Installing R and Rcpp

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote about my frustration calling C++ from R. Maybe this will become an annual event because I’m back at it.

This time my experience was more pleasant. I was able to install Rcpp on an Ubuntu virtual machine and run example 2.2 from the Rcpp FAQ once I upgraded R to the latest version. I wrote up some notes on the process of installing the latest version of R and Rcpp on Ubuntu.

I have not yet been able to run Rcpp on Windows.

Update: Thanks to Dirk Eddelbuettel for pointing out in the comments that you can install Rcpp from the shell rather than from inside R by running sudo apt-get install r-cran-rcpp. With this approach, I was able to install Rcpp without having to upgrade R first.

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8 comments on “Installing R and Rcpp
  1. Could you please add that ‘sudo apt-get install r-cran-rcpp’ is also available in Debian and Ubuntu?

  2. Also, I really agree with the ‘no to personal library’ as Unix/Linux are multi-user. The directory /usr/local/lib/R/site-library is of group staff — if you add yourself to that group you don’t need the sudo.

  3. John says:

    Thanks, Dirk. I didn’t know about installing R packages from apt-get.

  4. It is complementary in the sense that the ones in the distro are older (frozen when Ubuntu freezes; or when Debian goes ‘stable’) but there are the various ‘cran2deb’ initiatives — google for Michael’s c2b4u building on our earlier cran2deb which has now also be reconstituted at; see eg

  5. Lastly, Rcpp on Windows works just fine too. It helps to have R and its libraries in a path without spaces, which is recommended but for some obscure reason never suggested/enforced by the R installer on Windows.

  6. John says:

    Dirk: I’ve updated my blog post and the PDF notes to include installing Rcpp via apt-get.

    On Windows, I always install Unix-like software under C:bin to avoid problems with software that has trouble with spaces in paths.

    I was able to install Rcpp on Windows, but not able to get the example code to run. I ran the code from the same source file successfully on Linux, so I don’t believe there is an error in the code itself. R tells me

    ERROR(s) during compilation: source code errors or compiler configuration errors!
    Program source:
      2: // includes from the plugin
      4: #include 
      7: #ifndef BEGIN_RCPP
      8: #define BEGIN_RCPP
      9: #endif
     11: #ifndef END_RCPP
     12: #define END_RCPP
     13: #endif
     15: using namespace Rcpp;
     18: // user includes
     21: // declarations
     22: extern "C" {
     23: SEXP fileda0e163d0( SEXP x) ;
     24: }
     26: // definition
     28: SEXP fileda0e163d0( SEXP x ){
     29: BEGIN_RCPP
     30: NumericVector xx(x); return wrap( std::accumulate( xx.begin(), xx.end(), 0.0));
     31: END_RCPP
     32: }
    Error in compileCode(f, code, language = language, verbose = verbose) :
      Compilation ERROR, function(s)/method(s) not created!
    In addition: Warning message:
    running command 'C:/bin/R/R-2.15.1/bin/i386/R CMD SHLIB fileda0e163d0.cpp 2> fileda0e163d0.cpp.err.txt' had status 1 
  7. ed says:

    I think P.J. Brown categorized that sort of error message as one of his “deadly sins” in his compiler book.

    That was in the 1970′s, I suppose we’ll still be seeing the same type of thing thirty years from now.

  8. Alessandro Gentilini says:

    Hello John, just to add some info in case you are willing to come back to Windows the next year :-)

    In Windows, I had an error message similar to the one you show in comment #6, and, yes, I did install R in a folder with a name without spaces.

    I see in your message that the standard error is redirected to the file fileda0e163d0.cpp.err.txt, I had an error message referencing a file with a similar name but I did not find the file on my disk.