Don’t update!!!

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Don’t update unless you must!


I do this far too much. I see there is a new update for a software or package and I can’t wait to download and install it. I’m not sure why this is. I’ve had so many bad experiences in the past from updates that I should have learned, but once again this week I took the dive into R3.5. This version has been around for a while, but it is not an automatic upgrade on my system mostly because R is starting to force byte-compiling of all packages. I was warned about this by lab mates and held off from updating. Not long enough apparently. The upgrade broke most of my packages, which is what I’d expected, but then the dependencies were also broken, so I ended up having to compile my entire R package library again. Not unexpected so far. Unfortunately, lme4 failed to compile. This is a fairly critical package for my work. The problem was found in a package called nloptr. I spent too many hours banging my head against the wall trying to get it to compile to no avail. I even created a GitHub issue and posted on my OS’s message boards about it. No dice.

The sad solution was to restore my OS. Fortunately this was easier than many of the hacks I’d been trying and after everything was backed up and restored the packages loaded. In the end a happy story, but I mostly put this post here as a reminder to myself to stay away from the update button until I need to (excluding security updates of course) or I’ve confirmed it is not going to brick my computer.