How to Install R on Ubuntu 20.04
3 min read
R is an open-source programming language and free environment that specializes in statistical computing and graphical representation. It is mainly used by statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and performing data analysis.
This article covers the steps required to install R on Ubuntu 20.04.
Ensure that you have met the following prerequisites before continuing with this tutorial:
- Your system has at least 1G of RAM. Otherwise, create a swap file.
- You are logged in as a user with sudo privileges.
Installing R on Ubuntu
The R packages included in the default Ubuntu repositories are often outdated. We’ll install R from the CRAN repository.
To install R on Ubuntu 20.04, follow these steps:
Install the dependencies necessary to add a new repository over HTTPS:
sudo apt install dirmngr gnupg apt-transport-https ca-certificates software-properties-common
Add the CRAN repository to your system sources’ list:
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys E298A3A825C0D65DFD57CBB651716619E084DAB9
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb https://cloud.r-project.org/bin/linux/ubuntu focal-cran40/'
Install R by typing:
sudo apt install r-base
The installation may take a few minutes to complete. Once completed, verify it by printing the R version:
R version 4.0.1 (2020-06-06) -- "See Things Now" Copyright (C) 2020 The R Foundation for Statistical Computing Platform: x86_64-pc-linux-gnu (64-bit) ...
That’s it, R has been installed on your Ubuntu machine, and you can start using it.
Compiling R Packages
One of the main reasons why R is so popular is the vast array of packages available through the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).
To be able to compile R packages, you need to install the
sudo apt install build-essential
For demonstration purposes, we’ll install a package named
stringr, which provides fast, correct implementations of common string manipulations.
When started as root the packages will be installed globally and available for all system users. If you start R without
sudo, a personal library will be set up for your user.
Open the R console:
stringr package by typing:
The installation will take some time and once complete, load the library with:
Create a simple character vector named
tutorial <- c("How", "to", "Install", "R", "on", "Ubuntu", "20.04")
Run the following function which prints the length of a string:
 3 2 7 1 2 6 5
You can find more R packages at Available CRAN Packages By Name and install them with
We’ve shown you how to install R on Ubuntu 20.04 and compile R packages.
If you hit a problem or have feedback, leave a comment below.