My last experience with Linux was back in 2002/2003. At that time pretty much everything on Linux was done in the console. I remmember struggling for days with a simple Wifi connection because drivers were not readily available. Things have changed dramatically since then. Last week I installed Linux (Ubuntu 14.04) on an old Windows laptop. It took me about 20 mins to erase completely Windows, install Linux and start playing with R/Rstudio: simply amazing…. In this post I explain step by step what I did: bear in mind that I’m a Linux absolute beginner.
1 – Install Linux
- Go to Ubuntu website and download the version that matches your system
- Create a bootable USB key with the file downloaded above. I used a small utility called Rufus for this. Just follow the instructions on the website it’s very simple.
2 – Install R
Ubuntu 14.04 ships with R but it’s not the latest version. The latest version can be obtained from CRAN. An entry like : http://<my.favorite.cran.mirror>/bin/linux/ubuntu trusty/ has to be added to the /etc/apt/sources.list file, replacing <my.favorite.cran.mirror> by the actual URL of your favorite CRAN mirror (see http://cran.r-project.org/mirrors.html for the list of CRAN mirrors). Actually this is a bit tricky because you need admin rights to modify the sources.list file. I used a small utility called gksudo to open and modify the sources.list file. In the command line type the following:
gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list
This will open the sources.list file in gedit. You just need to add the repository above then save and close
You can then install the complete R system, by typing the following in the console:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install r-base
There are other ways of doing this but adding an entry to the sources.list file is apparently the prefered option. Ubuntu uses apt for package management. Apt stores a list of repositories (software channels) in the sources.list file. By editing this file from the command line, software repositories can be added or removed.
3 – Install RStudio
- Go to RStudio website, choose and download the right package for your system
- Open this file in Ubuntu Software Center
- Click install and you’re done
if you want to have RStudio icon on the launcher (all the icons on the left hand side of the screen)
- Go to Search and type RStudio, the RStudio icon should appear
- Drag and Drop RStudio icon to the launcher
All this might not be perfect but it worked for me without a glitch. I wanted to share my experience because I’m trully amazed by the improvements brought to Linux over the last few years.
As usual any comments welcome.