Day 10: rig

Install, remove, and configure R versions on your machine with rig: the R installation manager.


December 10, 2022

Unlike the other software we’ve covered here, rig (Csárdi 2022) is not an R package1. Its purpose is much more meta: it allows you to install, remove, and configure R versions on your machine. It works on Mac, Windows, and Linux—see the Installation section of its README to get it up and running on your OS—with no system requirements, regardless of platform.

  • 1 I’ve decided it’s still in scope, since it lives inside the r-lib org on GitHub.

  • rig has several great features. Among other things, it allows you to:

    Its most basic usage is to run rig add release from your terminal to add a new R installation. However, it has several other commands. Below, you can see what happens when I run rig list (which lists installed R versions), and rig default (which prints or sets the default R version) on my machine.2

  • 2 If you can’t see anything, it’s probably because you have JavaScript disabled. The asciinema recording is here.

  • Perhaps my favorite feature of rig, though, is that it helps you create and configure user-level package libraries. Why is this so great? I’ll lift the answer straight from the rig FAQs:

    Installing non-base packages into a user package library has several benefits:

    • The system library is not writeable for regular users on some systems (Windows and Linux, typically), so we might as well create a properly versioned user library at the default place.

    • Some tools need a clean R environment, with base packages only, and do not work well if user packages are installed into the system library. E.g. R CMD check is such a tool, and is another.

    • You can delete an R installation (e.g. with rig rm) and then and then install it again, without losing your R packages.

    The system subcommand for this is the same across platforms: rig system setup-user-lib.

    Learn more

    I’ve only touched on a couple of features here, so be sure to check out the rig README for more details.


    Csárdi, Gábor. 2022. rig (version 0.5.2). RStudio, PBC.