Running different versions of R in the RStudio IDE is, on occasion, required to load older packages.

This is a re-post by the author from:

I got fed up with the manual process, so I started to automate the entire process Ubuntu in a bash script. This script should work for most Debian based distros.

TLDR -> Get to the Code on Github!

(Through out this process stackoverflow was my friend.)

Generally the process for 3.4.4 (for example) is to:

1. Download R from CRAN

2. Un-archive files

tar -xzvf R-3.4.4.tar.gz

3. Make from source

(from inside the un-archived directory)

sudo ./configure --prefix=/opt/R/$r_ver --enable-R-shlib && \
sudo make && \
sudo make install

4. Update environment variable  for R-Studio

export RSTUDIO_WHICH_R="/opt/R/3.4.4/bin/R"

5. Launch R-Studio (in the context of this environment variable)


I started down the road of manually downloading all the .tar.gz files of the versions that I might want to install, so then I grabbed a method for un-archiving all these files at one time.

find . -name '*.tar.gz' -execdir tar -xzvf '{}' \;

Here is where I started to Build and install R from source in an automating script at once I use this

# run with sudo
function config_make_install_r(){
  cd $folder_path
  sudo ./configure --prefix=/opt/R/$r_version --enable-R-shlib && \
  sudo make && \
  sudo make install
config_make_install_r ~/Downloads/R-3.4.4 3.4.4

From here i added a menu system i found on stack overflow. This script prompts to install whatever version of R you are attempting to launch if not yet installed.

This file can be downloaded, inspected and run from the github RAW link, of course to run a .sh file it needs to be updated to be executable with

sudo chmod +x

I have found that by just directing the gist’s contents directly into bash i can skip that step!

bash <(curl -s

Executing this script also places a copy of it’s self in the current users local profile, and a link to a new .desktop for the local Unity Launcher on first run. This allows me to run this custom launcher from the application launcher. I then pin it as a favorite to the Dock manually.

The completed can be found on Github HERE or view RAW script from Github

Jeremy D. Gerdes
[email protected]
April 2019
(CC BY-SA 3.0)