RLink has not seen significant changes since it first appeared back in V9 (2012). OTOH, it has a number of issues (existing from the start or accumulated over the years), which make it more difficult to work with. Here is a list of some of them:

  • Bundled version of R shipped with RLink is very old. Also, it has stopped working altogether in 12.1 on some platforms (Windows, Linux).
  • External installations of R are not officially supported on platforms other than Windows. Workarounds exist, but require more work from the user.
  • There is no simple way to install R packages from within RLink.
  • There is no supported way to use ExternalEvaluate with externally installed versions of R.
  • R plotting functionality does not work out of the box with RLink.

Are there any plans to address these and other RLink-related issues?


1 Answer 1


This answer might be viewed as somewhat an abuse of the main site, and might be better suited for Meta, but I hope the folks will forgive me for that, since the main site clearly enjoys a lot more attention than the Meta. Besides, I will edit in a more detailed textual answer at some later point.

The webinar on April 29th, 2020

There are currently plans to address at least some of these issues. I will add a more detailed textual answer here later, but all those who are interested in this topic, are most welcome to register for

Wolfram University webinar

where I will talk about some of the current plans regarding future development / improvements of RLink.


Please note a few things:

  • The improvements to be discussed are plans rather than already existing RLink features.
  • I will not be the only speaker there, other topics / talks will discuss Wikidata search capabilities and new features in Database integration functionality.
  • The opinions of users who come to the seminar are important in determining the (relative) importance of specific issues and planned improvements.
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the heads up! I don't use R, but should probably learn it at some point. Is there already, or could there be, a way to use the Mathematica front end notebook interface with an R back end? I know there's ExternalEvaluate which you can bring up with > -- I was thinking more of R being the default evaluator for every cell. $\endgroup$
    – Chris K
    Apr 28, 2020 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ Setting R as a default evaluator for the cell is possible using the "CellEvaluationFunction" option set on the notebook level. $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2020 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ If you have a chance to spell out the details for me, please do. I've tried a few variants on SetOptions[EvaluationNotebook[], CellEvaluationFunction -> REvaluate] but no luck. $\endgroup$
    – Chris K
    Apr 28, 2020 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisK Can't test at the moment, but try SetOptions[EvaluationNotebook[], CellEvaluationFunction -> (REvaluate[#]&)]. $\endgroup$ Apr 28, 2020 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ Great presentation, Leonid! $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2020 at 18:38

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