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install_github fails when using devtools 1.12.0 on R 3.1 #1244

leonidb opened this Issue Jun 28, 2016 · 5 comments


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leonidb commented Jun 28, 2016

According to 1.12.0 description, R >= 3.0.2 is supported, however, when using devtools with R 3.1


We get the following error:

    Downloading GitHub repo ...
    from URL ...
    Installing ...
    Error in if (capabilities("libcurl")) { : argument is of length zero
    Calls: <Anonymous> ... download_method_secure -> download_method -> auto_download_method

The check if (capabilities("libcurl")) was added in eed0746, which is part of 1.12.0 release.

When I execute capabilities(), libcurl indeed doesn't appear on the list, although
libcurl library is installed on the machine.

With devtools 1.11.1 the same command works.


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crarlus commented Jun 29, 2016

I can confirm this issue for R 3.1.

Error in if (capabilities("libcurl")) { : argument is of length zero

Apparently this arises in older versions of R.

In R 3.3



is libcurl available in this build? Used by function curlGetHeaders and optionally by download.file and url. As from R 3.3.0 always true for Unix-alikes, and true for CRAN Windows builds.

The entry for libcurl is missing in older versions of R.

Furthermore, in it was announced

    capabilities("libcurl") reports if this is available.

Hence, in file download-method.R one needs to check if the entry for "libcurl" exists at all, e.g.

any(names(capabilities()) == "libcurl")

kiwiroy added a commit to kiwiroy/devtools that referenced this issue Jul 4, 2016

hadley added a commit that referenced this issue Jul 5, 2016

solution for #1244 (#1250)
* solution for #1244

* update

* compacting

jimhester added a commit to jimhester/types that referenced this issue Oct 14, 2016

@hadley hadley added the bug label Nov 3, 2016


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damesek commented Nov 7, 2016

These lines solved this problem at my case:

sudo apt-get install libcurl4-openssl-dev libxml2-dev libxslt-dev libssl-dev -y
sudo apt-get install r-base r-base-dev -y

(ubuntu 14.04)


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vext01 commented Feb 22, 2017

The workaround I used is:
> options(download.file.method = "wget")

jdblischak added a commit to jdblischak/workflowr that referenced this issue Feb 27, 2017

Perform matrix build on multiple versions of R.
oldrel - 3.2.5
release - 3.3.0
devel - development version

Not easy to test older versions because of devtools difficulties.

@hadley hadley added the install label Aug 2, 2017


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hadley commented Aug 2, 2017

We'll be adding automated tests to ensure the devtools works with R 3.1.0 very shortly. We'll see if it's possible to push back to R 3.0.3.

@hadley hadley closed this Aug 2, 2017


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This old issue has been automatically locked. If you believe you have found a related problem, please file a new issue (with reprex) and link to this issue.

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