Re: [S] Don't use `version' as an object name on S-PLUS 4.5

Chuck Taylor (
Thu, 2 Jul 1998 15:45:55 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 2 Jul 1998, Bill Venables reported three problems he noted while
giving a short course using S-PLUS 4.5 Release 1 for Windows:

1. Assigning a value to an object called "version", e.g., version <- 0,
can prevent S-PLUS for Windows from starting up on subsequent attempts.

We first learned about this problem yesterday and are hard at work to get a
fix done in time for 4.5 Release 2. In the meantime, here is a simple way
to recover from this situation without losing your data:

a. Start up S-PLUS in another directory using S_PROJ (see Chap. 15
of the Programmer's Guide for details).
b. Attach the directory containing the extra copy of "version" in
position 2.
c. Delete the offending copy of "version" using remove("version",

Once this is done, you can exit and restart in your usual startup

There has been a "version" object in frame 0 in the Windows versions of
S-PLUS (but not in the Unix versions) beginning with S-PLUS 3.2 (1994). In
3.2 and 3.3 the only consequence of this from the user perspective was that
the version object in frame 0 masked any version object in any other
database. The startup bug was introduced in 4.0 Release 1 and is present in
4.0 Release 2, 4.0 Release 3, and 4.5 Release 1. We expect to have a fix in
4.5 Release 2.

2. Setting options() in .First() doesn't always work properly.

In S-PLUS 4.x for Windows, it is possible to set certain options both with
the options() function and with the Options menu. This raises the issue of
precedence. In the startup sequence, the .First function is executed before
the Options menu settings are initialized. Accordingly, the latter take
precedence over any settings made in a .First function.

The introduction of the .guiFirst() function in S-PLUS 4.5 Release 1 for
Windows provides a way around this problem. .guiFirst works just like
.First except that it is executed near the end of the startup sequence.
Therefore any settings in .guiFirst, such as options() settings, will take
precedence over the Options menu settings.

3. There are problems with setting the background color for Brush & Spin.

This is a known bug in the product. If a setting does not take effect until
S-PLUS is restarted, it is a bug, not an attempt to emulate any other
software company. :-)

| Chuck Taylor |
| Senior Quality Assurance Engineer |
| MathSoft Seattle, WA, USA |

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