Extra Binary R packages for the Homebrew R (Cask)

Yihui Xie



NOTE: This project is no longer maintained. If anyone wants to resurrect it, please feel free to let me know.

The repository https://macos.rbind.io (Github repo) provides some binary R packages for the Homebrew (cask) version of base R that are currently missing on CRAN, in a similar spirit as the “CRAN extras” repository for Windows: https://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/pub/RWin/. If you are using the Homebrew version of R on the latest version of macOS, you may set the repos option in R first:

# you may do this in your ~/.Rprofile so you don't have to do it every time
options(repos = c(
  CRANextra = 'https://macos.rbind.io',
  CRAN = 'https://cran.rstudio.com'

Note that the CRAN repository does not have to be https://cran.rstudio.com. It can be any other CRAN mirror.

Then you will be able to install some binary packages with install.packages(), e.g.,

install.packages(c('cairoDevice', 'RGtk2'))

To see which packages are available, use the function available.packages() in R:

  repos = 'https://macos.rbind.io', type = 'binary'

Why creating this repository?


CRAN maintainers have provided binaries for most R packages (big thanks!), but a few have still been missing so far. This repository serves as a complement to the official CRAN respository, and provides a subset of the binary R packages that are unavailable on CRAN.

To use this repository, you are expected to install the cask r from Homebrew (instead of the formula brew install r):

brew install --cask r

The R installer you manually downloaded and installed from CRAN should also work, but it is not tested here.

Scope of the repository

The repository https://macos.rbind.io does not provide binary packages of these packages:

  1. Packages of which the binaries already exist on CRAN (the package names are obtained as the differences between available.packages(type = 'source') and available.packages(type = 'binary')).

  2. Packages that depend on BioConductor packages.

  3. Packages of which the system dependencies are not available in Homebrew (e.g., rggobi) or too difficult to install (e.g., kmcudaR).

The repository is automatically updated daily from Github Action, which means if a new version of a source R package appears on CRAN, its binary package should be available in this repository in less than 24 hours (if it satisfies the above conditions).

Instructions on system dependencies

Some packages only require system dependencies at the build time, e.g., the R package xml2 requires the brew package libxml2 when building it from source, but libxml2 is no longer needed once the binary package is built (after install.packages('xml2'), you can remove libxml2). However, some packages still need the system dependencies at the run time, such as RGtk2 (you cannot brew uninstall gtk+). To install the system dependencies after installing a binary R package from macos.rbind.io, you may use xfun:::brew_dep() to query the dependencies and install them, e.g.,

system2('brew', c('install', xfun:::brew_dep('RGtk2')))


My knowledge of building binary R packages is fairly limited, so please consider this repository as experimental before real experts join me. I'd welcome anyone to help with this project. In the same spirit of Homebrew, I really wish this will become a project maintained by the community instead of me alone.


The source code in the Github repo is licensed under MIT. For the R packages, please consult their DESCRIPTION files for their specific licenses. The copyright of these packages belongs to their original authors. You may obtain the source code of these R packages from CRAN if you wish to.