Installing and using R statistical package in Suse Linux

R is available at To compile R, you need the g77 Fortran compiler, which in some versions of Suse is not found on the Suse CD, but is hidden on the DVD. You can also download it from here:\ /suse/i586/gcc-fortran-4.0.2_20050901-3.i586.rpm . An alternative version is at I did not test this version.

Although there are many books on using R, the procedure for installing R is poorly documented.
The first step is to install g77 Fortran, if you don't already have it:
rpm -i gcc-fortran-4.0.2_20050901-3.i586.rpm
Next, de-tar and build R. Make sure you enable the compilation of the shared libraries, or some optional packages (such as Rkward) won't install.
configure --enable-R-shlib
If it says "texindex not found", edit the file bin/tex2dvi at line 690, where it says
    # But we won't know that 
  if the index files are out of date or
    # nonexistent.
    if test -n "$texindex" && 
    test -n "$index_files"; then
      $verbose "Running $texindex 
      $index_files ..."
and, after the "$verbose" statement, add the line
The remaining steps install R and the optional documentation.
make dvi
make pdf
make install
make install-dvi
make install-pdf     

Installing the graphical user interface

A GUI is available at As with most R packages, it is installed from within R. To install it, enter the command
install.packages("Rcmdr", dependencies=TRUE) 
at the R prompt. It is started by typing
at the R prompt. Unfortunately, I have never been able to get R commander to start up on my Suse system.

However, other GUIs for linux, such ar Rkward, are available. To install Rkward, type
make install
To run Rkward, add /opt/kde3/bin to your PATH environment variable and type rkward.

Update: Rkward now requires cmake to compile. I was unable to get the latest version of Rkward to compile in Suse 12.1.

Basic operations

This is an incomplete list of some of the basic operations in R.
Operation Command Comments
Starting R R Begins the long journey to the dark side.
Exit q() Some people just type "killall R" in a different window to avoid the y/n prompt.
Installing R packages available.packages() Prints a giant list that scrolls off the screen and is lost.
Installing package by name install.­packages("Rpvm")
Installs Rpvm.
Install all packages. install.packages­(CRAN.packages()[,1]) Takes a long time.
Many packages will not actually install because of various errors.
Bring all existing packages up to date update.packages()  
Load (attach) a library package library(MASS) Attaches 'MASS' package.
Show all installed packages library() No arguments = show all
List packages that are attached sessionInfo()  
List all objects in workspace ls()  

Operation Command Comments
Arithmetic 4+5 No RPN mode.
Entering data (vector) x <- ­c(1,­ 2, 3, 4)
y <- ­c(5,­ 6, 7)
z <- ­c(x,y)
<- is assignment operator.
c() concatenates the elements to create a vector.
z now contains 1 to 7.
Can also be strings or floats. If one element is a string, they all become strings.
Plot a graph plot(­ ccar~­year, pch=16) ccar = vector for y axis
year = vector for x axis
pch = Character to use for data points
Combine two vectors ff <- data.­frame­(yy=year, cc=ccar) Creates a data frame named 'ff' and gives it two columns, yy and cc, containing data from vector 'year' and 'ccar'.
Print data frame ff Typing the variable name prints its contents.
Help apropos­("sort")
Displays man page for sort function.
Read vector from a text file ff <- read.­table­("ff.txt", ­header=­TRUE, sep=",") 'sep' is the character that separates consecutive numbers
Show all data data()
data(­ package=­ "datasets")
Create a sequence of numbers seq(from=1,­ to=7, by=0.1) Typically used to create a vector using '<-'
Create a series of repeated numbers 2:6
rep(2:6,­ 2)
rep(2:6,­ each=2)
rep(2:6,­ rep(2,5))
2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6
2 3 4 5 6 2 3 4 5 6
2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6
2 2 2 2 2
2 2 2 2 2 2
2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6
Test for membership x<-rep(2:6)
x %in%­ c(2,4)
x[x %in%­ c(2,4)]
x becomes 2 3 4 5 6
2 4
Test for membership match(x,­ c(2,4))
match(x,­ c(2,4),­ nomatch=99)
1 NA 2 NA NA
1 99 2 99 99
For loops for(i in 1:4)­ print (i^2) 1 4 9 16
Significant digits options­(digits=16)

Save data to disk file write(x,­ file="x.dat") Cannot save lists (use 'save' to save lists).
Save lists to disk file save(r.lm, file="list", ascii=TRUE) Saves results in an unreadable, binary format unless 'ascii' is set to 'TRUE'. ASCII format is a long list of unlabeled stuff.

Operation Command Comments
mean mean(x) Prints mean of whatever is in vector x
median median(x)  
sort sort(x)  
Reverse rev(x)  
Standard deviation sd(x)  
Rnorm x<-rnorm(10) A normal series
Pearson's product-moment correlation for linear relationship cor.test(x,y) Prints t, p-value, confidence interval
Linear model (a k a linear regression) r <- data.­frame­(x=c(1,­2,3,4,5),
r.lm <-­ lm(x~y^2, r)
First create a data frame. For linear fitting, specify the formula, then the dataframe. Prints slope and intercept. Saves everything else internally in a 'list' format.
Type summary(r.lm) or names(r.lm) to get more information.
The last line performs the linear regression.
Getting actual results from linear model names­(r.lm)
'Names' prints a list of what is available (e.g., residuals).
Binomial distribution dbinom­(0:4,­4,0.95) vector of quantiles, no.of trials, probability. Use range e.g. 0:4 to get all of 'em.
Cumulative binomial distribution pbinom(0:4,­4,0.95) q, size, prob.­ Also qbinom, rbinom.
Poisson distribution dpois(0:4,3) x, lambda. Also ppois, qpois, rpois.
Normal distribution dnorm(1:10) Also pnorm, qnorm, rnorm.
t-test t.test(x,­ var=TRUE)
t.test(x,y,­ var=TRUE)
Single vector vs.0
Compare 2 vectors
Use var=TRUE unless variances are known to be different, otherwise it uses Welch.
Chi square test chisq.test(x) x is a vector
Anova aa <- anova(r.lm) r.lm is the result from a model (e.g., a list made by lm(); see linear model above). Type model.matrix(r.lm) to find out what R thinks your data look like.
Type summary(aa) to get more information.

Operation Command Comments
demo(graphics)   Draws several graphs and prints the appropriate commands
Plot a graph plot­(x,y)
plot­(y ~ x)
Points only
Set fixed point color
Range of point colors
Add stuff to existing graph lines(x,y) Graph must be plotted first
Plot 3x3 array of graphs par(mfrow­=c(3,1)) Creates empty window. Use 'plot' commands to add the actual graphs.