Virtual environment for R development by conda

Sometimes we need mutliple versions of R for different development (R-devel) and data analysis (R-release) purposes. Here is one of the solutions by python package manager conda. We can maintain mutliple versions of R and specific packages in different conda environments.

For released versions

conda config --add channels conda-forge
conda create -n r-3.6
conda activate r-3.6
conda search r-base
conda install r-base=3.6.2
Rscript -e "R.version.string"
## [1] "R version 3.6.2 (2019-12-12)"
conda deactivate

For development version (R-4.0.0)

  • Prepare recipe for R-4.0.0
    git clone
    cd conda-r-devel
    conda create -n r-devel
    conda activate r-devel
  • Build and install from source
    conda install conda-build
    conda build .
    conda install --use-local path/to/r-devel-gz

Or just install the compiled version.

conda install --use-local r-devel-4.0.0-0.tar.bz2
conda install readline
  • Test
    Rscript -e "R.version.string"
    ## [1] "R Under development (unstable) (2020-01-07 r77631)"

Via conda environments, we can switch different version of R by conda activate renv.