Re: [S] Reading help files from private libraries

Prof Brian Ripley (
Wed, 6 May 1998 12:43:03 +0100 (BST)

> From: "Krishnan, Ramesh" <>

[Bill and I have sent more extensive private replies, but we are
interested to know if this is a more widespread problem.]
> I am having a problem accessing help files from the V&R libraries I have
> recently installed on
> an SGI machine running Irix 6.2.
> This is what I get when I try
> > ?ginv
> groff: can't find `DESC' file
> groff:fatal error: invalid device `ascii'
This indicates that groff is not installed correctly; you possibly
need to set GROFF_FONT_PATH.

> Trying help from any of the system-wide libraries seems to work just fine.

This indicates that your system is supplied with pre-processed help files
in .../.Data/.Cat.Help. Most Unix S-PLUS systems are not (I only know
of this for SGI).

Is this an isolated problem (since it is the first report in four
years)? Or are there many Unix systems out there without a working
nroff to process S-PLUS help pages?

I have added pre-processed help pages to our distribution which you can
get from our web pages (, mirrors
tomorrow, please read the instructions). If there is a demand, we can
integrate these into the base distribution.

Brian D. Ripley,        
Professor of Applied Statistics,
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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