit. When q() is entered in R console and press Enter key, you will be asked whether to save an image of the current workspace or not or to cancel. Note that only typing q tells R to show the content of this function. The action of this function is to quit R.

Question: What is workspace in R?
Answer: The workspace in R is an image that contains a record of the computations one have done and it may contain some saved results.

Question: How to record work in R?
Answer: Rather than saving the workspace, one can record all the commands that one have entered in R console. Recording work in R, the R workspace can be reproduced. The easiest way is to enter the commands in R’s script editor available in the File menu of R GUI.

Question: What is R Script Editor?
Answer: R script editor is a place where one can enter commands. Commands can be executed by highlighting them and hitting CTRL+R (mean RUN). At the end of an R session, one can save the final script for a permanent record of one’s work. A text editor such as Notepad can also be used for this purpose.
Note that in R console only one command can be entered at a time because after pressing Enter key the R command executed immediately.

R Basics

Here are R FAQS about R Basics. Questions and answers will be updated frequently and on the demand of visitors.

Question: On what Operating Systems R Language can Run.
Answer: R Language can run on Unix, Linux, and Windows Operating System.

Question: On what machine R can Run?
Answer: R is developed for Unix-like, Windows and Mac families of operating systems. The current version of R Language is configured to run on machine such as CPU-Linux-gnu for i386, amd64, alpha, arm/armel, hppa, ia64, m68k, mips/mipsel, PowerPC, s390 and Sparc CPUs, i386-hurd-gnu, cpu-kfreebsd-gnu for i386 and amd64, PowerPC-apple-darwin, mips-sgi-irix, i386-freebsd, rs6000-ibm-aix and sparc-sun-Solaris.

Question: What is the current version of R?
Answer: The current released version (at the time of this post) of R is 3.2.2. The current version is 3.6.1 (Action of the Toes) released on 2019-07-05.

Question: How and where from R can be obtained?
Answer: Sources, binaries, and documentation of R language can be obtained via the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).

Question: How to install R on Windows Operating System?
Answer: The “bin/windows” directory of CRAN site contains binaries for a base distribution and add-on packages from CRAN to run on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, etc (32-bit or 64bit versions of Windows) on ix86 and x86_64 chips.

Question: What is CRAN?
Answer: The CRAN is “Comprehensive R Archive Network”. CRAN is a collection of sites which carry identical material, consisting R distribution(s), the contributed extensions, documentation for R and binaries.

The CRAN master site is https://CRAN.R-project.org at WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien) in Austria.

Following are some mirrors from CRAN:
https://cran.wu.ac.at/    (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, Austria)
https://cran.ms.unimelb.edu.au/    (University of Melbourne, Australia)
https://cran-r.c3sl.ufpr.br/    (Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil)
https://stat.ethz.ch/CRAN/    (ETH Zürich, Switzerland)
https://mirrors.dotsrc.org/cran/    (dotsrc.org, Aalborg, Denmark)
https://cran.rediris.es/    (Spanish National Research Network, Madrid, Spain)
http://cran.dcc.fc.up.pt/    (Universidade do Porto, Portugal)
https://www.stats.bris.ac.uk/R/    (University of Bristol, United Kingdom)

For further R Basics Questions following the R FAQ link: Hornik, K., (2015). R FAQs, https://CRAN.R-project.org/doc/FAQ/R-FAQ.html.

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