Data Science, amongst other things.

Installing R on Ubuntu 14.04

A quick break from our analysis of UK Government house sale data – I’ve decided that I’d like to do the analysis in R (reasons for this will be explained in a later post). A new version of Ubuntu is out (Trusty Tahr) and, after updating, I realised I didn’t have R on my computer. So, a quick and simple guide to installing R:

Step 1:

Assuming you’ve got the internet and everything set up as it should be run:
sudo apt-get install r-base-core

Go ahead and accept the new 147MB (or thereabouts) and you should now be able to type R at the terminal and see R (verion 3.0.2 at the time of writing) fire up. If this hasn’t worked, drop me a comment and I’ll see what we can do about it.

Step 2:

Now – assuming you’re going to want a bit more than the standard packages (I’d strongly advise ggplo2 – it’s well good), you’ll want r-base-dev. I’d give the following command a go:

sudo apt-get install r-base-dev

Fortunately, it looks to me like this is bundled with r-base-core now so that command didn’t do anything so might not be necessary. But no harm done, eh?

Now, open up R with sudo privileges (if you don’t do this and have the standard permissions and install locations, R won’t have permissions to write to /usr/lib – you can use your personal library if you like, but I won’t):

sudo R

and (for here in on, we’re in the R terminal) run:


There are a bunch of libraries you may be interested in, but for me (and indeed, for the next bit of data analysis I’m going to do) ggplot2 will suffice.

install.packages('ggplot2', dependencies=TRUE)

If that worked you should now be able to type library(ggplot2) without errors.

Step 3:

While I’m sure you’re a big fan of just bashing out your R code in the terminal, sometimes it’s nice to have an IDE and RStudio is at the front of the pack when it comes to R IDEs. Getting this on Ubuntu is a doddle.

Head on over to the R Studio download site and download the version with Ubuntu in the name (RStudio 0.98.501 – Debian 6+/Ubuntu 10.04+ (64-bit) for my system at the time of writing). You can then open this file using Ubuntu Software Centre (it should open in this by default) – click install and you’re on your way!

Now, everything being OK you should be able to open up R Studio and develop away to your heart’s content šŸ™‚ If there are any problems with this, I’d encourage you to leave comments and we’ll see if we can get to the bottom of this. As a point of interest, if you need any more packages installing, you’ll need to pop into terminal, open up R in sudo mode and install them from there. There are fixes for this (check out the official R documentation for this) but I don’t think it’s that much of a problem that it’s worth bothering with.


  1. Sasank Ponnekanti

    October 17, 2014 at 8:34 am

    I stopped the installation in the middle of the process to add mirror to it. when i started reinstalling it it couldn’t find the server to install. What to do?

  2. i have installed R-studio from ubuntu software center but i m unable to open the ide, on clicking the icon on bash. plz help

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