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Re: [igraph] Version 0.7?

From: Diego Diez
Subject: Re: [igraph] Version 0.7?
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2014 11:36:18 +0900

Hi Gabor,

I am the maintainer of rTRM, a Bioconductor package that depends on
igraph. I would like to express my opinion on the issue of removing
igraph from CRAN.

If I understand correctly from your email, the problem is that many
packages depend on igraph, and so pushing changes to CRAN that disrupt
the API may make a lot of packages to fail to build, potentially
creating a lot of disruption.

My opinion is that yes, usually changing the API or making other big
changes will cause problems. A potential solution is to add a
dependency on a particular igraph version (e.g. igraph <= 0.6). But
this will not solve the problem if the user has other packages that
were updated to use igraph 0.7,  as it is not straightforward to
have/maintain both versions of the package in a single installation

This problem will still exists if you remove igraph from CRAN, as
different maintainers will adopt igraph 0.7 or future versions at
different paces. It will only make slightly more painful to install
packages that depend on future versions of igraph.

A better solution is actually what you did when igraph 0.6 came out
and changed the index system in R. You released igraph0, which was
actually 0.5, to support legacy code. This required a small change in
the dependencies that most people were probably willing to do at any
time. Indeed, my Bioconductor package (rTRM) was originally created
using igraph 0.5 and when igraph 0.6 was released I was swamped with
many deadlines and could not take the time to go through all the code
to check the new system- so I moved to igraph0 until the time was
right for me to make the changes. Having igraph0 really helped me at
that moment. Of course, this solution is not completely bulletproof,
as some other packages I was using depended on igraph 0.6 and the
different API were conflicting when both packages were loaded at the
same time. Maybe having warnings at package loading (after checking if
igraph/igraph0 is already loaded) may help detect these problems.

The main problem with CRAN is that, unlike Bioconductor, there is no
such a concept of "CRAN releases". In CRAN the latest version of a
package is available irrespective of whether that breaks all the
dependent packages. In Bioc, each release ensures that a particular
version of a package works with a particular version of a dependency.
Of course, this only applies to packages in the Bioconductor

As a side comment, it is nice that you take the time to check that the
dependencies work or not after you update igraph. But as you
mentioned, many packages may fail for reasons other that igraph. After
all it is not your responsibility to maintain all those packages.

In summary, I do not think moving igraph from CRAN will solve the
problem. If the new code disrupts a considerable amount of packages
then using the igraph0 approach may be a much useful way to make the
transition smoothly for package maintainers.

Just my 2 cents.


On Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 11:21 PM, Gábor Csárdi <address@hidden> wrote:
> Hi!
> Soon. It is basically ready, but to submit to CRAN, I need to test all
> dependent packages with it, which is a lot of work. It is 149 packages
> between CRAN and BioConductor. Of course many of these are failing the tests
> for reasons beyond igraph, so it takes time....
> I am actually looking into the possibilities of "removing" igraph from CRAN,
> but I don't really see a good way of allowing CRAN packages to depend on it,
> if it is not on CRAN.
> For current dependent packages, there will be no problem, because I would
> keep the current version there, I just wouldn't update it any more. But this
> is still the more distant future, I am just bringing it up here to see if
> anyone here has an opinion about this.
> Best,
> Gabor
> On Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 9:07 PM, Andrei Boutyline
> <address@hidden> wrote:
>> Hello igraph gurus,
>> I am curious if there are any plans for pushing igraph 0.7 to CRAN as the
>> official release of igraph?  I am asking because I am working on an R
>> package that depends on 0.7, and so I am wondering when end users will be
>> able to install igraph 0.7 easily from CRAN.
>> (And by the way, thank you for all the great work on igraph!)
>> Best,
>> Andrei
>> --
>> Andrei Boutyline
>> University of California, Berkeley
>> PhD Candidate, Sociology
>> www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~andrei
>> _______________________________________________
>> igraph-help mailing list
>> address@hidden
>> https://lists.nongnu.org/mailman/listinfo/igraph-help
> _______________________________________________
> igraph-help mailing list
> address@hidden
> https://lists.nongnu.org/mailman/listinfo/igraph-help

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